Tag Archives: chicken

Getting started in chickens

australorp

I’ve been doing some research on keeping chickens in our backyard. We are allowed six fowls according to the Brisbane City Council:

Household premises with a total area of more than 800 square metres can keep up to 20 fowl, including ducks, geese and peacocks without a permit.

If your residential premises has a total area less than 800 square metres you can keep up to six fowl.

Poultry sheds must be set back at least one metre from a dividing fence.

I’m pretty sure we will just keep chickens as Matt says ducks and geese are really messy. I was expecting to see something in the law about not allowing roosters.

I’m tossing up between Australorps which Jackie French raves about – they are good layers and make good eating. They are docile, great mothers and are good if you have children. Better yet, they are an Australian breed so they are adjusted to our climate. Silkies will leave your vegetable beds alone and make excellent pets for kids. They are placid and tolerate being handled. We eventually decided on three Australorps, so that we’ll have enough eggs for ourselves and some extra to sell or give away.

You’ll need:

  • chook house, which includes weatherproof shelter and a perch
  • nest and laying box
  • dummy egg
  • organic feed, eg from Country Heritage Feeds
  • water
  • shell grit and dirt

Jackie French suggests growing the following plants for chooks:

  • Amaranth
  • Avocado trees
  • Carob
  • Chilacayote melons
  • Fruit trees
  • Grains and maize
  • Nuts
  • Potatoes (cooked)
  • Quinoa
  • Sunflowers
  • Tree lucerne
  • as well as sweet potato, pumpkin, arrowroot, chestnuts, honey locust, taro, yams, kumara, jerusalem artichoke, and chokos.

Others have suggested comfrey and herbs to repel lice and intestinal worms, including feverfew, tansy, rue and wormwood. It’s ideal to plant these around the chook house.

Chickens

Chicken coops

Chicken accessories

Books

  • Backyard Poultry Naturally – Alanna Moore
  • Chook Book – Jackie French (excellent)
  • Healthy Free Range hens – Neil Christensen
  • How to Care for Your Poultry – New Zealand Lifestyle Block
  • Keeping Chickens – An Australian Guide

Resources

Battery Hen Adoption Project

The Battery Hen Adoption Project was started to give battery hens a second chance at life. We look for long term loving homes where the hens can live a happy life after being in a battery cage. They very quickly adjust to life outside a cage and start acting like ‘normal’ chickens within a day.

The hens will continue to lay for many years which in turn provides the adoptive family healthier free range eggs that have been produced without causing suffering to others. If you feed your hens kitchen scraps you are also reducing land fill. Matured chicken manure is a great fertilizer for the garden.  Chickens make wonderful companion animals, as they are very social and intelligent creatures.

The hens are bought from a battery farm just prior to when they would have been slaughtered. The hens are around eighteen months old. We buy as many hens as we have homes for. We ask for a donation which goes towards the cost of purchasing the hens from the farm, transport cost, vet bills, feed and bedding as well as ongoing admin costs such as telephone and printing.

Homes for Hens is based in Brisbane, Queensland and can sometimes help with transport to other areas, including the country.

If you are interested in adopting a chicken, email homesforhens@hotmail.com.You will be added to the list of adopters and be contacted in a few weeks before we confirm you are still able to take hens.

Basic healing stock

healing-stock

Here’s my basic healing stock recipe (aka bone broth). I’ve keep the list of ingredients simple so that if you are on an elimination diet you can add or subtract as needed. It’s best to prepare this recipe when you are going to be home all day. The longer you simmer the bones the more nutritious your end result will be.

Meat stock aids digestion and has been know for centuries as a healing folk remedy for the digestive tract. Also homemade meat stock is extremely nourishing; it is full of minerals, vitamins, amino-acids and various other nutrients in a very bio-available form.
- Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride

It is also best to use organic bones as they will have more nutrients. The best bones to use are soup, shank, ribs, marrow, oxtail or knuckle bones. If you are using organic carrots you can leave them unpeeled as most of the nutrients are in the skin, otherwise peel them.

If you are going to be making a few batches of stock in the coming weeks and want to save time later, you can cut up all of the vegetables (carrots, celery and parsley) and put them in zip lock bags to freeze for when you have some more bones ready.

