One day, I want to be a chicken keeper. Chickens can lay 5 eggs a week. The poultry keeping limit in Auckland city is 6 hens which would more than enough for me and The Koala. 4 chickens would probably be a good number. We would have enough for us and some to give away and to trade with.
We eat a lot of eggs at our place and we always run out of eggs before the next big shopping trip. A tray of 30 eggs generally lasts 2-3 weeks. There are only 2 of us at home.
Luckily, roosters are outlawed in Auckland urban areas. I remember when we were holidaying in Niue and hearing the rooster choir begin at 4am. I started counting them and I could count over 70 rooster crows per minute.
Chickens are great for eating weeds and chicken scraps (on top of their chicken feed).
Chickens will also dig up soil so you can place a chicken coop on top of your planned vegetable garden. Once the soil is turned, you have fertilised soil ready for planting. You can use chicken manure in your vegetable garden too so it all goes full circle. Don’t use fresh chicken manure in your garden, but spread it out and let it age a while or you will risk burning your plants with high levels of nitrogen.
Chicken Coops from Trademe
These wooden chicken coops from Trademe.co.nz will set you back $300-400 each. Some traders will even include chickens with your purchase.
Eglu Go, Eglu Classic and Eglu Cube are made by omlet.co.uk. They come in a range of funky colours and sizes with runs that can made to order by the metre. The Eglu Go houses up to 4 chickens and the Eglu Cube houses up to 10 chickens.
Priced at a whopping £330 ($680NZ or $530US) for the Eglu Go with a 2m run, up to £795 ($1640NZ or $1270US) for a Cube with a 3m run, they really are The Joneses of chicken housing. They only deliver in the UK at this stage.
Shaver hens are prolific layers and can lay more than 300 large brown eggs a year and will cost around $20 per hen.
Shaver hens are probably the most common on Trademe but don’t you love the look of Silkies? Fertile Silkie eggs go for about $1 each on Trademe. Chicks are about $5 and adults $10. They are much cheaper than Shavers and I guess it’s because they don’t lay as much.
Silkies originate from China and look ridiculously fancy. There are 2 kinds, bearded or non bearded.
White Silkie non bearded
Black Silkie bearded
Silkies are named after their silky plumage. They have dark blue – sometimes black or purple – flesh, bones and earlobes and an extra toe on each foot. They are known for being calm and friendly and make great pets. They are not prolific layers at only 2-3 eggs a week, but their broody behaviour makes them ideal to use for hatching eggs from other layers.
Their black meat is held in high regard in Asian cuisine though Western cuisines have yet to appreciate this unusual looking meat.
I think I’d get 2 Shavers and 2 Silkies to keep the balance. 2 good layers and 2 for show.