Big day out

21 March 2008
Thank you all for your care and concern after my post yesterday. The nurturing power of family and friends really helped me get over the previous day and after an outing with Hanno yesterday, I feel on top of it all again. It's the little things that make the greatest difference. Hanno giving me a little kiss and saying: 'I'm glad you're here.', my sister Trisha gently reminding me of our mother when she wrote in an email yesterday (after reading the blog) to 'take care of yourself', my other sister Kathleen telling me 'I feel like I haven’t seen you for years.' Then all your kind comments and emails expressing concern and love. I am a lucky woman.

And I'm feeling fine this morning.

After writing in my previous post that I would be shutting the gates and cocooning myself inside, this sentence in the same post might give you a hint about what Hanno and I actually did yesterday. 'I might also look around for some pullets or young hens - we are down to three chooks and need more to supply our eggs.'

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.

We stopped on the side of the road, at a small picnic spot, for lunch. The photo above is looking out over the plains of the Brisbane Valley, just north of the little town of Esk. We shared our sandwiches there with a family of Magpies - mum, dad and baby. (Clicking on the photos will enlarge them.)

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.

Then we whisked past pretty little cottages that have been turned into restaurants, on to a farm where we picked up a bale of hay for $2, and made the promise to come back soon for more. Our straw, hay and sugar cane mulch prices here have been sky high because of the drought and we haven't been able to buy our usual 10 bales for the year. When we got home, we made arrangements with my step-son, Jens, to drive out in his tray-back soon to collect as much as we can fit in - both for us and him.

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.

The Australorps - these are an Australian breed of chicken.

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.


  1. Rhonda:

    here in the UK, people name their chooks after their relatives...sisters, maiden aunts, cousins, etc or even female work colleagues They also consider the chook's personality to match their relation/workmate ;-)

    In case that gets you into trouble, you have my permission if you'd like to name a chook after me--Anna Marie

    Have fun with your flock!


    Anna Marie

  2. Hi Rhonda, Beautiful chooks. I just love the pure breeds, those K2 egg layers just don't do it for me, and the kids call them ugly chooks. I think that Isabella, a good chooky name, our past chooks, have all been named by the children after much loved school teachers, theres been Amy, Shirly, Lisa, Fran, and Mrs M.
    Blessing for Easter. Jacky

  3. Hi Rhonda, I love your new chickens. They're so cute!
    I'm happy for you that you had a great day! If you're like me, I can be having such a bad day inside the house, I can drag up a chair and go outside to watch my chickens and something how it cheers me up! Ohhhhh, yesterday I discovered my little banty hen a wyandotte is setting! Sooooo hopefully she'll hatch us off some new little babies. She sure is mean now so maybe that's a good sign she'll really protect her eggs and hopefully her baby chicks. Only thing is she's in the fenced in area with my big Maran hens, this morning I went out there and two had ran her off her nest to have their eggs. Thankfully last night I had my husband mark the eggs we wanted to keep under her with a permanent marker so I know what to leave and what to remove.
    Ohhhh this past weekend at a flea market I ended up getting a trio of Mille Fluers, they're so pretty!
    Have fun with your new chickens!

  4. Not sure why, but Beatrice comes to mind. I'm also thinking of Emma, Penelope, Madeline, Lilly.

    They seem like they are quite at home!

  5. I think the names sound quite proper for ladies. :)

  6. Hi Rhonda, the chickens are lovely, I'm very jealous. Have a lovely Easter and enjoy the new additions to the family.

  7. What lovely new girls Rhonda. I'm glad to hear that you have a yard full of chooks again.

    I've just come in from taking our 7 babies (week old Rhode Island Reds) out for a run on the grass while I checked the garden. I watched them flap their new wings, and chase my daughter around the grass while she stared at them in wonder.

    It just doesn't get any better than this!

  8. Hi Rhonda,

    I would like to suggest Eva or Maria for the Hamburgs.I,m being very prejudiced as these where my Mother's names. She came from Germany, although much further down, so I thought they might fit in with the background. Or perhaps Lisel or Lotte. My dream name when I was a kid was to combine the two names into Lisalotte.

    I also wanted to ask when our swap bags should be completed by as I am likely to put off the making until I have a deadline.

    Thankyou. I enjoy your blog very much. Cherrie

  9. Hi Rhonda, love the new chooks! Soooo many of them now! WOW! You have your hands full! I only have 2 and that is plenty! My girls are Lucy and Ethel. I tend to name my animals with human names as opposed to say, "nutkins", "pumpkin", "gizmo" and the like. For your chooks I am thinking something like Daisy, Stella, Bella, Sophie and so on! Good luck with them! They sure are pretty!

  10. Emerging from lurkdom to suggest hen names. I once met a hen named Mehitabel and have always thought that a good chook name.
    Also, if you find one has a bit of an attitude problem, there's always Attila the Hen.

    I enjoy reading your blog.

  11. Hi Rhonda

    I had two pet chooks as a girl - Mrs Hen and Henny Penny (who won first prize at my school pet day)

    Love your blog :)

  12. Hi Rhonda - After seeing that cute photo of the New Hampshire, I just have to suggest Anne Shirley after the title character in Anne of Green Gables. The red coloring reminds me of Anne's hair and that purposeful walk reminds me of her nature. Have fun with your flock. I live vicariously through your blog reading about your chickens. They are illegal here in our town :-(


  13. I really enjoyed this post very much and it did take me back to visiting my grandparents farm as a girl. They had some chickens, sheep and goats besides the vegetable gardening. I offer the name Mina, my grandmothers. I wish you the best of luck with the new ladies and babies.

