My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?


Have our Plymouth Barred Rocks settled into their new home?


The two Plymouth Barred Rocks we bought a month ago have settled in surprisingly well. Even Helen, our resident “not very nice” chicken didn’t bother them, apart from the few raised hackles when the girls were confined to the coop. Maybe it helps that these girls are bigger than my Barnevelders.

We got these girls on a Saturday and kept them locked in a coop where the others could see them. On Monday I had to take a day off work to take King George to the vet where he was put down. That afternoon when I got home, I decided to let the new girls out for a few hours while I was there to supervise. Ever since they arrived at our place, they have been very friendly girls, even coming over to me whenever I opened the door of the coop and letting me touch them. I was pretty sure they were not going to run away.

I let the girls out and sat on the grass beside them to supervise. No supervision necessary. The girls all mingled together, a little bit apprehensive of each other but no fights. In fact they were so good, that when I went to work the next day, I let all of them out and they have been free ranging together ever since then.



And I can even tell them apart. Henley has a smaller comb and is not quite as big as Hillary.

I think I have been very lucky.



I need some new chickens to boost my egg production


I currently have four chickens but I am only getting eggs from the two Barnevelders and their eggs I would describe as rather minimal. They average five to six eggs between them each week. And since my household has more people living in it than it used to, I need more eggs than what these girls can produce.

Hannah bantam is almost eight and lays at the beginning of the season for a few weeks and then stops. Understandable of course at her age. Aunt Dorrie bantam lays in the bushes and is an expert at hiding her little creamy coloured eggs.

So my husband and I agree to buy two new pullets. How exciting choosing a new breed.

My criteria was:
Available now as point of lay or already laying in their first season
There must be two so they would always have each other
Heritage and heavy breed (my rooster is large)
Friendly and calm
Good layers

It is the beginning of the hatching season here in New Zealand and do you know how difficult it is to find a pullet? There are almost none. One breeder told me that she did not sell point of lay pullets due to the cost to keep a chicken to point of lay and the inability to recuperate that cost. I was quite surprised to hear that. I wonder if it was just the one breeder I spoke to or if that is common practice. She sells hers all as chicks.

So I searched Trademe (New Zealand’s Ebay) and a few weeks after starting my search, I found these beautiful Plymouth Barred Rock girls who had just started laying in their first season. This was a breed I and been looking for and these ones must have been meant for me as they were just down the road from where we live. Quick, press the “buy now” button before anyone else can buy them.

We bought them home and settled them into a coop near where the main coop is and where the girls can all see each other as the free rangers wander past.


As you can see, Helen stopped to say hello.
Helen, meet Henley.
Henley, meet Helen.
If anyone was going to raise hackles I knew it would be Helen.

She is second in the pecking order and would be horrified to think that might be in jeopardy.

You can see King George’s cage in the foreground. We made sure he was involved in all of the action while he waited in the cage to see the vet.