Backyard Poultry – Beautiful Birds for Best Eggs

I don’t live on a farm, but we do have backyard poultry in the form of chickens, ducks and guinea fowl.  At the time of writing I have 23 in total. In no way could you refer to our property as farm-like as we have endeavoured to create park lands out of the jumble that was here.

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A work in progress.

We are proud of what we’ve achieved here at “Spring Waters”, but we still have a way to go.  The above picture shows you the overflow from the dam which for a lot of the year was nothing more than a muddy low lying area.  You can see the improvements I’ve made… just need to get some plantings done.

We bought most of our birds as young adults but hatched the guinea fowl from eggs we bought off a friend, using one of our persistent chickens who was determined to sit.  From here we received 7 guinea fowl and 1 duckling!

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Definition by Wikipedia on Poultryxxx

I documented the whole experience which you can take a moment to enjoy by clicking on the links below:

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Guinea Fowl
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How to Raise Guinea Fowl Keets
Care for Guinea Fowl Facts – Part 2
Care for Guinea Fowl Facts – Part 3
Guinea Fowl Facts – Prepare for Mating
Guinea Fowl Facts – Ups and Downs

2 weeks in comparison to 24 weeks

I call these little creatures my “watchdogs”… something they are extremely good at.  Anything that’s different from the norm will definitely be challenged by these brave birds.  Just a few moments ago, as I was writing this,  there was quite a commotion going on outside.  This means, I’d better check as there is something not quite right.  About 7 black cockatoos had landed in a dead tree that’s on the other side of our fence line.  Of-course, they weren’t being quiet about it neither, calling out as they do.  My birds went nuts!  Chortling loudly they were running around our lawn as a group.  You see, at times like this they join forces and become as one.  They kept it up until the cockatoos decided that it was way too much for them to cope with, and they flew away.  I found myself talking gently with the guinea fowl to let them know that all was well.  Gradually they quietened down.

It’s amazing to watch really… you can tell the birds are frightened but the way they answer their fright is to do their very best to drive off that which is causing them fear.  A strange dog in the lane way… run towards it with loud chortling, frightens the dog and it runs away. Large hawks or falcons circling overhead… look up at them and chortle loudly until they decide there’s a better place to find their dinner!

Meanwhile, the ducks and chickens will run for cover, while the guinea fowl go out and attend to the problem.  I sometimes wonder how much they have brought protection to the other birds.  Our next door neighbour told us she had lost all her chickens to the falcons.  Although the guinea fowl are a bit noisy, I think they are a wonderful addition.

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Ducks
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Ducks Swimming Pond

Here you can see how I virtually had to teach my ducks to swim in the waters of our dam.  Crazy I know, but there you have it!

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Love my ducks.  I  have 9 in total of all different colours.  They are such gentle creatures and although the first lot we bought had obviously not had much human contact and took some time in winning over, they all show their individuality.  Some have learned to trust me and eat out of my hand, or simply come right up to me to have a chat.  It would be wonderful to be able to understand their language a lot better than I do.  What are they really saying to me?  Never-the-less, we always end up having a great conversation!

The worst thing I’ve ever seen a duck do, and only to the guinea fowl, is knock them with their chest.  This only happens occasionally and it’s always to do with food.  All my birds get along famously, but can squabble a bit sometimes over food.  I always tell my birds that I expect them to live in peace and harmony and to cut their nonsense!

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Chickens
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Free Range Eggs vs Regular Eggs

The rooster with one of the hensI have 6 chooks (chickens) and 1 rooster.  All of them are great pets and fun to have around.  The rooster is magnificent.  He’s so lovely and gentle, totally accepting of the guinea fowl in general although he doesn’t like them eating anything he thinks “his girls” should have.  But he does nothing to harm them… just a peck.

Roosty is a complete gentleman and goes without many a tasty morsel to let the chooks eat it.  In fact, as he’s searching around and finds something, he calls to them to come and get it.  The guinea fowl soon learned the nature of his call and many times they come running too.

It’s the rooster’s job to look out for the chooks and his special alarm will cause them to instantly stop and usually look to the sky.  If he sounds it again they will often run for cover.  I saw a bird dive-bombing one of the chickens and Roosty came from no-where and flew up at the offending bird.  There was no more trouble.  The hens can relax knowing they are being watched over by the rooster and the guinea fowl.

Even the drakes often appreciate both the rooster and the guinea fowl.  Of-course it’s their job to look after their girls too, but it’s strange really because the drakes were given such a soft voice.  The ducks can call out extremely loudly if they want to, but the drakes don’t have this ability.  To me, it seems back to front.

My birds give me much joy and satisfaction as they free-range around our 3.5 acre property.  I am quite certain that they all appreciate the room they have to roam on.  We only have the normal farm fences which are about hip height… all of them are free to go if they so choose… but they don’t.  They are only locked up to sleep and they don’t mind that as it keeps them safe at night when they are at their most vulnerable.

As I write more information on my backyard poultry I will add the links to this page.   Feel free to leave a message below, whether it be a question or comment… all are welcome.  I will come back to answer you.

Warm regards,
Marilyn Williams shares her experience of the difference it made when she concentrated on building her health rather than trying to lose weight

 

 

Marilyn Williams

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