We have new chickens!
As we’d planned, once Bertie died and we were left with just three, we added five hens to the flock. I’ll be blogging more on them later – at the moment, the new girls are still hiding in the roost and refusing to come down, so there hasn’t been much of a chance to photograph them!
Today though, I’d like to give a completely unsolicited plug to City Chicks.
We’re passionate about our chooks, so it was a great joy to be able to deal with a company that cares deeply for their birds. John Huntington and his wife Wendy own and run the Sydney franchise of City Chicks and, after a recommendation from our friends Christina and Steve (the Vet), we called them on Tuesday to order our new hens.
I was immediately encouraged when Pete had a ten minute conversation with Wendy on the phone – she wanted to know whether we’d had chickens before, what our set-up was, and she checked with John to see if he thought we were doing the right thing introducing five new hens into an existing flock of three. This wasn’t a company that was going to sell us chickens as a commodity – we could tell straight away that the welfare of their birds was important to them.
The following day, John arrived with our five new girls. They were in immaculate condition – not beak trimmed, although the sharpness of their beaks had been worn down from a pecking block they’d been nibbling at. John is the nicest man and a wonderful source of knowledge on all things chicken-related. He stayed and chatted with us for nearly an hour – I think he might secretly have been waiting for us to put the chooks into the dome so that he knew they were settled in properly before he left.
City Chicks offers a complete service – food, feeders, coops and anything else you need for backyard chooks. They offer a wide range of breeds (we stuck with hybrids), as well as a rental service so that folks can try out chickens in their backyard before making the commitment of purchasing their own.
They also offer a backyard chicken retirement service. As many of you will remember, I was extremely sceptical about this when I first heard about it, but you know what? Now that I’ve met John, and grilled him extensively about how it works, I completely believe him. When this new batch of girls stop laying, I’m confident that we’ll be able to retire them to a comfortable rural life in Queensland.
This is how it works – City Chicks charges $20 to take away your old chooks (if you get new hens at the same time, they take $10 off as a “trade-in”). That covers feed and the cost of freighting the birds to Queensland where they’re released onto a five acre enclosure. They’re provided with shelter and allowed to free range. There is a cap on the maximum number of birds they’ll take for retirement (which tends to balance out as new retirees take the place of ones which die from natural causes) and, because of the size of the property, there’s enough room for the chickens not to have to fight all the time.
The Lohmann Brown chooks that we bought from City Chicks were $25 each, plus an extra $45 for delivery. That isn’t the cheapest price for layer hens, but we think it was well worth the extra cost to deal with a company who provides fabulous service and takes such loving care of their chickens. If you’re in Sydney and interested in having backyard chooks, John and Wendy’s contact details are on the business card below. City Chicks also has interstate branches which can be reached through their website.