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Alyson Hill Chooks in the CityChook lovers or wanna-be chook owners can find out all the answers on chicken ownership in the ‘Chooks in the City’ book by Alyson Hill.

Even better if you would like to go and discuss with Alyson in person there is an open garden session on chooks in Red Hill, Canberra on Saturday 17 March as part of the Open Garden Scheme.

Alyson (the author of Chooks in the City) and Teresa Zarlenga (owner of the garden) will be on hand to answer any questions you may have on chook keeping.

On another note, we finally have all three of our chooks laying…happy days!


Chicken egg in egg cup

Finally something to write about! After five months of watching our chickens grow, from new hatchlings through to adolescent chooks and after weeks of expectant waiting, my son discovered the first egg today.

Although a little on the small side we were nonetheless ecstatic and hope it will be start of a long and productive output of home laid eggs.

Now hopefully I will also recover from my “chicken envy” as friends who had adopted chickens from the same batch were already getting eggs weeks ago!

Please let me know if you have any tips for keeping chooks on the lay, because we will be sadly disappointed if there are not more eggs to follow.

Well what a thrill; yesterday the ‘Hatching Chicks’ arrived – the incubator contained 10 eggs.

One or two of the eggs already had a slight crack and within two hours of arriving the first egg had hatched.

The kids, and myself, were beside ourselves with excitement.  All that was missing was the popcorn, as this was 100% better than watching a movie!

Here are some of the “action” shots.

Source: Simon Howden /

Backyard chooks appear to be making a comeback in Australia.

Certainly suburban Canberra lends itself to this pursuit, with the average backyard still big enough to fit a couple of free ranging hens. Personally, I am plotting my own foray into the world of chook ownership and have been amazed at the range of chicken related businesses around.

My grand plan is to start with an egg incubator so that our kids can see the chickens as they hatch. In the meantime, we will also need to do a bit of reconfiguration in our backyard to fit in a chicken coop. At my current rate of organisation I’ll be ready by this time next year!

Some reasons to try chook ownership include:

  • they are productive pets (i.e. they produce eggs)
  • they can get rid of grubs and add free fertiliser to your backyard
  • they eat your food scraps and
  • can help children understand in a practical way where their food (particularly eggs and chicken meat!) comes from.

For those who are a step or two ahead of me in taking on the chook ownership challenge, here are some businesses that can give you a hand.

Canberra Chooks  – Canberra

Chicks in the City  – Canberra and surrounds

City Chicks  – Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne

Hatching Chicks – Canberra

Rentachook – Sydney and surrounds, will ship to anywhere in Australia (for a small fee!)

And for all you ever wanted to know about keeping chickens see the Keeping Chickens Blogspot.