In March 2012 friends Vonnie & Sam gave us a hen that was suffering post traumatic shock after the hen on the roost beside her was devoured by a carpet snake. We called her Miss Daisy and she hung out with the 30 or so wild bush turkeys who roosted around our house. Miss Daisy resisted all attempts to be housed and roosted in a grvillea tree near our house. Miss Daisy was quite crazy, but I’m a big fan of spontaneity.
In April 2012, a dingo turned up in our yard and ran past the bush turkeys intent on having Miss Daisy for dinner, however Brian saw it & Miss Daisy narrowly avoided death. The dingo kept coming back night after night, so we were given a young cockerel and we named him Morgan; he wasn’t used to roosting, but soon learned that if he wanted to survive the dingo he would have to roost at night. At first he roosted by himself, but eventually Miss Daisy encouraged him to join her in the grevillea at night, and at about the same time Miss Daisy began laying eggs in our rockery & Morgan began to grow into quite a big Rooster.
Morgan is a wanker, he struts around pompously, & attacks the dogs, kookaburras, well anything that goes near his hens. He turns into a dragon & looks incredibly ferocious. Just a little bit of love goes a long way.
It’s been so wet sometimes that the yard becomes all squishy: then I consider whether I should have Ducks instead of Chooks. Goodness it was wet!
By the beginning of May 2012 we decided to convert an old outhouse under a cedar tree on a hillside into a preditor-proof coop & roost for Miss Daisy & Morgan.
In June 2012 when we had finally convinced Miss Daisy & Morgan that their new coop was safe, we bought 2 new point of lay pullets from Alstonville Poultry Farm & introduced them into the new coop: they were:
Eggylyn (glossy black/green feathers)
& Little Janie (red with white streaks)
In mid September 2012 after expanding the coop & adding nesting boxes (with external access to collect eggs) + an entry box, we expanded the flock to 5 hens + Morgan, & we got 5 eggs most days, if we checked the old coop before the goanna, who ate 2 of my ceramic eggs: I hope that he had a belly ache.
The 2 new hens were also from Alstonville Poultry Farm & they were named;
Eggcup (rust with white, but paler than Jane), &
Sandy (gold & white)
In June 2013 after we built the new “smicko” coop closer to the house through recycling the entrance & nesting boxes, plus panels, doors & windows from my old 16 foot “York” caravan, we increased the flock with 3 new point of lay pullets from Norco rural supplies, who we named:
Brynne Egglestein (Black Australorp),
Lulu (Black AustralorpXNew Hampshire),
& Ginge (Rhode Island Red)
We had concreted and put under drains into the floor of the roost & nesting area, but had to concrete the entire floor due to an invasion of mice like creatures; I’d never seen hens hunt down & kill mice before, but some of our girls are true warrior princesses. We have found that the chooks prefer a thick layer of sawdust over the concrete in their day area, and we find that a thin layer of sawdust under their roost makes it much easier to clean & keeps the odour to a minimum without using lime.
My young dog LC loves the chooks, and spends most of her day obsessing about them, & Crazy Daisy is much happier in the new coop: we now get 7 eggs per day on average, which we mostly give away to friends. Daisy has become quite forthright & often berates the other hens ~ It sounds like she has quite a foul mouth as I use similar sounding words when I build up a head of steam: you gotta love ’em.
At the end of January 2014, I bought 4 new pullets ~ 2 double-laced Barnevelders and 2 New Hampshires, which were available at Backyard Chicken at Crystal Creek within a 1 & 1/2 hour drive from home, however they were between 10 – 16 weeks old.
Meet the 4 new girls: 2 New Hampshires ~ Bitty & Kirry +
2 Double laced Barnevelders ~ Cloggy & Windy
We’ve had them now for nearly 2 weeks & they are being terrorised by the Warrior Princesses: we call them the Peep-peeps & they chatter all the time. Yesterday was their first big day out with the big girls, & we deloused & cleaned the poop from the coop.
In early February 2014 Miss Daisy became sick with an abscess under her beak, & I frantically searched for information on appropriate treatments and encountered Back Yard Chickens @ www.backyardchickens, where I found very sound advice & joined their community. After a week of treatment I had stabilised Daisy’s abscess but couldn’t cure it, so I took Daisy to the vet in Lismore where they operated on her under a general anasthetic, they also gave her a longterm antibiotic, & after a couple of days Daisy was well enough to return to the coop. The operation was not cheap, but Daisy is a pet & the reason that we got the other fowls, so we could not turn our back on her or justify euthanasia, as her condition was similar to an abscessed tooth in humans and ultimately treatable.
Daisy never recovered and died peacefully at home in the sun on St. Patrick’s Day 2014, and my life is not the same without her; she was sick for seven weeks and lived with us in the house for that time. Love definitely doesn’t conquer all.
My email address is at the top of the page if you want to contact me directly, and I will always reply if someone has taken the time, but I’m not sure how to respond to comments, other than approving them.