- Posted by pete
- On September 27, 2015
- 0 Comments
- chooks, ISA brown chickens
Chooks are a very important part of our Urban Farm. We’ve had these beautiful creatures for several years now turning seed and garden scraps into eggs and fertiliser. There’s nothing better than home grown eggs.
Our chooks are ISA Browns which are frenetic egg layers – Wikipedia says they lay approx 300 eggs per year. After 3-4 years old the laying slows down considerably. So our flock has a blend of aged matriarchs enjoying their retirement, and younger chooks who take on the burden of egg laying. Currently our 7 chooks produce 4-6 eggs per day.
These little creatures appear to be so gentle, and squat down when approached (lets not get into why they do that here) but are absolute savages if you introduce new fowls into their territory.
‘Pecking Order’ and ‘Hen Pecked’
See a dramatic illustration of the brutality of real-life ‘pecking order’ by adding 2 or 3 new ‘point of lay’ chickens into the flock. The ‘ruling’ birds are merciless in enforcing their right and authority over the new entrants and relentlessly bully the new birds. New chickens are so badly pecked they have bald and bloody heads, and cower away in a corner of the yard – its heart rending.
The last couple of times I’ve fenced off a small section of the chook yard for about 3-4 months for the newbies and this seemed to reduce ‘chook wars’ a bit – at least it reduced the squabbling coming from the chook yard. Even after a year there’s sniping and bullying with the occasional all-scale battle around the seed feeder.
Chicken beaks trimmed
Our last batch came with their beaks trimmed – we were told to reduce the damage they can inflict on newbies later on. We’re not sure about that as it seemed to transfer the impact of normal foraging onto their hinged bottoms beaks which may be a problem over time. I note that the RSPCA doesnt recommend beak trimming.