We live in Melbourne. Why all the concern about foxes?
We hear about fox attacks on poultry in suburban Melbourne all the time (as well as having been attacked ourselves… not a nice experience) and encourage all suburban poultry keepers to take the risk seriously.
Melbourne has the highest population of foxes in Australia, with reported densities of 16 foxes per km2 compared to 3.5 – 7 foxes per km2 in rural areas. Foxes are agile animals capable of passing through, digging under, jumping over, or even climbing various types of fences. The Victorian Department of Primary Industries advises that “wire netting with mesh size not exceeding 80mm (approx 3 inches) will prevent most foxes passing through the fences. The netting should be 1.2 – 1.9m high and should be buried to a depth of at least 450 mm. An apron of netting angled outwards for 200 mm at the base provides an added deterrent to digging.”
Foxes will also keep returning to locations where they know food sources are available.
I’m worried about my chickens getting cold – what can I do to help them?
This is a very common question, and no you aren’t weird for worrying about this – LOL. Keeping in mind that chickens are kept in countries where it snows your girls should be fine, but there are things you can do or check to make their life more comfortable. Firstly, chickens don’t really like draughts so if they are sleeping on a perch which is a bit exposed you can add a length of shadecloth to drop down the sides of the coop (it’s purely your choice what thickness or colour) which can be rolled up during the day to let in sunlight.
If they prefer to sleep in the nesting box or a fairly enclosed area you can make sure they have lots of clean bedding to snuggle into. Giving them a handful of cracked corn (on its own or included in a mixed grain) in the afternoon before bed produces heat in their crop which will help to keep them warm. And then for the dedicated chicken keeper there are ‘mashes’…
How do I keep my chickens cool in hot weather?
All chickens need a supply of clean, fresh water out of direct sunlight as they will often refuse to drink warm water (and can become dehyrated as a result). As chickens cannot drink large amounts, they will instead drink small amounts but very often. A lot of chicken keepers resort to hosing the chickens, their shade (trees or structures) or run areas down to keep them cool and comfortable. It is also a good idea to put ice in their water, and/or feed them cold watermelon, cucumbers or mash to keep their core body temperature down.
Chickens can (and do) die in extreme heat so hot weather management is important. You will notice that chickens pant (much like dogs) and will stand with their wings spread to cool themselves when they are hot and will seek a shaded area away from the sun.
We have a rooster and can’t keep him. Can you help?
Suburban Chooks are willing to take unwanted roosters (irrespective of how you gained them) and will do our best to rehome them. But please be aware that for a majority their future may not be one long-lived, full of green grass and girlfriends. In doing so, we would also appreciate a few dollars to cover their food cost until we can determine what their future does hold…
We also understand how tricky it can be explaining to your heartbroken children that their rooster has to go to the farm (ie. us). Given some warning, we are more than willing to go along with any story you have told your children (especially if they are young and aren’t ready for the truth) when you come to drop off your rooster(s).
HELP!!! I love my chickens, want more of them, spend a lot of time with them, spend lots of time on the internet reading about them and my family think I am turning into a crazy chicken woman/man/child… am I addicted? What do I do?
Succumb. There is no treatment and there are plenty of members of the unofficial club of Poultry Lovers Annonymous. I am a four year card-carrying member myself… with a chicken-related ABN to prove it. LOL.
Seriously, chickens are a great love of mine and an interest that I thankfully share with my husband (hence, Suburban Chooks)… and frankly one I encourage. I spend alot of time outside, meet lots of people who share my interest, research and willingly learn everything I can about them… much less harmful than drinking, smoking and gambling at the local Pokies.