My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?


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The wild rabbit who thinks he is one of our chickens

We live in rural New Zealand and farmers here do not like rabbits.

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But how can you resist this little guy. He thinks he is a chicken and what’s more, he thinks he is one of our pets.

He was born this spring and his mum lives somewhere in the bushes beside our house. So this little rabbit has decided he is part of our family.

He can usually be seen cruising with the chickens and eating their seed, their  scraps and their grass. (There is not much grass left on this side of the house as the harsh summer sun has burnt it all away. There is plenty left around the other sides of the house but this side is sheltered from the hawks.)

He doesn’t even run away when I go outside. He seems quite happy being one of the flock and the chickens seems to have accepted him.

Lucky little rabbit. But I suggest you don’t cross the road into the farmer’s paddock.

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My bantam sat for 57 days on her infertile eggs

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As you can see, my little bantam, Aunt Dorrie is now back in among the rest of the brood. (She is the one nearest to King George.) After sitting on her infertile eggs for 57 days, she finally gave up.

For each of those 57 days she came off the nest to eat, drink, stretch her legs, and do her ablutions and then she would go running back. I always made sure there was plenty of fresh water but I was worried about her not having enough food. I would always leave food out for her in the mornings before I went to work but I know that the other chickens and the birds probably ate it all before she came out. But then I had to remember that she is a “wild bantam” who has lived across the road on the farm without being fed by anyone, for a long time before she came to my house. So I had to trust that she knows how to survive without me.

And then one day in the weekend, I saw her come out and run towards our chooketaria. A chooketaria is a self feeding chicken feeder that opens up when the chicken steps on the lid. She is far too light surely, to open the lid with her tiny little bantam frame.

This is a picture of one of my other bantam, Hannah using the chooketaria, with Hilda Hen waiting in line.

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But no, Aunt Dorrie went straight up to the chooketaria, put her feet onto the step, the lid opened and she raised herself as high as her little body would allow, and leaned in and started pecking at the delicious grains.

So that is how she has been keeping herself fed. What a clever little bantam.

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So Aunt Dorrie is off her nest and back with the rest of the brood looking no worse the wear for her ordeal.