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Welcome cluckers!

We have been talking for years about how much we'd love to have chickens but didn't think we really had room in our yard, as much because of the layout of our gardens etc as the actual yard size. What we are really lacking is a suitable position for a permanent coop. After seeing a portable backyard coop at a market I began researching these and after a bunch of research and a tonne of nagging (I enlisted the kids to help up the pester power) the hubby finally agreed.

There seem to be quite a few farms around that sell hens at point of lay, but we decided to get day old chicks so that we could raise them from babies. We thought this would be good for both us and the chickens to allow us all to bond and for the chicks to become used to their new human family. I found Craig's Farm in Cranbourne South approx. half an hour away so on Saturday morning we all piled in the car with our Aussie Farmers Direct box to choose our chicks. They are day old layer cross breed(Isa Brown/Leghorn/Australorp) and are sexed at a day old so fingers crossed they are actually all girls.

From left: Goldie, Mrs Egg, Winona & Vanessa

 It was a beautiful sunny day when we got them so the whole family got to enjoy some time in the sun getting to know the new babies while we got their new home ready.

For the first 8 or so weeks they'll be living inside in the laundry. On the way home from the farm we stop at a pet store and got some wood shavings for bedding and some chick starter feed. We bought the water dispenser with the chooks but for food just cut the top off a little Jalna yoghurt tub. We quickly realised we'd have to fit the food container to the side of the box to stop it getting tipped over every 30 seconds.

We put a piece of dowel through the box so they could practice perching when they were ready. At a day old all they do is eat, sleep, pooh, repeat!

Add a lamp for warmth and they are all settled in for the night.


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Clucking flatpack

I only ordered the coop on Friday night and it arrived Tuesday afternoon. I got home from work to find hubby and the kids had started assembling it and the job was quickly delegated to me. Flat pack is horrendous at the best of times, the instructions were clear enough but all the little clips on the run were doing my head in, my thumbs were bruised by the time we were done. Luckily hubby got back home and helped me or I think I would have still been slaving away at midnight.
We chose the Eglu Cube by Omlet, it is not cheap but thought the timber ones would deteriorate quickly and the plastic construction would be easy to clean. It also has the separate nesting box section and looked really easy to move, which we plan to do a lot to prevent the grass from getting destroyed (ok we have high hopes ask us again in 6-12 months).

Finally finished at around 7pm, slightly harder to move that I was expecting due to how plush our grass is, but won't be moving it as far in practice so shou…

Finding their wings

The feathered kids spent most of the day inside today while hubby and the kids ran some errands, luckily there was still some late afternoon sun so I could take them out for some play time. Almost a week old now and growing up so fast, Mrs Egg and Goldie have both sprouted tail feathers and all of them have developed new wing feathers and love to try them out.

They are also getting more used to their human family, they love to snuggle already and a nice belly rub. They relax very quickly in your hands and like to have warm little snoozes on your lap while you watch tv. They are also starting to use the perch in their box a bit. We have upgraded them to a slightly larger box and have fixed the food container to the side.

Growing so clucking fast

Baby chickens are like weeds, they grow so clucking fast it's not funny. I think you could almost sit and watch them grow. Each day I notice something new or different about them. Over the course of the past week Vanessa has even changed colour!

Initially when we were out choosing the chickens I was worried that the kids in particular had picked two that were quite similar in colour and thought that as they grew it might become difficult to tell them apart. Vanessa (closest to the camera) was only a tiny bit more yellow than Mrs Egg (with her rear to the camera) and they both had white looking feathers on their wings, with Mrs Egg just a tiny bit more pristine white.

Left to right: Mrs Egg, Winona, Goldie and Vanessa

Fast forward two days later and Vanessa has started sprouting ginger feathers on her chest and above her wings. Currently her wings are beige.

Another day or two and Vanessa is looking very different indeed. Now she is colouring up more like Goldie, let's just sa…