Yes, we have more chooks!!!
I looked on the poultry breeders' site, found a breeder about 90 minutes away and after talking with her, Hanno suggested we have a day out. I packed a lunch of pumpernickel and Camembert sandwiches, two pears, water and black tea and 30 minutes later we were on the road.
Then it was onwards to our destination - a lovely little property set up as a Landcare refuge for wildlife. The lady there - also a Rhonda - was looking after her baby grandson who came with us in his stroller while we looked first at the older girls, then into the hatchery where we saw younger chooks. We chose 10! Two black Australorps, one buff Sussex, one New Hampshire, two silver Hamburgs, one golden Hamburg, one buff Orpington, one golden Campine and one Faverolles. I can't believe our luck to find all these different pure breeds in one place.
On the way home, we stopped at the Wivenhoe Dam. This is the dam that supplies most of the water for the city of Brisbane. We had a cup of tea here, and had another visit with a mother and baby Magpie.
Driving back into Esk, we stopped here to buy some chick starter and grain.
This is the view from the farm supply store door - out to the ranges and the Esk Post Office.
But here they are. Drum roll please!
These are the six larger girls. The two black Australorps and the buff Sussex (centre with black necklace) are the oldest, then the New Hampshire (red girl on the right); the two little silver Hamburgs are the youngest of the older girls.
My favourite so far - the buff Sussex.
Two of the four babies - at front is the buff Orphington with the little peach Faverolles. Behind them, in the shadows of evening are the golden Campine and the golden Hamburg.
And one last photo. I had to include this because it shows the true nature of the New Hampshire - the red girl on the left. Since we put her onto the ground that freshly mown grass had been added to, she's been busily looking for worms, eating little blades of grass and scratching around like she's been doing it for years. It's an amazing testament to the instinct of chooks to scratch and look for bugs - they know how to do these things that are good for them and keep them alive, they don't have to be shown it. So here she is, a chook on a mission, walking with purpose and determination wanting to get off that concrete and back to real earth.
Everyone is awake now, we've taken the dogs outside and checked on the new flock. They're all fine and happily eating the first of many breakfasts they'll have here at their new home. It feels good, and right, to have a good sized flock again. When we get the little chicks from Margaret we have around 20 chooks - enough for our needs and for eggs to sell.
Hanno will have a busy day or two extending the chook coop to accommodate the larger flock. I will be researching the food needs of the smaller chicks and making sure the babies are put into the sun today and onto the ground where they will scratch for the first time. These are the kind of chores that make living this life such a pleasure. We want to make sure our new girls live good lives and that they produce healthy eggs. If I were a 'real' poultry farmer, I might not worry too much beyond the care and health of my poultry but I want our chooks to enjoy their lives with us, I want to share the abundance our land can provide and I want to be mindful each day of the joy I will find in doing that.
This is the beginning of another chapter in our simple book. Today will be a good day.
So now I want your help naming our little ladies. There will be a Martha and Nora, and Kathleen wants to name two, so I've given her the golden Campine and Faverolles to name. I'm going to name the two Australorps after our two Australian princesses - Kylie and Mary. That leaves four other names. What will they be? You tell me. : - )
For all those ladies who asked about the tote bag swap deadline: The deadline for posting your shopping tote is Wednesday, April 2, 2008. Less than two weeks. Happy sewing, ladies.