A lot of people are surprised when they find out we have four chickens in our inner city suburb's small backyard and some people, because they know me well, aren't surprised at all...
|This photo was taken a few years ago for a newspaper article on sustainability and city gardens.|
We've kept chickens for 5 years now. Some have died and been replaced and we've given some chickens to friends who wanted to start keeping them. We currently have one Isa Brown (the reddish brown ones in the photos above), one white Leghorn and 2 black Australorp.
We love coming up with names for the chickens - currently we have Cloud (the white one), the brown one is Bucket (because chickens go "buck, buck buck"), and the black ones are Layla and Dr Eggbert.
Below is the big draw card - all this produce came from my little inner suburban back yard. We live within 5km of Sydney's CBD and have a small backyard by Australian standards but I manage to produce some lovely home grown food and I love the 4 fresh eggs every day. They are completely different to supermarket eggs and seriously make the best poached eggs.
I love hearing the chickens throughout they day - they aren't very noisy but after they've laid their daily egg, they dance around and cackle to let me know. It's really lovely - and makes me feel as though I'm living in the country.
Every now and then we get weird eggs - like this tiny little one and often we get a double yolker.
Another benefit of keeping chickens is we throw almost nothing organic into the garbage bin. The only food scraps I don't feed our chickens are chicken (obviously), potato peels, broccoli and avocado (poisonous to chickens). We also put the cut lawn from the mower into their coop. The chickens will either eat everything or dig it into the dirt and the soil in their coop is so fertile, rich and brown. I use it through the rest of my garden as potting mix.
For their coop I initially built a traditional one and had it on the lawn, but after a while I moved the chickens to a big disused corner of our garden - behind the old sheds. We found an old wooden dog's kennel on the street and use it as one of the nesting boxes. It's in pretty bad condition as you can see by the photo below but the chickens don't seem to mind! I just put netting over the whole area to keep the birds out and the chickens in and I found an old screen door on the street to close the area off from the rest of the garden. Our guinea pig, Thumper, also lives in the with chickens but he is free range and visits the neighbours and we often see him on the middle of our lawn nibbling on the grass.
Fresh eggs really are the best and I love that my kids know about caring for animals and where their food comes from. We once killed and ate one of our chickens but it wasn't great as they are egg layers rather than meat chickens and it was quite old and tough - also its hard to eat an animal you've kept as a pet so we won't be doing that again!
So that's part of my little slice on country life in the inner city suburbs.