How much for a good chook?

Happy chook. Photo by K Dredge.

It looks like we’re running a retirement home for old chooks. Our four hens are a motley bunch of geriatrics. We have three brown shavers I bought as pullets some years ago and one beautiful big hen of indeterminate parentage given to us by a workmate. When you don’t know any better, you’re likely to think, ‘What a nice person to give us one of their chooks.’ But here’s the thing. A good chook is like gold. You wouldn’t give it away for anything. I really should have been suspicious but, never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I was happy to accept her.
My pullets cost me $20 each including delivery and after all these years the remnants are still giving us good eggs; mostly when they feel like it and not all at the same time but good eggs nonetheless and usually enough to keep us going. Mind you, they are easily discouraged these days. They won’t lay if it’s too cold or too hot or too wet or too dry or they don’t like the food or the dog or the neighbours kids. And then I actually think they lay as a tag team. One lays today and, tag, it’s your turn tomorrow. And then all of a sudden, woohoo, three eggs today.
The free chook has been nothing but trouble from day one. First, the others didn’t like her. Now I know that a new girl in the flock is likely to take a while to be accepted, but I suspect this was more because she was so much bigger and better looking than anyone else. Then, she didn’t lay a single egg for the first six months but took every opportunity to get clucky and claim the other eggs as her own. And when she finally did start to lay, her four or five eggs a month turned out to be very, very small. Not much bigger than a bantam’s. All show and no substance that chook. And she still gets clucky.
So I have learnt to never, never, never accept a free chook, from anyone. In fact, if I’m offered one, I run a mile.

One comment

  1. Haha. I went one better and accepted a free rooster. Total madness but I didn’t know. He became so protective of his flock he went for me whenever I entered the hen house. His spurs terrified me. We ended up getting someone to kill him but unfortunately they insisted that we invite them for dinner to eat him. He was as tough as old rope and the flesh colour put us right off. I’m enjoying reading your experiences – bringing back memories for me.


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