My girls have come. I have named them Milly, Molly and Mandy and can't tell them apart yet. They are Barnevelders and came from my good friends Eric and Clarissa from Permaculture Sydney West. They brought them to the grafting workshop at Harmony Farm, which I completely forgot to take photos of. (oops) One of them even laid an egg en route. My grandpa has given me some banding tags, so I think I'll have to resort to that until I know them better.
The girls are Barnevelders which is a Dutch breed which lays lovely brown eggs (supposed to be around 180 a year). One of them is double laced, the other two only single lacing, and they are gorgeous. They are not as tame as my last hens, but Frankie, the Isa Brown was hand reared so very tame. I'll work on them as the greens dwindle down taking food in and feeding them. They will come up to me if I stay in the coop for a while, but won't let me touch them much.
Chickens are a great (I think essential) part of a green home. They will pick over any meat and dairy scraps which are not compostible, and will convert kitchen scraps and garden waste into compost much quicker than my compost bin can. (although I still use a compost bin as well.) They process old and rotting fruit and produce wonderful fertiliser and eggs which are great to eat. I also use them as a chicken tractor, to clear a specific area after harvesting, and before planting the next crop.
The photo below is the chicken yard last Friday. I fixed it by putting the star picket at the right of the photo in the ground next to the broken side and then wiring the broken paling to the picket. It worked really well, Also made a loop to hold the gate shut. Very proud of my fixing. (Even my next door neighbour and his builder dad approved) He came over last night to ask if I had chooks, because two of them were in his yard. His cat wasn't sure what to make of them.
Note: In my experience cats are fine with chooks. The cats are generally not willing to risk being pecked and maintain a safe distance. Cats can actually be beneficial, I have heard of people installing a cattery around the chook yard to prevent dogs/foxes etc getting in. The chooks had flown into low tree braches to sleep (I think they only flew over the fence later in the afternoon to nest) and he picked them up and threw them back over. They were happily grazing this morning.
Today I bought anti chicken flying equipment. Basically a Trailer net. You can see the shelter and roost at the back (the chook yard continues around the side of the garage, it would really be wasted space otherwise) I think the chooks are getting onto the roof of the shelter and then going over the fence, so the trailer net will be attached to the gutter of the garage and the top of the fence to prevent them flying over the fence. Hopefully no more flying chickens