Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

We've got chickens...

and ducks...and rabbits.....

It all started with me wanting chickens for my birthday...a dear friend offered me his pets if I had the space....so for weeks I worked furiously on getting my yard to accommodate for them.
I tell ya! My life has changed in so many ways since having the extra animals in the back yard. Yes we live in town, yes we have 2 dogs that would love to eat them....but it's working!

Here's our adventure so far......

We began by converting Mum's shed into the chicken coup...with panels removed for ventilation.....

 and a viewing hole in the door so we can see if there's any escapee wannabees before going inside....

Roosting and nesting ....Plan A.....

Dividing the yard....

Please note that all our resources were on the property except the wire mesh which we sourced at the local recycling center connected with the tip.

That fancy door....was for my purple runner beans......After hubby halved it; it's now converted into the main gate. We decided it best if we followed the path of the pavers...that way our 2 four legged hunters (Rusty & Cindy) couldn't dig their way into the chicken pen....It's working so far....

All hands on deck getting the wire mesh installed...thanks boys!

It started with 2 rabbits from my mate Richard....which we had been keeping in a cage in the front yard...I named them F1 and F2 (Fertiliser 1 and Fertiliser 2)

Then we thought one got out...but turns out he was only visiting.....
so he went in the cage too.
After 3 days...we now had 3 rabbits....and the cage was getting smaller and smaller.....
Meet F3...

Soooo...then Richard asks me "If you want my chickens and ducks too, you're more than welcome, I need to clean up my yard!" .....I knew it could work, because apart from F3, they had all lived together rather happily.
And that's how all this construction began in my backyard....

Headcount: 5 humans, 2 dogs, 3 rabbits & 2 ducks.....
So here are the ducks.... 

and here are the chickens....all reunited again.....
Headcount: 5 humans, 2 dogs, 3 rabbits, 2 ducks & 4 chickens...

I then decide to source some fertile eggs from two local schools....and incubate them using a friends incubator.....from 36 eggs, we get 10 chickens hatched healthily....
Headcount: 5 humans, 2 dogs, 3 rabbits, 2 ducks & 14 chickens...

One chicken is born with what I think is brain damage, so quickly put to sleep....
and then there is Daffy.... Daffy had clubby curled up feet and I knew that this would definitely be a problem if he/she was to get older and become heavier...Daffy couldn't walk properly and I couldn't see any perching future for the little one either....so with internet at my ready...I researched the possibilities.....after all, Daffy could be an egg layer, I'm thinking it's worth the research....

So...Daffy got new shoes (double sided sticky tape) for a week or so...changed regularly when they fell off....and it's worked...

Apart from one toe, Daffy is growing up to be a lovely hen.....
Apart from one toe being curled sideways (which you can't really see, because she is stepping in poop)....Daffy keeps up with the rest of the crowd, you'd never know she had to wear special shoes when she was tiny.....hehehe

Oh...did I mention that Hubby thought it would be good to buy some older birds....not much older, but 2 to 4 weeks older than our babies....so a road trip bought 10 chickens home...apparently they should all lay blue eggs....I was told they are Golden Blacks...

Hubby named this one Moe.....cause it has a mohawk on its head....lol

Headcount: 5 humans, 2 dogs, 3 rabbits, 2 ducks & 24 chickens...

Moe is also growing up to be a fine looking lady....She also wishes she could get back in under my passionfruit vine...No more scratching Moe !

We've been lucky so far not naming any boys....as the boys will all be despatched quickly and put in the freezer....I'm thinking this one is a rooster, cause I seen him mounting a hen the other day...

Am I a rooster...I think I am...
Another road trip brings us 6 Welsh Harlequin ducks (left) from my cousin in Bundanoon....2 female, 4 male....the boys were dispatched a few days later and put in the freezer.

Headcount: 5 humans, 2 dogs, 3 rabbits, 4 ducks & 23 chickens...
Yep...1 chicken missing, because it decided to go for a day trip over the fence...and Rusty got her... The chicken is now buried under the apricot tree.... Naughty Rusty :(

Early days; we also got offered this lovely little bantam and her boyfriend from a local school....We named her Jenny, but had her boyfriend for dinner....He was way too noisy to even keep just one night.......
See how Jenny only has two tail feathers in this picture....That's because she decided to go for a holiday over the neighbor's back fence....lucky he was home to remove Jenny's butt from their dog's mouth....She hasn't gone on holidays since, and her tail feathers are all grown back now. 

Headcount: 5 humans, 2 dogs, 3 rabbits, 4 ducks & 24 chickens...

Of Course anyone who has Silkies knows that they are prone to being clucky and broody....so Miss Bad Hair Day decides she's going to sit on a clutch of eggs...
I was kindly donated 8 eggs for her to hatch from my mate Ross...these eggs being Isa Brown chickens.....Thanks Ross!

Meet Miss Bad Hair Day and her 5 babies out on the town....(one is hiding under her)
I've been told that Isa Brown day old chicks can be sexed by the colour of them...
I've got two red chicks and 3 white chicks...so I'm thinking I have 3 more boys for the freezer when they start to crow loudly.

You can also see in this photo that the chicken run is almost the full width of our yard...lucky chickens!

