Chickens, to be or not to be?

I’ve had a pretty expensive learning curve the past 6 or so months. Becoming a chicken owner was something that excited me a lot, but had no clue what I was getting myself into, (Scaly leg mites, roosters, pecking order, space and those pesky sparrows, to name a few). I convinced hubby I NEEDED them. The local farm park was closing down and rehoming all their animals so we got three young pullets. Let the games begin.

When hubby came home with the chooks one of them, Thelma, had scaly leg mites, which I quickly learned from some intense googling, to soak her feet in warm soapy water, scrub them with a toothbrush and cover them with vaseline. She’s always been terrified of me but when she’s getting her foot bath she coos like a little baby and that made me love her. After a few weeks, our beautiful white hen, Gerty, turned out to be a rooster so we had to rename him (Gary) and re-home him before the neighbours hated us. We were down to two, Thelma and Windy, getting two tiny eggs a day if we were lucky. I was letting the girls free range because it made me feel good about myself. Finding eggs was a complete pain in the ass, so I put them back in the coop and added two brown shavers, Ginger and Jolene.

The girls enjoying some porridge.

Hubby built them a big coop with a whole bunch of recycled materials he got from work! We saved hundreds, that kiwi ingenuity is second to none. Getting four eggs a day made it so worth it to have them, cue Windy going broody for two months!! I got her four eggs to sit on and a week before they were due to hatch Thelma decided she wanted to be a mum too. Back down to two eggs a day. Two of the eggs hatched but one chick died, I realised a week later that the coop was infested with red mites, which I believe may have killed the chick but who knows. So now Thelma and Windy are co-parenting little Annie, who I can only hope is a hen, so they’re still not laying and I’m having a hell of a time getting rid of those mites.

Thelma, Annie and Windy.

All in all, the chickens are great but they’ve been pretty expensive so far. Any chicken tips would be much appreciated.To be or not to be, that is still the question.

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Mother Earth keeps me grounded.

Growing up in Canada I never really thought much about veggie gardening. I always had a bit of a green thumb and a love for house plants, my room was somewhat of a jungle. When I turned 24, I met my husband while I was travelling around Australia and we moved to New Zealand.

Hello Christchurch! A warm climate and in laws who were keen gardeners with a fabulous veggie patch, a whole new world opened up for me and I became obsessed.

I remember my mother in law turning up at our house with some old recycling bins and some tomato seedlings and saying ‘I thought you could use these’. And that’s when it all began.

Being so far from my family for such a long time was difficult and I was diagnosed with depression, which I believe to be hereditary but didn’t realise that’s what I’d been dealing with my whole life. Tending to those little plants every day and watching them grow brought me so much joy. Whenever I’m in my garden now I feel a sense of calm and happiness, Mother Earth keeps me grounded.

Ten years later and we live in the most beautiful little town, where the mountains meet the sea, Kaikoura. I’ve got a lovely little veggie patch, a dog, a cat, four chickens and, most importantly, a lovely family of my own. I’m learning so much about organic gardening as I go, through my in laws, social media (🙌🏽), books, and the internet. I decided to blog about it to keep me motivated, happy, organised and maybe even inspire a few other people to grow their own.

L xo