Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Does size really matter?

My newest members of the flock - Lavander Araucanas...

It occurs to me that on our 5 acres of bushland we probably take "space" for granted. When we start thinking about economising space, we rarely think less than 10 square metres at a time. Somehow in the 2 years living here, everything has escalated in size! I use to dread it for all the work it involved, but now I think I'm probably very fortunate. Not probably, but certainly very fortunate.

One of my principle loves here though, and something I'm fortunate to be able to do on the scale that I do, is keep chickens. I'm really only limited by how long it can take to build another coop and the time it takes to be able to afford it. But time and money is something even those on suburban blocks have to contend with. One thing which cannot be changed however, is space available.

So I was wondering what ingenious ideas others have used to economise on space, in regards to keeping chickens?

My first love affair with chooks started with these black pekins; the new blue cockerel is now 18 weeks old...

One idea I have heard of recently, when collecting my new chickens, came from a lady who lived in a Suburban backyard, yet had countless amounts of chickens - including roosters. How was this possbile?

Well I met with her at her mother's property which was a few acres in size. Her mum was a lovely lady who described her daughter's passion with poultry as something she's helping her with. The daughter in question was a grown woman (perhaps around the same age as me) only she had 3 kids. They all came out to gran's property where they all shared the love of chooks.

I must say, it was really great to see these kids handling the chooks like they were pro's and talking to gran about what the Araucanas had been up to on their suburban block. They would often take a few chooks back wtih them, and when the neighbours (or they) had enough it was time to swap them for some more.

A close-up of my strapping young blue pekin cockerel. I really love this little guy. He's so considerate of his pekin hens that they actually prefer his advances over any other rooster.

I thought this was actually a great way for a poultry enthusiast to keep more chooks than a suburban block could allow. While there was a degree of imposing on Gran's property, the exchange was getting to see the grandkids thrilled with another visit and immediate dialogue about something they had in common. All this for only an hour's drive, and after school so the kids could take part. I thought it was brilliant!

This is a blue cockerel and black pullet of the bantam orpingtons, easily becoming one of my favourite breed of chook...

What other ideas are out there for people limited by space? Or indeed, is there value in keeping only a limited amount of chooks at a time? Personally, I'm planning to rotate my breeds and any that prove to be too high maintenance, will be sold on. Even though I have more space, I'm still only one person who has to manage what time and resources I have. So in many regards small flocks do make a lot of sense.

Please share your thoughts and ideas, so we can all learn from your experience.


  1. I would love to have more chooks - there are so many breeds I'd like to try - but we are limited because of the size of our block. I don't have any suggestions on how to economise - I think chooks need a fair bit of space to be happy (some breeds more so than others). I often find myself fantasising over bigger blocks of land just so I can have more of my feathered darlings. to play with. I love your pekins (and the little roo is gorgeous) and the new araucanas are so lovely. Just reading this post has me scheming on how I can fit more in! My Fluffy is a Cochin so looks v. similar to the pekins, only huge in comparison! She's gone broody again...sigh!

  2. Hello Jacqui. You've done extremely well to have a Cochin in your backyard flock. They are rarer than the pekins, so you have quite a rare beauty indeed. :)


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