I'm a freelance writer and primary school teacher living in SE Melbourne. I love finding adventures for myself, my husband and our four kids to enjoy. Come along! Heart my articles, subscribe to the fun, follow along on www.facebook.com/WNMelbourne
Published March 22nd 2014
Choose what comes first, the chicken or the egg
My friends' hen house, 'Cluckingham Palace'
Hopefully you won't need to be asking why the chicken crossed the road, after learning a thing or two about how to keep them in your own backyard!
Most councils in Australia's cities and suburbs allow 5-10 poultry without a permit. Some councils have specific restrictions on numbers and types of poultry, and some require the chook house to be a certain distance away from the neighbours' fence and/or dwelling. Don't count your chickens before they hatch; best to check with your local council before executing any major plans.
If you're in or around Melbourne, Myuna Farm occasionally hosts workshops on managing hens in your backyard. It's worth your $10 to have a chance to ask a few questions, and learn how to feed and house the chooks properly.
Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net
You'll need to learn a few things: How to fox-proof your hen house (yes the wiley foxes seem to love Melbourne); what to set up to keep the girls perching pretty and laying loads of fresh flavourful eggs for you and your family; do they get too hot? Too cold?
Lastly, consider the costs. If you're getting chooks for the sole purpose of saving money on your weekly grocery bill, you may find yourself coming up a bit short. The cost of the hens, the coop, the food, the extras, it all adds up, and sometimes the girls just aren't in the mood to give you eggs either. If you're looking for a bit of a hobby, family pets, or responsibilities and other lessons for the kids, you may have found your goose that lays a golden egg!
Do you have backyard chooks? How many eggs do you get per week? What has been the biggest joy? Biggest pain? What's your best tip for our readers considering suburban farming?