Whether it’s about fresh eggs, the gentle sound of clucking or supporting the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), a connection with our feathered friends can be full of joy but also present the occasional hiccup, as Bedrock Journalist Suzanne Kowalski-Roth discovers.
There are many possibilities when it comes to keeping chickens. The key to success is to work out what purpose the chickens will have and how it will be embedded in the life of your service for the greatest chance of success.
Choosing the right breed for the early childhood setting is important, Margaret Carey, Co-Director of Clovelly Child Care Centre said. The Centre has kept five to six chickens for the last 10 years.
“We usually have Isa Browns as they are reputed for their high egg laying ability and their general friendliness, which we thought was essential for the role that they play in an early childhood setting. We have taken in some chickens that were given to us and at the moment we have a couple of beautiful black hens,” she said.
Husbandry highs and lows
Permaculturalist Nevin Sweeney and his wife Linda have been keeping chickens for over 30 years in their Sydney suburban block in St Clair. Nevin runs workshops for Parramatta Council on keeping chickens and has encountered many of the highs and lows of chicken husbandry.
Nevin and Linda have kept a variety of breeds and he recommends Rhode Island Reds, Australorps and Barter Blacks for keeping as they’re not flighty and they’re hardy. He says cross breeds produce lots of eggs at the start of their lives while pure breeds have a more even egg production over a longer period.