I really really really want chickens

13 Jul

I grew up with chickens. My parents had chooks when I was growing up and I collected eggs as a part-time job during my uni days, where I once heard a chicken speak.

I couldn’t actually identify which one of them said “hello”, but I played it safe and rescued all chickens from the surrounding cages. I took them home to free range until I narrowed down the talker and made squillions from exhibiting her on Oprah.

Bloody chook never spoke another word.

I never really appreciated my feathered friends. It’s only now, trying to deal with kitchen and garden waste that I truly see them for the wonders they are.

For my kitchen scraps I am using a bokashi bucket, which is wonderful for processing large quantities of kitchen waste quickly and odour-free. I’m having trouble though with the sheer quantity of organic waste that my veggie garden produces, both in terms of weeds and veggie off-cuts.

A broccoli, for example, produces both a thick stalk and a plethora of surrounding leaves for every tight green head. My globe artichokes need their outer fronds plucked regularly to prevent them taking over the world. All these scraps won’t fit in my humble compost tumbler, and it’s really only designed for grass clippings and leaves anyway.

I need a solution, and preferably one that clucks.

My problem is P. He swears that they will smell, and that it’s a bad idea. He wants to get the kids a guinea pig instead. A flipping guinea pig! What good did a guinea pig ever do for anyone outside of Ecuador?

I’ve even resorted to asking J whether she would like a chicken. The problems is that I’m not one to shy away from life’s realities, so I’ve explained to her that when we eat chicken, a chicken has to die.

L: Hey J, would you like to get a chicken?

J: “I’d like to kill a chicken”.

L: “No, as a pet”

J: “I’d like to kill a chicken, because I like to eat chicken”.

L: “This would be a chicken that would lay eggs for us – we wouldn’t kill it”.

J: “I’m actually allergic to chickens”.

Preschoolers!  She was no help at all.

So I’m going to have to come up with a plan to convince him, and based on what works for J, harping on in an amusing way seems to be my best bet.

Luckily, there have been a few articles on backyard chooks in the gardening magazines I’ve bought lately, so I’m going to cut them out and leave them in various places where he’ll find them.

I’ve planted some m&ms in the fridge, which are an absolute certain, and this little chookie below is going in the top drawer of this bedside table. If I keep it up long enough, he’s sure to agree, right?

14 Responses to “I really really really want chickens”

  1. Sarah July 13, 2011 at 4:22 pm #


    In my experience guinea pigs only live long enough for you to get attached to them and then they kark it.

    Some little bantams would be perfect!

  2. L July 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Gardening Australia on Saturday showed a lady’s productive garden (in Perth I think), and I’m pretty sure she had guinea pigs and chooks housed together. So the possibilities are endless…

    • Michele Zappavigna July 13, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

      I think there are some council regulations about how close you can keep them to your fence line in urban areas? But hopefully your shady spot will still be good.

      • L July 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

        Nothing about fencelines in the regs that I can see, but must be greater than 4.5 metres from neighbouring dwellings with a paved floor. I’m getting ahead of myself though 🙂

  3. Sarah July 13, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    This could be your other solution – a teacup pig 🙂

  4. Asydfoodie July 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Eat the brocolli stalk! You just trim the ‘bark’ off, and cook same as rest of broccoli. The surrounding leaves are also edible – treat like cavali nero.
    Guinea pigs and rabbits will eat your food scraps. Also your garden if you aren’t careful. You could mulch your garden clippings before putting them in the compost, this will help for faster breakdown.

    • L July 16, 2011 at 8:44 am #

      I think I would if I wasn’t overrun with broccoli. Hopefully a more organised planting schedule will help with that.

  5. The New Good Life July 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    I’m liking your style of persuasion there L, just the sort I would adopt if I were you. In fact when the time is right I too will be planting the ‘let’s get some chickens’ idea with my dear husband. Thankfully he’s usually pretty pliable and willing to go along with most of my wild plans. Good luck with your covert operation. be persistent I say!

  6. Brendan @ Merewether Life July 14, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Get some chickens – go on – just keep them in the bathroom as little yellow fluffy chicklets, and until they grow bigger you have time to work out a way to house them outside. Nothing like a growing chicken to create a sense of urgency.
    Oh, and guinea pigs – they are rather lacking in the productivity stakes, like they only make a whiny squeal every now and then and that’s it. No competition.

    • L July 16, 2011 at 8:44 am #

      The kids would love that!

  7. ali July 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    That is one fabulous looking chicken at the end there… I’m convinced!

  8. S July 16, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    Psst! I think he may be on to you!

  9. Mrs Bok August 2, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Definitely get chickens!!!!

    I have bantams, my last flock there were 6 but a daytime fox got them 😦 So now I have 3 little chicks in a henhouse that is now complete! Photos will go up on the blog tonight sometime hopefully. They do not smell, provide lovely poo and eggs (they will lay when they’re older – my old flock gaveus eggs daily) but most of all they provide us with their company. Tell your hubby to look at our coop, it doesn’t take much space.

  10. Maggie Walters August 3, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    you must have chickens! even just two in a chook tractor …. making good soil and providing you with yummy eggs. have to! my hubby had the same perspective …. yuck. stinky and messy. all it took was his having his first same day egg and he was converted. and now …. we are about to move bush and have to get rid of our girls and he is as sad as i am that we are having to get rid of them and already planning on doubling our flock once we by a new place! yup … gotta do chickens!

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