Archive | 11:14 pm

An excursion

6 Aug

It was sunny this morning and we really wanted to get out of the house. J has been excited about the idea of chickens lately, so we thought we’d take them to a chicken farm to investigate further.

Out we drove to Barter and Sons Hatchery, which is south of Penrith in Luddenham, about an hour from home. The area was quite rural, with quite a few market stalls on the sides of the road. I always feel a bit too shy to stop, but I’m not sure why.

The hatchery is really well set up with hens of all ages, from day-old chicks to full-sized laying hens. On Saturdays they have incubated eggs on display, hatching before your eyes.

The kids had an absolute blast cuddling the little chicks and following the hens around. They had a whole heap of different varieties, including some heritage blood lines seldom seen in commercial production anymore. Kinda like heirloom veggies really, I think it’s great.

J with some young chicks

It was really good to see the progression in size between the little chicks and full size hens. They had pullets there at all stages of growth, so you could really get a good idea of how long they take to reach full size. You could also see what the different breeds looked like along the stages of development.

P is slowly coming around to the idea of getting some chickens, but we didn’t take the plunge today. We would really like to get our hens as little chicks so the kids can watch them grow. We learned today that they are actually quite fragile at that age, and need heat lamps etc to keep them warm. We were just not prepared for that, so we might go back later in the year when it’s a bit warmer. They also had the heat boxes for rent if you want to spend the money ($135 for 6 weeks).

So for anyone considering backyard chickens, I would really recommend this place. The people were friendly, the set up was great and the prices extremely reasonable. Day old chicks were $6 each and full-size hens were a bit over $15.

We even stopped at a church fete on the way home and picked up some delicious home-made nectarine jam. Gotta be happy with that!

**Update** I’ve also updated my What’s Growing page to include my seed collection.