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Backyard Chooks in Canberra

By Kristielee 13 April 2010 21

Hi all,

I am thinking of getting a few chooks for egg production and composting.

I live on a small block in Canberra and have called Canberra Connect and RSPCA but have not been able to find much information on raising egg laying chooks in small urban backyards.

Any advice, personal stories or links to physical or online resources for further information re sizing of coops, regulations, distances required from houses/fencelines, types of chickens most suitable for the extreme Canberra environment etc would be most appreciated.


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21 Responses to
Backyard Chooks in Canberra
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Patellario 10:43 am 13 Oct 14

Hi Kristielee. I’m guessing by now you would have had some help with setting up your chicks in your backyard. I have had two chickens since December. We got them as 6 day old chicks and it has been amazing watching them fro. They started laying early June and laid an egg each all through winter. We just love them. Their names: Fluffy and Cupcake. I posted a video of them every week until they started laying. Now they Re really big and beautiful.
If you would like to chat about them I would love to
Patellario. I have only just registered with Riotact today.

speckledhen 9:54 pm 02 May 11

Hi, if you haven’t had any luck as yet, or even if you have – this is my site –

I found that ‘hole in the market’ as well, and hopefully can help Canberra folk with their backyard chook needs. Cheers, Michelle 🙂

Snakeman 4:35 pm 07 Sep 10

Ah Pommy Bastard, you should have read the Bible and you’d know where to get everything.
“Talking snakes” are dirt common in the garden of Eden. Recall, Eve getting sold a dodgy crate of Apples in Genesis?
And even hard drugs, get them in the Bible too!
Recall Moses and the two tablets he scored behind the burning bush on the mountain!
Anyway, I think Tony Abbott’s calling the “Independents” talking snakes now that he’s lost the PM’s job, so maybe you’ll even get one in Canberra.
All the best

Pommy bastard 3:16 pm 07 Sep 10

Snakeman said :

Talking snakes that are sometimes attracted by chickens.

Wow, I’ve never seen a talking snake, where do I get one?

Snakeman 2:57 pm 07 Sep 10

Talking snakes that are sometimes attracted by chickens. mice and the like, the main deal in Canberra are brown snakes, which are deadly to humans.
As a snake catcher, it’s not even the mice that’s the issue, but rather the provision of habitat, such as spare bits of tin on the ground and the like.
better to remove this sort of thing.
Also there are several snake catchers around, so it’s worth having numbers handy if you need one, but remember they will usually charge to have the snakes removed and relocated in bush a long way away.
All the best

Eucalyptus56 2:31 pm 21 May 10

Hi there

I am a new chicken owner, although it’s been 9 months now. I did a lot of reading about and talking to people who own chooks and then built a chicken run in the back with the help of a kindly neighbour – took all winter, working every weekend…I had a hen house built by Uncle Joe from hall markets and it sits about 3 foot above the ground. A friends husband made a cute ladder for them to get into the hen house. The entire coop area is covered with chicken wire (smallest grade, with a lockable door. The henhouse is locked once the girls go to bed and then I lock the coop also. The small grade chicken wire keeps out all birds, even tiny sparrows, so that cuts down the risk of lice, it also keeps out creepy crawlies..I am sure there may be some mice around, but they are there whether or not you have chooks. Once the girls go to bed I also cover their feed container which hangs about 25 cm above the ground, this also discourages mice etc as they can’t get to the feed. I have a deep litter system in the coop, a mix of straw and lucerne which gets cleaned out every few months once the girls have ground it down to fine mulch…each evening when I lock the girls up for the night, I give this mix a bit of a rake over so all is fresh for the morning. Each morning or afternoon – depending on if I have time before going to work, I clean out the poop in the hen house from the previous night. all in all it’s not much work, literally minutes a day. My girls I had delivered from Barter and Sons Hatchery in NSW. I cannot recommend them highly enough. They are extremely helpful as I was a total no nothing about chickens persons before I started. I know consider myself quite knowledgeable!…I also put 2 capfuls of organic apple cider vinegar and i peeled clove of garlic in their water containers as this is my natural worming treatment. The garlic clove is good for quite a few weeks before you need to replace no, the eggs do not smell/taste of garlic. Irecommend the book – Backyard Chickens naturally by I think it is Alanna Moore.

OldRooster 3:00 pm 14 Apr 10

I have chooks for sale, roosters $10 – layers $20 delivered anywhere Canberra area

Grunta 6:18 pm 13 Apr 10

Protect your bird from ignorant cat owners as well. Well their cats 🙂 I’ve lost one to a local cat out for a midnight walk without its owner. Managed to snag one of my birds through the cage. I almost caught it (that is one of its lives gone… Lucky thing).

threepaws 5:04 pm 13 Apr 10

The RSPCA provided me with this information from the CSIRO when I enquired about backyard chooks I also fopund the staff in their wildlife clinic to be very helpful (they often get chickens through there)

smeeagain 3:29 pm 13 Apr 10

Code of practice for the welfare of captive birds

prhhcd 3:17 pm 13 Apr 10

uncle Joe’s runs are awesome! have never looked back from getting my own chikkies. They are lovely! (and laying well too)

MsCheeky 2:52 pm 13 Apr 10

There are various regulations about distance from dwellings, type of flooring etc, this may be a good place to start:

I never really used to eat eggs until I kept chooks, now I love them. There is no comparison between fresh and store-bought. I keep two chickens, bought on point-of-lay from the stockfeed place in Fyshwick. They’re Isa Brown crosses. I get two eggs a day. I feed them scraps and scratch mix, and let them free-range around the garden as often as I can, and otherwise pen them in a very large space about 50sq metres, and they sleep in a hutch at night. I couldn’t be happier.

