earlier post that the combination of free range hens and dogs wasn’t working. We needed a hero. My wife found him on TradeMe, the New Zealand equivalent of eBay. We picked up our Moa rooster from some farmers in Carterton. He was an impressive animal. Tall and intimidating looking, but supposedly good natured. We bought a few hens as well from the same place.
Well! What a change! He very quickly took control of the wayward hens. Within minutes he was strutting around all full of bluff and bluster like a Fijian military dictator. Bossing the hens around. Telling them off whenever they looked like they were going to fly over the stream.
Well, that solved the problem of the terrier eating the chickens. She knew she wasn’t meant to eat them, really, but there was no way she was going to take on that rooster. All was idyllic on the farm once more. For a while.
Then we started realising what happens when chickens love each other very much and get married – as our then 6-year old daughter put it. They make chicken babies, or rather, fertilised eggs. It became a kind of egg-roulette, trying to determine which eggs had blood specks (or worse) in them. I came downstairs more than once to find my wife retching over the remnants of a half-formed baby chicken in the frying pan.
Then we figured out that we had to collect the eggs twice a day. That way the broody chickens didn’t get a chance to keep them warm, which allows the fertilised eggs to grow into something else.
The next development came when we discovered that one of our very expensive lavender (actually more grey than lavender) Araucana chickens had craftily laid a clutch (that’s an official word for “a bunch”) of eggs. She laid them under one of the trees in the orchard, hidden in the long grass. The eggs were a nice blue-green colour. But how long had they been there? Did we really want to play another game of egg roulette?
So we let her hatch them… But that’s another post.