My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?


King George the rooster has finally made our house his home

I have watched King George in the evenings when it is time for bed. King George is a visiting rooster who “lives” across the road. He spends all day with my girls, returning home to his one lonely bantam girl across the road, only once my girls have gone to bed.

I have watched him when my girls are putting themselves to bed. He stands beside them and watches as they peck and scratch and fill their tummies before they go to bed.  He then watches them as they make their way into the coop, taking one last drink of water before they walk up the ramp and into their house to bed.

Then King George stands for a while, looking unsure. He finally turns to walk away and start his journey back to where he “lives” and where he has his lonely bantam waiting for him. He, stops after a few steps and then turns to look back at the coop. He hesitates and then turns and continues his journey. He hesitates again, this time turning and walking back to the coop and looking through the door.

He then turns for the last time and this time walks around the corner of our house, walks across our front lawn, walks down the hill, goes under our fence, walks across the road, squeezes himself under the neighbours gate, walks across a paddock and disappears into the bushes.

This morning I went to let my girls out and who should be in the coop, patiently standing beside the door, waiting to be let out. Yes, King George. I do feel sorry for his poor little lonely  bantam sleeping across the road on her own.


I had to buy my first eggs in twelve months


Helen Hen (Barnevelder) stopped laying in February as she struggled with the New Zealand heat and drought and decided she would go through a very light moult. She hardly lost any feathers but it was her first summer and her very first moult and perhaps it was a bit stressful for her. Or maybe she just felt she deserved a rest from laying her 3 to 4 eggs a week.

But that’s ok, I still had Hilda Hen (Barnevelder) and Hannah Hen (Partridge Wyandotte bantam), laying which was enough to keep me in eggs and to provide a half dozen now and again to family.

And then in May, Hilda Hen decided she would go through a very light moult also. She lost her tail feathers and started looking very sorry for herself and a bit bedraggled. She had a break from laying her  4 to 5 eggs a week.

But that’s ok, Hannah Hen was still laying her 6 eggs a week…. Until we got to the middle of the New Zealand winter. Hannah Hen stopped laying mid July. Oh dear.  I had a dozen or so eggs in the fridge. I will use them sparingly until one of the girls starts laying again. Helen Hen is looking fat and healthy and her comb is red so she can’t be too far from laying.

But then the end of July came and still no eggs in my nesting boxes. I couldn’t last any longer. At the end of July I went to the grocery store and bought a half dozen eggs. It felt so wrong.

But then on Monday, there in the nesting box was an egg from Hannah Hen. And then on Tuesday there were two brown eggs, one from Helen Hen and one from Hilda Hen.  My girls are back providing us with eggs regularly and I couldn’t be happier.


The visiting rooster, King George


King George visits every day from across the road where he lives on his farm. We are not sure if any of his flock are living there with him or whether the hawks have eaten them all.

Last weekend, King George visited my girls as usual, eating the treats I threw and generally being a welcome guest.

Later in the afternoon, I decided to go down to the bottom of the hill in front of our house to pay them a visit.  So with purple treat tin in hand, I made my way down the hill, ducking and weaving among the trees and trying not to slip over.

When I got to the bottom, there were the three girls happily scratching and pecking among the trees. King George was nowhere to be seen. Maybe he was just hiding somewhere. He is still a bit wary of me but he is starting to learn that I am not a threat and I often come with treats.

So I sat for a while with the girls and the neighbour’s pet sheep talking quietly to us through the fence. It was so peaceful with the winter sun shining down on us. But no sign of King George.

A little while later, I decided to take my three month old grandbaby boy for a walk down the road to give his mum a wee break. As we were wandering along, we happened to catch sight of King George on his farm amongst the hedges. Then to my surprise, there was a little bantam hen that looked very similar to my Hannah Hen. Was it my Hannah Hen? But she disappeared behind the hedge before I could see her properly. I hope he hasn’t lured my girls across the road to his farm.

So we wandered further up the road towards our place and when we got to the bottom of the hill where my three girls had been scratching and pecking among the trees, there they were. All present and accounted for. They were making their way back up the hill as it was nearing their bedtime.

So King George is two timing his remaining flock (possibly of one), or maybe he is just visiting for the food treats. I did notice the other day that he has learnt to use my girl’s feeder. But then he does spend much of the day here. I wonder if his remaining flock miss him and will she / they end up following him over here?