Republic of Moreland

March 2, 2007

Backyard experiment #2

Filed under: Backyard experiment,Birds,Coburg,urban farming — Kath @ 6:25 pm

Here’s something you probably didn’t know: if you have a broody chook, you can mail-order live eggs to stick under her. After they’re kept warm for 24 hours, they start to incubate. And after 21 days precisely (depending on what fowl you choose), they hatch! Cuuuute. (Stay away, Spooky and Kitty.) Gawd knows what I’ll do if they turn out male. (On second thoughts, S & K…)

I ordered some live eggs from Abundant Layers, one of the many live egg mail services. I wanted Rhode Island Reds, but they advised me that Isa Browns (cross between Reds and New Hampshires) are the best layers. So I ordered five Isa Brown eggs, figuring odds are at least two will be female. One of them arrived cracked, and had to be discarded. The remaining four went under broody Mrs Chooky (pictured, above).

Someone I spoke to a few days later said they’d had problems with Abundant Layer livestock, so I went and visited Deb from Book a Chook in Coburg. (I discussed Book a Chook in a previous post.) Deb gave me three live eggs from her Bantams, chickens I initially wasn’t too keen on, as they’re less productive and have smaller eggs. But hers are very, very nice birds. So I put those eggs under Mrs Chooky as well.

Twenty-one days passed since the Abundant Layer eggs were adopted. Then 22, 23, 24. None hatched, but I kept them under Mrs Chookie just in case. Then this morning, two of the three eggs from Book a Chook hatched (one chick is pictured next to proud adoptive mother, above). Little One was thrilled, and I’m a bit pleased, too. Out of curiosity, I cracked open the Abundant Layer eggs that had been kept so warm this past month. I wanted to see how much — if at all — the chicks had developed. When I cracked each one, it exploded disgusting liquid muck that smelled pure evil. (Just thought you might like to know.)



  1. Can I have dibs on one of those chooks? I do think carnivores should have to get their hands dirty, so I’m volunteering in the finest frontier style of the British Raj to have my footman hack its bloody head orf with his kukri.

    Might get someone else to pluck the dem bird, though. Perhaps one of those jolly little pluck-wallahs I’ve heard so much about. Can I obtain a reasonably priced one on Sydney Road?

    Comment by Chickens Over The Yard-Arm — March 3, 2007 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  2. hmmm ok then
    “Lady of the house” here wants some chookies, but as you know we have S&K to deal with. What do you think the chances would be if we bought fully grown layers, that S&K would be unable to eat them?

    Does that even make sense?

    Comment by Marty — March 5, 2007 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  3. Fully-grown chooks of the larger breeds can defend themselves fine against them there kitties, Marty.

    Comment by Girl on The Avenue — March 5, 2007 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  4. sweet… does this place you got your eggs from have full grown layers too?

    Comment by Marty — March 5, 2007 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  5. Yes: for sale now, according to her website. But they’re bantams (smaller chickens): you’ll have to ask if they’re cat-resistant. If you build an enclosed chook pen, shouldn’t be a problem. Cat TV.

    Comment by Girl on The Avenue — March 5, 2007 @ 6:33 pm | Reply

  6. I have four bantam hens from Book a Chook and can highly recommend them. They ARE small but this means they can free range and help with the gardening without actually destroying it. They are also very 3-year-old friendly, being happy to play their part in Spiderman-saves-the-world re-enactments, be chased with big sticks and then be patted lovingly, all within the space of five minutes.

    The local cats do line up in the evenings drooling over my chooks but have so far restricted themselves to just looking. As it gets dark the chooks put themselves away in a little hutch we have for them and I just make sure I shut the door each evening to keep them safe.

    You can see our chooks here if you’re interested.

    Comment by faith — April 3, 2007 @ 12:08 pm | Reply

  7. Sara Sexton

    Sara Sexton

    Trackback by Sara Sexton — August 6, 2007 @ 8:53 am | Reply

  8. we have purchased birds from Abundant Layers and are very happy with them. Healthy and good quality and laying well.

    Have not bought any fertile eggs though.

    Comment by Sue — September 18, 2007 @ 10:04 am | Reply

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