  14. Rhonda, I'm so pleased you have more chooks. I agree with Lorisdoris that the redhead looks like an Anne Shirley type - she's really stepping it out there! I look forward to reading about their progress. I'm another who enjoys chooks through your blog though I have lots of memories of the chooks my father kept when I was a child.
    Glad to hear you're feeling better too.

  15. You are making me so jealous, I want some chickens.

    Before we moved here I had a few gorgeous bantams. I nemed ours after the characters in the Swallows and Amazons books, first we had Nancy and Peggy, later we got Susan. With Susan I was unable to catch her, she'd run away, but when I got chicks for the girls to look after, the other 2 turned on her and she started sleeping in a bucket by the back door. One day as I was playing with my daughter and her doll's house, Susan climbed through the window of the dollshouse and plonked herself in my lap. Such a wonderful memory.

    I had to give my girls away when I moved.

    As for names, I'd probably go for names from Jane Austin's books, Elizabath, Jane, Mrs Bennet, Anne etc.

    Glad you are feeling better than yesterday.

    take care

  16. Oh your chickens are so pretty! I can't wait to get my flock going again this spring -- probably late April. I alway have a Gertrude, a Sylvia, and a Betty in my flock. Have fun and happy Easter!


  17. Hi Rhonda Jean,

    So beautiful! How I wish I could keep some chickens, but unfortunately my township does not allow the keeping of chickens. Hopefully sometime in the future. If I did have some though, 4 names I like are Delilah, Willa, Charlotte & Guenevere.

    Happy Naming!

  18. Ohh what fun. . . Henny and Penny, Fluffy and Muffy, Bertha, Daisy, Jewell, Maggie, Molly, Munchkin, Mabel, Gracie, Ginny, Jessie, and Josephine (or Jo); Betty, Blondie, Babs, Alma, Edna, Eulinda, or Chicken Little.

  19. schwester Rhonda
    Thank you. With pleasure I announce
    the little campine - Beatrice and the blonde faverolle - Heather to join Kylie, Mary, Stella into hen royalty.
    I have seen the hen palace many times -handbuilt by Hanno. It is as big as a summer french mansion in a beautiful spot in the garden. prrrkk cluck-cluck happiness.

  20. To balance the Australian princesses: what about a Germaine or Germs, Gabi, Vida, Cathy, Dame Edna and Margaret.

    Germaine Greer,Gabi Hollows, Vida Lahey, Cathy Freeman and Margaret Olley).

  21. Oops forget to sign my name to above post suggesting Germaine, Germs, Gabi, Vida, Cathy, Dame Edna or Edna and Margaret!!

    Ah, now I see that you have a Heather...oh dear, watch out for that one she is feisty and may cause a little ruckus in the hen house :)


  22. I've been to the Wivenhoe dam before! thanks for the memories Rhonda.
    I think Maggie is a good name for a chook :) But I am bias to the name I admit.

  23. Yoohoo!! My sister Kathleen commented for the first time. I know both my sisters read my blog but this is the first comment. Now we'll have to wait for Tricia to make herself known.

    Thank you for the names, Kathleen. I have names for all the girls now. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I'll post the list of names tomorrow.

  24. Yay! What beautiful girls! I very much approve of the names too!

    I reckon their names just come - though sometimes it takes a while.

    I like all the old fashioned names - in the past there has been Iris, Clarice, Edna, Beverley, Betty and Beatrice.

    Have fun with the naming Rhonda!

    love Duckie

  25. Glad you had a fun day out Rhonda Jean. Love all your different chook varieties. Don't have any name suggestions as we've never named any of our chooks. Thank you for putting up your pics. We lived in Esk about 25 years ago but are now in North Queensland. We went to church in the white CWA building in your Feed Shed pic. Enjoy your poultry.

  26. I would like to have chooks again. Some years ago we've had Barnevelders, Australorps and New Hampshires. The last ones were my favorites. If I had New Hampshires again, I would name one Indian and the other Summer. Because they have the colors of indian summer in the US. And also the colors of the place they originally came from.
    Greetz Annikka

  27. My brother also has chooks,and he gave them oldfashioned Dutch names, such as Bep, Toos and Truus.

  28. Here are some of my favorite names Rhonda, Bella Blue, Savannah, Aruora, Feiona, Natasha. These are just a few I hope you like one of them too. Glad you are feeling better.
    Sincerely Pam Watts

  29. Mary's our princess, too, you know! :-) How about Isabella after the new little princess?

  30. Congratulations on your new chickens!

  31. Good chicken names? Jemima, Susannah, Beatrice, Agatha...don't ask me why...they just sound like happy hen names to me :)

  32. Hi Rhonda,

    Congrats to the new additons to your flock. I don't have any chickens but I may have to look into getting some. I can only think of three names. ( Hope, Faith, and Joy ) Have a great day! Tina

  33. I am so jealous of your beautiful girls. Our back garden isn't big enough for chooks. Growing up we always had chooks, my job to collect the eggs and shut up for the night.

    When my darling daughter moves into their new home I am going to keep chooks by proxy.

    We also had a Beatrice.


  34. That's a nice set of chick breeds you have. Our two chickens don't seem like very many, but you have the space for them and a big coop.

    Bock bock.


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