What is a ‘dual-purpose’ chicken?
Chickens are often categorised by their uses to humans – egg layers, meat birds or dual purpose. Dual purpose chickens mature quite slowly, produce a good quantity of meat (the roosters are normally eaten) and the girls will still produce a good number of eggs.
Are chickens noisy?
In general, the answer is no… but as chickens all have different personalities some may be more talkative than others. Chickens make the most noise after they have laid an egg, as they want the world to know about this accomplishment but otherwise you don’t really hear from them…
I want to have chickens but I’m worried about attracting rats. What do you advise?
Rats are attracted to old and yucky food, so if you keep your chicken areas free of excess food they aren’t generally a problem that you will experience. We recommend that if you are going to give your girls scraps (or a mash) that you do so in the morning. This gives your girls time to eat the food before they go to bed, and if there is some left over it only takes a few seconds to scoop it up and throw it in the bin…
Treadle feeders are another great longer term alternative for avoiding attracting vermin to your chicken yard. They are a metal feeder which requires the chickens to step on a ‘tread’ to open the door to access feed. Treadle feeders also have the added bonus of holding 12kg-20kg of dry food and are perfect for larger flocks or more time in between feeder refills. Order yours now here.
I’m worried that chickens will fly or jump over our backyard fences. What do you think?
Chickens can and will fly short distances if they want to (which can be partly due to a breed characteristic or the individual chook temperament) or to get away from danger. Most of the (standard) heavy bodied breeds like the Australorp and Light Sussex are said to be unable to fly. Most chickens won’t venture far from the coop once they have settled into their home area.
If you are particularly worried, or have an adventurous chook, you can clip one wing – this throws their aim off balance (so they can’t aim for the top of fences or tree branches) and often is enough to prevent them from continuously trying. There are alot of instructional videos and diagrams on the internet to help you with this (or we can show you when you come to visit us). And no, it isn’t painful to the chicken (if done properly)… much like cutting our nails.
How long can a chicken live for?
A healthy chicken can live for anywhere between 6-12 years if cared for properly (ie. given good nutrition, health care and decent shelter etc) with some variation dependant on their breed. Commercial hybrid chickens have a much shorter life expectancy (2-3yrs) as they are bred for maximum egg production in a short period of time and therefore will experience health complications relating to this.
I’ve been told to buy a ‘point of lay’ chicken. When are they available?
A chicken which is at ‘point of lay’ means it is approx. 22-24 weeks old and should (theoretically) start laying 2-4 weeks after you bring her home. Point of lay chickens are normally available from late January to Feb each year.
Why so long?
Well, breeding season in Victoria starts in September, as a general rule. This is when the weather starts to warm up, daylight hours start to increase and the girls start to lay again after taking a break over the colder months. This means that eggs are then collected and incubated, which takes 3 weeks. Then add another five and a half months to grow them to point of lay… you are in the January – February time period.