Thumper 2:21 pm 13 Apr 10

Make sure your chooks have a wire roof on their pen. The crafty little foxes will climb straight over a fence, no matter how high.

emd 2:04 pm 13 Apr 10

We have a couple of killer attack chooks in our backyard. There a guy called Joe who makes mobile chook runs – Google him. They’re fully enclosed, have all the water and feed containers included, and can easily be moved around the back yard. So your chooks get a different patch of grass to walk on every day, and your back yard slowly gets fertilised by the chooks.

One thing to watch: Don’t keep their grain feeder overfull in summer. It will attract mice, which in turn attracts snakes.

CHW 1:38 pm 13 Apr 10

I second Snarky’s advice… the foxes get around in the stormwater systems, I think, as well as using all those walkways and green belts.

Also – you need to make sure the run is secured well enough to prevent big dogs from breaking in; I had a couple of AWOL huskies using my yard regularly as a ‘drive through’ snack bar about five years ago. Until the huskies took on the Lowline calves about five km away and were shot by the farmer, that is.

Powells Stockfeeds in Phillip have fabulous Mt Isa chooks – I had one lay an egg a day for five months straight; then she moulted for a month, and started laying an egg a day except once a week she would lay TWO.

Apart from that, if you only want one chook you could partner it with a rabbit.

This way, your chook is not lonely, does not have to put with a pecking order, the rabbit consumes all those garden weeds, and they both make fantastic (not for native plants,though) mulch out of the bale of hay you chuck in for them to waddle around on.

astrojax 1:38 pm 13 Apr 10

my backfence neighbour recently lost her half dozen chooks to wily foxes – so securing their pen is critical. good luck!

Jerry Atric 10:33 am 13 Apr 10

Buy point of lay chooks (NOT a rooster) 4 at most. If you want to spend the money, get a portable hen run which acts as a green feeder and fertiliser on your back garden, I have seen them at the Hall markets. Otherwise they will need a secure run (if the fence is not high enough you may need to clip new hens wings (not painful but requires one to hold and on to clip about 2 inches off the feathers on one wing. They soon realise that they cannot fly well and although the wings grow back, they never seem try again. You will need a weather proof shed with a pole to roost on and nesting boxes. You may have to teach them for a few nights how and where to roost. Feed them on a scratch mix available from rural suppliers and kitchen scraps and lawn clippings. Make sure they have plenty of fresh water. In summer put fly traps around the run. DON’T LET them run free in the yard if you have plants you treasure. They will make bee line for them and destroy them.

The eggs you eat will be delicious and VERY FRESH. The Roman Emperors feasted on same day laid eggs which were called “golden”. Chooks are not cheap, but once you try the eggs you will never want to eggs acaged egg again.

Snarky 10:22 am 13 Apr 10

If you go ahead with chooks make sure you use a fully enclosed run, or at least a shed where they can be locked in securely at night, every night. Canberra is rife with foxes in all the suburbs. We lost our 3 all in one night because we didn’t have them locked up. Didn’t hear a thing – just came out to a pile of feathers the next morning.


Feathergirl 9:34 am 13 Apr 10

I haven’t got the booklet on me but I recently picked up a School Holidays happinings type booklet at the library. Wow, it had heaps of stuff for school kids to do!! But anyway, one of the adverts was a lady who was offering a clutch of eggs and equipment to raise them – so kids can watch chickens hatch, feed them etc. Then after two weeks you can choose to give the chickens back or keep them. I would think this would be a good start, with someone to guide you and advise. Duck into your local library and check out the booklet, it’s only a small ad.

dr. faustus 9:24 am 13 Apr 10

There seems to be a thriving backyard poultry scene in Canberra. We have six happy chooks in the backyard of our small block in the suburban inner south of Canberra, and know quite a few others in similar situations, although mrs faustus is the expert in our household, not I.

Mrs faustus spends a lot of time on the Backyard Poultry Forum, which seems to have a fair number of Canberrans on it, and quickly recommends it to anyone interested in having chooks in Canberra. I’ve no doubt some of the local chook fanciers are also here on the RiotACT, but if you don’t find the answers you’re after, check out the Backyard Poultry Forum.

(This is only a plug in that I’m aware it’s considered a useful resource – I don’t have any personal interest in the site. Hope this doesn’t come across as spammy!)

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