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‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’. Luke 23:46
Issue 1, April 2011, Highlights:
Perfect Pets - Household Hens
Perfect Pets – Household Hens
By Nicola Kalmar
Broome Pet’s Place owner Ute Bommel has been looking after chickens for over 12 years, and knows a thing or two about her feathery friends.
“It’s good to buy them when they’re a few days old, so they get attached to you quickly,” she says.
Given the Kimberley’s tropical climate, Ute says it’s important to look after the chooks carefully.
“During their first few weeks, they need to be kept indoors in a safe, sheltered box,” she says. After that, the chickens can be moved outdoors into a chicken pen, which requires a secure mesh and shade cloth to protect them from heat and predators.
Leaves, or straw, provide ideal bedding for the chickens. During this stage, it is important to monitor their diet.
“You start them off on special food, special chicken crumbs for the first six weeks, and change to soft pellets as they develop,” Ute explains. At around three months old, grains and vitamins can be added to offer a healthy and varied diet. Chooks start to lay eggs at an early age, and grow quite quickly during the first eighteen months. Ute says the biggest rewards of having a chicken for a pet is their intelligent and gentle nature.
“They make really good pets. They are clever, and if you handle them daily, they will follow you around and respond to your voice,” she says. Chickens are generally happiest when in company, and for that reason, Ute advises that chooks are bought as a pair. They are also great value for money, and live for around five years. Ute says the benefits of choosing a pet chook suits families who are unable to commit to having long term pets such as cats and dogs