Share the delights of Christmas with a few well-chosen gifts for your trusty chooks.
Chooks love toys, they’re highly inquisitive and they love attention so here are few ideas to brighten their festive season – as well as yours!
A cabbage ball – Pierce the base of a cabbage with a big hook. Hang the cabbage at chook head height and let the kids spend holiday hours watching chooks play with a swinging treat.
Mealworms – These are commercially available online and chooks love them. They don’t stink, are clean to handle, can be kept over weeks in bran and are a great source of protein and living nutrients.
A Chook Tree – Chooks love to be off the ground, it’s a remnant of their dinosaur heritage. Installing a pole in their run with six or so staggered perches keeps them entertained for hours and helps them escape bossy roosters! A handy tip – to avoid digging, a star picket hammered into the ground well, to attach the upright pole onto, works just fine.
Shelter – Chooks can’t sweat. So a cool, breezy shelter is critical over Summer. A shade cloth ‘tent’ made with rope and pegged down is quick and effective. Ideally, their roost and nesting boxes are in a dark, cool place covered with a passionfruit or choko vine for insulation, especially on the hot western side.
Cool drinks – Chooks won’t drink warm water. Keep their water in shade and drop in frozen water bottles, rocks or bricks during extra hot days. If you use rocks in their water, bees can land and have a drink in the heat, too!
Love – Chooks are smart. They know and love you. Give them loving attention every day. Chirp at them, sing loudly, tell them about your day. They’ll talk back and offer the best advice – “if you can’t eat it, don’t bother!” or “Give me dust or give me food!”
Health care – Local product, Super Mash is an anti-parasitic tonic supplied by Natural Chicken Health. You make it into a wet mash each month and they love it! Super Mash cleans their gut, provides natural resistance to mites and fleas, probiotics and other goodies to keep them healthy on the inside.
Breed of the Month – Isa Brown
Originally created for egg production, the Isa Brown is not actually a breed but a brand, like Toyota or Samsung!
The Isa Brown is popular with backyard chicken keepers because she lays over 300 large brown eggs a year. But because her body works overtime to supply a bounty of eggs, she can lose vitality and experience health problems after a few years. As such, her lifespan is significantly reduced compared to other chook breeds, sad but true.
On the upside, apart from supplying your kitchen with an abundance of fantastic fresh eggs, Isa Browns are very friendly and make great family pets.
Isa Browns are considered a hardy bird, coping well with the elements. Rain, hail or shine, hot or cold, the Isa Brown will withstand it all like a champ!
Have a very merry and chookie Christmas!
Cheryl Nelson is the brains and heart behind Natural Chicken Health.