Headcount: 5 humans, 2 dogs, 3 rabbits, 4 ducks & 29 chickens...

Update on Plan A with the chicken roost and the nesting boxes....
I think were settled with Plan D and E now.....
The roost was built from dowel stands that DS21 brought home from work...we now have lots of dowel.

The nesting boxes were built from two sets of steel shelving that were in the shed originally.
I simply laid one on its side...cut the shelves from the other one in half and pop-riveted them in place to make the middle shelf for the upper nesting boxes.
The timber slats to keep the straw encased...that's from an old timber blind.


....and when the weather fines up and I'm not building extra garden  beds....I have the nursery/sin bin in the making.....
I have enough steel mesh to enclose this area, the frame is made, I just need to work out a door/frame and its all set.
Soooo sorry, for the life of me I cannot get this photo to rotate....
Pffft, never a dull moment in blogger...and I thought it was going to behave itself today

That's it for now...just wanted to catch you up on all the goings on around here.
I'd love to hear what you think of my new additions .......
I know I have too many for my block, but remember I'll be culling the boys as they grow their voices...

I'll be back soon to show you my garden bed expansion....off to have some breakfast then do some serious dirt relocating....
Happy blogging!


  1. What a great post and a huge change for you all. Fantastic. As you know my faves are the bunnies lol

    1. Thanks Sue, it is a huge change for all of us, I seen hubby taking just one grub down the back to feed the chickens the other day....having not been around chickens at all, he's finding it fascinating too.

  2. Great to hear from you Narelle. Have been thinking of you. Boy, its all happening at your place. are you planning on eating the ducks and rabbits?

    Anne xx

    1. Thanks Anne, I've been thinking about all my blog friends a lot lately too. We plan on eating the male ducks that are in the freezer, but the rabbits are miniature dwarf lop eared...I'd rather keep them for the fertiliser they produce for me, far too tiny to get any meat from them.

  3. That's one chicken extravaganza, love it.

    1. Thanks, I've been looking for a name for the chicken coop...that's on the list now.

  4. Fantastic!! they all look so happy. Only problem with chickens is they are rather addictive!!!


    1. Annbell, you are sooooo right...they ARE addictive...but that's one addiction I don't mind having.

  5. my gosh! I thought rabbits multiplied, but in your case it seems to be the chickens. You have done a great job with their run and they all look happy and healthy. Your little chook with her feet in shoes is sooo cute!

    1. hmmm, the chickens are definitely multiplying...I need to be patient and wait for some boys to start crowing before I even think about getting more.
      She is cute isn't she..

  6. Great stuff! Are you planning to breed the rabbits for meat? Or are they just pets?

    1. Darren, I've been thinking about breeding rabbits for meat ever since I seen a pair at Warilla High School...THEY ARE HUGE....
      But for now...F1, F2 and F3 are just helping me out with their wonderful pelletized fertiliser...I'm loving have my animals work for me...it's awesome.

    2. I'm into breeding meat rabbits now, so let me know when you're ready :-).

    3. Oh awesome Darren....good to know! Do you think I could blend them into the space I already have?

  7. Looks like you hands are really full now - congrats on the new family members :)

  8. You're chicken pen looks fantastic, I can see you down the line moving onto a farm.

    1. Thanks! everyone says I should be on a farm...but I struggle some days to keep this little block going...so suburbia it is for me!

  9. That's quite a population explosion! Sounds like you're having fun :)

    1. I sure am Quin...I can't afford to have any more explosions at the moment...there's just no room!
      All in good harmless fun!

  10. I had quite a giggle reading this! :-)
    The only question that came up in my mind... why did you bury that one chicken that the dog got? Why not have her for dinner as well? Or did the dog chew her up badly? (yuck)

    Well done on all the work! Very impressive!

    1. Good question Becca...that chicken was only 4 or 5 weeks old...and If I know Rusty...every bone in its body would be broken....she does this to rats, mice and even little lizards..then just walks away. No blood shed, "You just need to die cause this property is ALL MINE!"

  11. What a great, well thought out set-up you've got! I love that you were able to mend the chicken's feet. Well done!

    1. Linda, I'm just using my land the best way I see, I really thought hard on how to keep chickens with my dogs too. There had to be a way, even though I know the hunting instincts of the two dogs.
      I love that we could mend her feet too, even better that she is a she!

  12. I love it all. I love your update in pictures. I think it is wonderful that you are building your little homestead....

    1. Thanks Melissa, it's hard work, but very rewarding too.

  13. AWESOME! Lovely job on the coop - well done :) I've missed your posts...

  14. Thanks Sherrie, I've missed all my blogging friends too.

  15. wonderful post Narelle, I love chickens to,your use of your land is to be applauded, exp "blooming where you are planted" and making the most of what we have.Lovely to see

  16. You've done a great job housing all the animals. Sadly I lost my 2 hens to a predator, possibly a fox.

    I've been catching up on your old posts and I have some serious cooking to do. You have some very easy recipes that I plan on trying out.
    Cheers Yvonne

  17. Amazing gang you have,I would love chickens but my neighbours dont also there are too many dogs by us wild that is.

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