28 April 2014

We bought our first chickens on Saturday, three 12-week-old Isa Brown pullets. They chirped dejectedly all the way back to the farm, sitting in their cardboard box in the back of the car, then squawked in a half-hearted, helpless way when we picked them one at a time out of the box and placed them carefully in their newly-built house. They didn’t sit in their cosy perch-area mezzanine for long, but ran down the ramp and started nibbling at the grass, looking happier already.

Their house is a bit of an anomaly in our garden full of largely makeshift tree guards and plant protectors. We have a fine collection now of discarded wire baskets that we use to cover any plants that are more vulnerable to wallaby attack, like broccoli and kale. The chickens have a kit home, bought from an inner-Sydney person who longed to have chooks, but, after having the unconstructed coop sit in his bedroom for a year, decided to sell it. We put it together last week, fitting slot A to tab B, making a two-storey cage that strikes me as being high on dinkiness and low on sturdiness, but a good start. Once the chickens are settled we’ll put up a fence of 50 metres of electric mesh, keeping them in and the predators out, and they’ll have a movable run around their home.

I was telling someone today at work about the chickens. ‘Why is it that people buy three chickens?’ she asked. ‘I’ve heard of other people buying three. Is that the best number of chickens to have?’ ‘I don’t know,’ I replied. ‘We bought three because that’s all that the shop had for sale.’