Keeping a few hens in the backyard has become popular. They make great pets and the eggs they produce are an added bonus.
Nic and Maria Stolwyk of Eureka Poultry Farm raise hens from day-old chicks, selling them as pullets (around 10 to 18 weeks old) to people keen to have hens and enjoy fresh eggs each day.
“You can have any colour hen you want so long as it’s brown,” says Nic, who is happy to give advice and guidance about keeping hens for the first time.
The couple, who have been farming for 30 years on their registered poultry farm, say hens are social creatures and people should have at least two, so they will be content together.
The Brown Hy-Line chickens are known for their reliable laying ability so they are ideal for backyard coops, farms and free-range situations. Their docile nature make them excellent pets for children young and old. Nic says a well-fenced, secure chicken house is needed to protect the hens from predators. Nesting boxes should be filled with either wood shavings (un-treated), straw or hay. The floor of the chicken house should drain freely and be kept clean and dry, and there must always be dry areas for roosting. The hens must have access to fresh water and a shaded area is important during summer. Cover the floor with wood-shavings for ease of cleaning, and for the birds to scratch and forage in.
“Good quality feed is also essential for great production and access to grass and vegie scraps, including spinach and pumpkin, are a bonus, but beware of rhubarb leaves and green potatoes as these are poisonous to them.”
Eureka Poultry Farm is located at Hooper Rd, Eureka off SH26. Bookings are welcome on 07 824 1762.