However, for many Warrandytians, it’s not about the eggs. There are so many delightful reasons for having chickens, with eggs being a bonus.
Adjoining neighbours Adata and John share several chickens between their homes with a mobile coop made from the frame of an old barbeque, a shipping box and pallets. The result is a cleverly designed home for Scarlet, Darling, Lucy, Beautiful Girl, Belina and Bob that for the past two years has been moved from home to home on a roster basis.
If one family is away on a holiday, the other family is able to care for them.
“When you rent, it’s hard to ask a landlord for permission to build a permanent structure,” says John. “This way we can have chickens and share them with our friends.”
Emil, Marcel, Nell and Natalia all help with caring for the chickens, including collecting the eggs, putting them away at night and topping up the water, especially on hot days.
“They all have different temperaments and personalities,” says Agata. “They are curious and adventurous and a little cheeky sometimes by trying to get into the veggie garden.”
Mother of two, Natalie, from North Warrandyte has converted an old cubby into a sweet little home safe from foxes for her Rhode Island Reds – Poeey, Twinkles, Sparkles and My Chicken. Laying well means they often have more eggs than they need and either swap the eggs for other produce with friends or give them away.
Natalie and husband Ben’s aim is to upgrade the coop by designing a way for them to eat more grass which improves their Omega 6 balance.
Lynda not only has chickens but a number of charismatic ducks, the boss of the roost being Barry. They all live together in the Taj Mahal of coops that has been added to and improved over the years to accommodate the chickens and ducks as well as keep out the foxes.
“I’d recommend digging well down into the ground with your wire, at least 500mm to keep them out and I’ve also concreted part of the coop floor to keep out the rats,” says Lynda.
“Wasps aren’t too much of a problem if I avoid putting out too many food scraps.”
With both the chickens and ducks as good layers, Lynda used to sell her freerange eggs at work as they were in such demand – as Julie Quinton quickly discovered at our local IGA supermarket after banning caged hen eggs and stocking only freerange.
Currently, Daphne is broody and has been sitting on the duck eggs for a while, which will probably hatch in the next few days.
In the meantime, 5kg Barry is quite the stud with his harem of stunning white companions Daphne, Lulu and Lizzie.
On the side of a hill, facing north and overlooking the Yarra, lives an eclectic family of chickens.
Annette Lion has owned chickens and ducks for 14 years.
“Each duck has their own personality,” says Annette, as a collection of Bantams, Light Sussex and Pom Pom Heads saunter free around the garden.
With names like Carlotta, Bluebell and Nessie it’s easy to see why Annette’s daughters Luna and Mikaia enjoy having their chickens around.
They are so tame, they’ll even sit on their heads.
We couldn’t find Speckles but she turned up later in the day, having been gone for 10 days. Annette found her sitting on 12 eggs!
It’s obvious that the bonuses of owning chickens is not just the eggs but showing children where food comes from, how to care for them, how they can produce great fertiliser for the garden and the sheer entertainment of watching their antics.
If you’d like to share your own chicken stories, please tell us at the Diary by emailing info@warrandyte diary.com.au
VIDEO: See our chooks story on Diary TV at warrandytediary.com.au