We love our eggs

We love our eggs. People all over the world, including Australia love their eggs. In Australia, people are eating more eggs. On average in Australia adults eat 5.77 eggs per week.

Since we settled in Toowoomba 20 months ago we have not found an egg to match our Princess Eggs. This is what I called the eggs laid by our chickens at our previous home in Maleny. Our chickens got only the best, the royal treatment. It was only right that I gave them the title of Princess Chickens. When we moved we had to say goodbye to these Princess Chickens that consistently did their royal duty, laying eggs for us each day. They were rehoused. It was far too complicated for them to move with us. Now in Toowoomba we buy free range eggs but still they do not hold their structure well. If you take notice when you next crack an egg for breakfast (from the supermarket) more than likely you will find that the white of the egg spreads all over the pan. Very little substance to the egg. We have driven all around Toowoomba looking for good quality eggs. When we think we have found what looks like good quality eggs, we buy another dozen. After 20 months of this behaviour it was time to grow our own!

Early on, I did not think it was possible for us to have chickens in our urban garden. However, after we put up a privacy screen and enclosed our vegetable garden we found we had the perfect space for a chicken coop. The project of growing our own eggs, that is, caring for chickens, began several months ago with a flat pack chicken coop. Next came painting (two coats) and modifications to make the chicken coop a suitable home for Princess Chickens. The project went on for 2 months, though it seemed like four months! As we love our eggs this provided good motivation to keep going to finish the project that was interrupted with rain and time away! The week finally came when we were ready for chicken shopping. However, to find Princess Chickens, ones that were willing to live at our place, we had to go to another rural municipality.

We went on the long journey and our young Princess Chickens, happily sitting in boxes in the back seat of our car, arrived one week ago today. On the second day they arrived, we unexpectedly got our first egg. Just as well the nesting box was ready and waiting. The first egg was not laid in the nesting box but by the second day Princess Lucy had found the proper place, the nesting box.

Enjoy the photos that tell the story of our “we love our eggs” journey that turned into us welcoming four lovely Princess Chickens (pure breeds).

The project begins. MY O&O measuring up after we had put together a few panels of the coop.

 

The chicken coop is almost finished. It included a wire floor (a modification). The bamboo blinds (another modification) on each side are to keep out the rain and heat. Only needs straw and feeders.

This is Princess Lucy, a Plymouth Rock (origin USA)

Princess Sophia, a Light Sussex (origin England)

Princess Carmella, a Buff Sussex (origin England)

Princess Lulu – she is the youngest and also a Plymouth Rock like Lucy.

The Princesses settling in and keeping busy

This is the privacy curtain on the nesting box I made from a burlap bag.I was surprised the day after the Princesses arrived we had our first egg! On the second day Princess Lucy found her way into the nesting box.

At last, two days after the Princess Chickens arrived we enjoyed our first two eggs for breakfast. And yes, we love our eggs!

 

My Life with Chickens

The Palace is ready for the Princesses

The Palace is ready for the Princesses

Almost finished!

Almost finished!

The Palace arrives in boxes

The Palace arrives in boxes

The site of the Palace

The site of the Palace


My life with chickens is now just around the corner. This has been a subject I have thought about and researched for years! I know all about the different breeds of chickens, the ones who are the most admired for their looks and the everyday chicks that lay lots of eggs. With all my knowledge I have chosen my favourites. I like the pure breeds. The Rhode Island Red is a breed that emerged in the 1890’s in the Rhode Island area of the USA (this is some old chook!). This breed is good for both laying eggs and for the table. They also lay lots of eggs, about 280 per year. Then there is the Ancona from the province of the same name in Italy. As I love all things Italian this breed is attractive to me. Then there is the Aracauna that originate from South America with their coloured eggs; the Barnevelder’s, a Dutch breed; the Light Sussex which similar to the Rhode Island Red was breed for a dual purpose of laying and for the table. I was told by a woman I met recently that the Light Sussex is the chicken that P&O serve on their cruises. It must be a very good table bird. The list of breeds goes on and on and then there are the Wyandotte. They are a very attractive bird and visually exceptional. I definitely will add these to my flock once I become more experienced. In the meantime I have decided as a ‘beginner’ to go for the hybrids; the chickens that lay well.

Why did I decide to do this? The reason is I have to recoup some of my outlay for the little princesses. The palace for my chickens (whom I will soon meet) cost more than 90 dozen eggs that is not counting the days it took BJ and I to put their ‘wee’ palace together. It took me a great deal of research before I moved forward on the purchase of the chicken house. I wanted a dwelling that I could walk into to replace food, water and clean. It came from NSW via China in a box, actually three boxes. After waiting so long for this dream of mine of having chickens to come to fruition I was over the moon when the boxes arrived. Then there was the exercise of putting it together. While laborious I did not wane in my enthusiasm. All I had to do was to continue to encourage my “one and only” who did so much of the handy work, such as using the electric drill (note to self: learn how to use an electric drill!). All together it was great fun as we worked on this project together. We discovered that the wire floor was just wire without a frame! More work to be done! We had to measure, cut the wire and then nail to the frame. To do this we had to put the frame together and then turn the entire chicken house upside down prior to completing and then attaching the roof. When we were placing the roof on we discovered that there was a major gap all around between the roof and walls. We then had to source timber and then cut to size to fill the gaps so that no predators/strangers could invade the ‘palace’. The gap extended to the chickens ‘rest room’ (their bedroom) and we decided rather than closing off the space entirely we would use some of the chicken wire so that there would be an air flow. This exercise of preparing the palace for the arrival of the princesses took about 4 days. But as we know, Rome was not built in a day. Eventually my ‘one and only’ found the last nail he had been looking for and the job was finished! I am still thinking of putting decking oil on the outside timber to ensure the dwelling lasts for years to come. This will happen before the girl princesses arrive of course.

Given that I am now responsible for princesses I had to buy all the other necessary furnishings and food for the first banquet. The responsibility was weighing heavy on my shoulders! I could not buy just any standard food for the banquet, it had to be Accredited Feed with all the vitamins the princesses need and would enjoy. Then I had to buy other food such as cracked corn for treats. Then there were the straw bales to purchase. When in town and without notice to my “one and only” I announced we have to pick up some straw bales. These were then transported in the boot of our sedan car and secured with an elastic strap. There we were with not a care in the world driving home as straw scattered all over the road! Fortunately we did not lose too much as any of it that came away from the bale was scattered in the boot! Scattered straws are taking on a whole new meaning for me! It took me about an hour to clean it up. Keeping in mind what I said earlier about the overall cost. The cost is adding up at a ridiculous rate. I rationalise the whole event that this is not just about having chickens to supply eggs; this is my new hobby in retirement and these princesses will be my new friends/pets. And so it goes on…..it won’t be long and I will soon get to bring the princesses home to their palace. I am sure with our love and care they will live happily ever after!