Life Day By Day

Merry Christmas with Chicken Talk

It is time to say thank to everyone who took time to read my articles during 2020 and wish you all a Merry Christmas, with the addition of a little chicken talk. My chicken news is that I have retreated from poultry farming. No more backyard chickens for me unless I move to a larger property.

If you want to know what happened to the chickens and the chicken coop with all its modifications fit for Princess Chickens, then read on.

Our more recent girls Molly, Polly and Dolly went to a farm near Esk. The town of Esk is a small hamlet in the Somerset Region, South East Queensland. They were active girls, and they needed more space. More than what I could offer in my backyard. I am sure they are happy free ranging on the farm and returning to roost at night through the automatic door, just like the one they were familiar with at our place.

Molly, Polly and Dolly misbehaving. On the roof of the chicken coop at our place. They will be happy free-ranging on the farm near Esk.

The chicken coop was dismantled piece by piece by my One & Only (O&O). It was a big job, but he systematically took it apart marking each piece. His effort made it much easier to put the chicken coop together. Even easier than a jigsaw puzzle. The coop had two roofs, the original one and the zincalume one. The latter was installed by my O&O so that the chickens had a cool place to retreat in the summer heat. Then there was the auto door and motor, and other modifications that kept rain out of the roosting area and nesting box. No need to explain further why my chickens were called Princesses – they received the royal treatment from me, their lady-in-waiting and my assistant, my O&O.

This was Sophia. She was a beautiful girl.
I loved these girls. Carmella and Lucy.

The chicken coop was advertised on Gumtree and sold the same day. It went to a family with two boys aged 9 years and 7 years. They live on a farm outside of Ipswich. The city of Ipswich is an urban region on the Bremer River, 40 kilometres from Brisbane, Queensland.

It took a while to load all the parts of the chicken coop. But everyone pitched in, including the boys, their Grandad, my O&O and me. Therefore, the task took half the time. The coop was then on its way to its new home, with a can of paint to cover the markings.

That evening a photo was sent to me from the boys Dad. The boys were so excited about having a chicken the coop it was put together before sunset. Thanks to my O&O for making the assembly much easier than we experienced when the parts first arrived at our place.

Melba (named after Dame Nellie Melba) was a heritage hen, a Barnevelder. She was a lovely quiet girl and had beautiful feathers. I can highly recommend this breed if you are thinking of getting backyard chickens.

For the first month or more I still thought about my chickens every day. It was either time to go outside and say hello or time to check their feeders or take out a treat from the kitchen. I could hear them talking to me. I am sure they are talking right now and saying to those around them ‘Merry Christmas.’

Princess Chickens enjoying their Christmas Feast back in 2014 on our property in Maleny. They had heaps of rooms and very spoilt girls x 5. They were rehoused when we moved to Toowoomba late 2015.

Chicken are great for the backyard. However, make sure you do your homework first. Provide for their welfare needs. Keep them watered and fed and give them a safe place to live. If you live in a small suburban block heritage breeds manage better in a confined space. Breeds such as Isa Browns are more active and need more space.

Happy poultry farming and Merry Christmas to all!

PS: Did you know chickens make around 26 distinct vocal sounds. Chickens talk about all sorts of things. All you have to do is watch, listen, and learn. Then you will discover what they are saying. For example, when they are settling for the night, they will talk to one another in a soft murmuring. But if another chicken has taken their favourite place on the roosting bar there will be heighted chatter and pushing and shoving. If there is a predator around during the day the ‘chook in charge’ will emit a sharp sound and take up the posture of vigilance. I called it their ‘playing statues’ game. Chickens are interesting and entertaining. They gave me so many happy memories and for that I am thankful.

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