View Full Version : Ex-battery hens in Melbourne?
09-07-2011, 04:27 PM
We're just establishing a Linda Woodrow-type vegie garden, and are soon looking to get some chickens. The plan is that they would spend some of their time digging up our garden beds, and the rest of the time could wander around free range in the paddocks. We're in the process of arranging to get our local Safeway to give us some of the residual vegetables that they chuck out to feed them.
We were hoping that some of our chooks could be rescued ex-battery hens, and some not (we were thinking the latter could teach the former how to scratch and be chooks). Can anyone advise where one can rescue some ex-battery hens? We're in Monbulk (Dandenong Ranges), Victoria. Looks like Queensland has an active ex-battery hen adoption program, but from what I've read out on the internet, your best bet in Victoria is to go find a market where the battery farms are selling their chooks. I'm not at all sure how to find such a market, however.
Any ideas would be much appreciated!
09-07-2011, 08:49 PM
Hi Marta - I don't know the answer to your question, but I thought you might like to know that there is a group of us using the Woodrow system who post in a group called Mandala Town. If you go to the Community Tab and look under Groups you'll find us there. Plenty of accumulated wisdom to share.
09-07-2011, 08:50 PM
Thanks! I'll definitely check that out.
09-07-2011, 10:02 PM
What is the "Woodrow" system?
10-07-2011, 05:52 PM
It's a system of circular garden beds maintained by chickens in a chicken dome. I was browsing the internet a few months ago and came across this site which talked about it: http://www.small-farm-permaculture-and-sustainable-living.com/how_to_grow_vegetables.html. I then ordered the book, which is an excellent read!
10-07-2011, 07:56 PM
The book is the Permaculture Home Garden. The system she outlines is basically a fancy mandala with chooks that rotate between the beds held in a dome, fruit trees planted by each bed with fruiting times planned to coincide with the chooks so they get to eat the spoiled ones, and compost piles in between each bed. It's a great basic recipe for a beginner new to Permaculture. It was my introduction to it. She writes so elegantly and inspiringly that I couldn't put the book down and it has literally changed my life.
Purple Pear has a commercial sized system at his place using her plan.
Linda's blog is here. (http://witcheskitchen.com.au/)
23-07-2011, 08:12 AM
Hmm, thank you. I seem to be having a problem suddenly with my tractor. This might be our new solution.
09-09-2011, 08:36 PM
Hi Marta, Just curious how you went with thhis search. I'm currently looking at getting some chickens in Mooroolbark (not far from you) and thought about doing a rescue too. If you found anything of interest would you mind passing on your information. Kind regards, Melissa
13-09-2011, 07:57 AM
Must have been a time warp with this message, as I already replied to you by email :) Anyway, just for completeness (in case others are also wondering), we couldn't find any battery hens - there's a group in QLD which rescue chickens and put them up for adoption, but nothing similar here in Victoria. I think you need to basically do a drive around of the various poultry farms and see what you find, or attend the right farmer's market at the right time.
We just got our chooks next week, from a local free range farm in Macclesfield.
Good luck, and if you find anything yourself, please post for future reference!
18-09-2011, 08:35 PM
I think it's worth finding traditional breeds. My friend got some ex-battery highlines and they make me a bit sad: debeaked, not a clue what to do 'outside', really, really thick.
They sure do lay a lot though! I imagine after a few years they've exhausted themselves. I know commercial outfits dispose of their hens very young.
My mum had a light Sussex who laid she till keeled over when she was 12. I can't imagine a highline doing that.
It's also worth going for dual-purpose breeds, so when they're 'past it' you can make a nice soup...
18-09-2011, 10:03 PM
Three of the chooks we got are standard isas, and three are sussex, so maybe we'll get lucky like your mum! I have to confess that the other 3 are silkies. Doubt they fulfil your dual-purpose criteria (unless cuteness is considered a purpose :)).
19-09-2011, 06:50 AM
Silkies are the best mums of all. just don't get them wet: it's a tragic sight! All the banties I've met are really 'personable'/smart, which is great except they also tend to be talented escapologists...
I must remember than things have functions other than being my dinner!
19-09-2011, 10:36 AM
Cuteness is ABSOLUTELY a function. So is the reduction in blood pressure that happens when you cuddle a silky....
03-10-2011, 01:04 PM
I can't help with where to buy ex-battery hens in Vic, but I live in Perth and we bought some ex-farm chickens directly from a free range farm (which by the way, isn't as wonderful as we all imagine).
Our chickens were debeaked (the top beak was cut so that they had an under bight) they had no feathers from being pecked at and a whole heap of funny personality quirks. The guy picked them up by the foot and shoved them all into a wheat bag together to take home - I've never seen anything like it. They were quite funny little chooks with really interesting personalities and once they had been fed and cared for, grew back all their feathers and lasted for another good couple of years after we bought them. I really miss those girls.
If you want to buy ex-battery hens it's as simple as turning up to a farm. They get rid of hens very young - within the first year, so they are very happy to sell you a few for cash in hand.
28-04-2012, 09:04 PM
Hey everyone, Just thought i'd give an update on my search for battery hens in melbourne.
I did find a place in Coldstream (near Lilydale), Wagners Poultry, that sells their end of season (18 month old) hens for $3 each.
They've lived their lives in a cage so it's a great feeling to give these girls a second chance and for them to experience what a real life should be like.
That's all I get now, I don't even care if they don't give me eggs, but they do.
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