What a nice surprise to see on the Facebook page for Freehling Farms last night that they had a flock of 6 month old Australorp pullets looking for a home!
We were all ready for our hens to arrive next week. We had ordered red sex linked 4 month old pullets a month or so ago from the farm that were to be ready in May. Sex links are what we have always had. They are reliable egg machines – a cross between 2 egg laying breeds that results in all female chicks being either solid red or black, depending on the cross. These hens would have been hatched and raised elsewhere and would have had their beaks trimmed. This wasn’t our first choice, as we want these hens to free range, and having a stubby beak doesn’t help them with foraging (but does minimize pecking damage to other chickens when hens get bored.).
What were these Australorps? I did a quick search and found something that immediately sparked my interest – they were developed in Australia, making them bona fide “chooks” – the Aussie slang for chicken! It just seemed logical that we have Aussie birds! But would they be as friendly and reliable as what we were used to having?
After some quick reading and comparing, I was happy to see that yes – they are friendly, excellent layers (averaging 5 eggs per week, same as the sex links.) They do well in winter and are great foragers! And though they were a bit more money, they are 2 months older (they’ve consumed a lot of chicken feed in those 2 months, which accounts for some of the cost difference) and therefore are already laying! They also breed true should we ever want to introduce them to Mr. Australorp some day! The Livestock Conservancy classifies this heritage breed as “recovering.”
The girls were a bit nervous when they entered the chicken tractor. They crowded in the corner.
Have you ever watched chickens? They are so much like a group of ladies at a social event. And if you add in that these are “Australian ladies (AKA “chook sheilas),” I imagine that some of the conversations would be like this – accent and all!
Strewth girls, waddya think about these new digs?
Dunno, Madge, just can’t get me ‘ead around this green stuff!
Oh ya silly sheila, that’s grass! I ‘eard the new owners sayin they’d like us to eat it and some things called grubs and worms in it!
Eh, what’s that Gladys? Did you say eat – I’ll try just about anything once anyway!
Oy everyone, dja notice that Bev dropped an egg in the corner?
Bev, watya doin?
Oops, sorry all, just couldn’t ‘elp meself with all the excitement and such going on.
Maybe if we all sidle away they won’t notice!
Bugga! It kind of stands out don’t it?
If anyone else feels the urge, why don’t we jump up and use those brown boxes up there? At least it will be a bit more discreet!
Bev – no more social faux pas’ like that. And Madge – stop ya bloody scratching OK?
Well I nivva! Who made you the bloody queen of the hill, Gladys?!
And so the conversation keeps going! I’m sure we’ll be able to eaves-drop on a few more conversations in the future. We’ll report on that soon.