Basic healing stock recipe

chicken carcass; or bones (with marrow preferred)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 celery stalks, including the leaves
2 carrots
parsley
Celtic sea salt

  1. Add the bones to the pot and cover with water. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to help get maximum nutrients out of the bones.
  2. Cut up the celery stalks, carrot and parsley finely and then add them to the pot. Add a teaspoon a sea salt.
  3. Simmer with lid on for at least 4 hours, but preferably 8 hours or more.
  4. Skim off any scum from the top using a spoon. Top up with water as required.
  5. When finished, allow the stock to cool and then pour stock through a strainer and transfer to storage. You can also use cheese cloth or chux wipes to strain the stock. Pick off any meat to eat later. Discard the bones.
  6. If you want to remove the fat when you are finished cool the stock down and then place in the refrigerator overnight. The fat will rise to the top and you will be able to remove the solidified layer with a spoon. When often strain the mixture a second time in the morning. If your stock has jellied it is rich in gelatin.

The stock will keep for at least a week in the fridge or can be frozen in zip-lock bags.

Other optional ingredients to add:

2 tbsps thyme
pepper
4 cloves of garlic (if not fructose intolerant)
1-2 onions or leeks (if not fructose intolerant)
cabbage (if not raffinose intolerant)

100 recipes: Roast chicken

Best recipe
Perfect roast chicken – Marcus Wareing

About

The best roast chicken recipe nominated by Alain Ducasse is by his Grandma Jeanne for roast chicken, as featured in The Observer’s Top 50 favourite recipes. Jill Dupleix recommends Simon Hopkinson’s recipe for Lemon roast chicken.

Clarissa Dickson-Wright and Johnny Scott’s recipe for the perfect roast chicken was listed in The Observer’s How to make the perfect…. article, and features in their  Sunday Roast cookbook.

Look for an organic free-range chicken for the best flavour. If you can get one – the best type of chicken to use are poulet de Bresse for their succulent meat, although more popular in France.

Laukie Werle – in ‘Loukie’s Kitchen‘ cookbook writes there are four steps to a perfect roast chicken:

  • remove chicken from the fridge 1 hour before cooking
  • a size 15-16 (1.5-1.6kg) chicken always takes 1 hour and 20 minutes in a preheated 190C (170C fan) oven, whether plain roasted or stuffed.
  • always rest chicken after roasting for 15-20 minutes before carving
  • don’t turn or baste chicken while roasting

Skye Gyngell recommends serving mashed potato and green beans in summer. She serves roast pumpkin with red onions and sweet potatoes or fennel slices in winter.

Multimedia

Variations

About | 100 Recipes | Outtakes

100 recipes: Fish pie

Best recipe
Fish pie – J.Sheeky restaurant, from Cook: A Year in the Kitchen with Britain’s Best Chefs by Rebecca Seal

About

The best fish pie recipe is by J. Sheekey restaurant, as featured in The Observer’s Top 50 favourite recipes. Sophie Conran’s recipe for the perfect haddock and cod pie was listed as the perfect fish pie recipe in The Observer’s How to make the perfect…. article, and features in her Pies cookbook.

If you consult your Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, you’ll want to choose fish which are ranked “Green – Better choice”, such as Australian Bonito, Bream, Luderick, mullet, tailor and whiting.

For choosing a sustainable fish:

Multimedia

Variations

About | 100 Recipes | Outtakes

100 recipes: Coq au vin

Best recipe
Coq au vin – Raymond Blanc

About

French: coq au vin, coq au Chambertin, coq au riesling etc

The best coq au vin recipe nominated by Rebecca Seal is by Raymond Blanc and appears in his Kitchen Secrets cookbook, as featured in the The Observer’s Top 50 favourite recipes. A PDF version of the recipe is available on his website.

Coq au vin is a classic dish from the Burgandy region of France. It is a typically a red-wine stew made from young chickens with onions, mushrooms and bacon. In France they will use their local wine.

This popular dish may be called coq au Chambertin, coq au riesling, or coq au whatever wine you use for its cooking. It is made with either white or red wine, but the red is more characteristic.
- Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

If time permits marinate the chicken in the wine overnight to give it greater depth of flavour.

Julia Child recommends serving with only parsley potatoes and perhaps buttered green peas.

Multimedia

Variations

About | 100 Recipes | Outtakes

100 recipes: Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic

Best recipe
Chicken with 40 garlic cloves – Valli Little

About

French: Poulet aux quarante gousses d’ail

Richard Olney sums up ‘Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic’ as a classic, Provencal method for preparing roast chicken. The garlic cooks down to being a mild flavour, sweet but nutty and not over-powering as you might expect.

Try to use garlic cloves from your home country.

The dish can be served with rice, buttered noodles or fresh bread.

Variations

About | 100 Recipes | Outtakes

100 recipes: Chicken drumsticks

Best recipe
Grilled chicken legs with fresh herb sauce – Nigel Slater, Eating for England

About

The best chicken thigh recipe is by Simon Hopkinson’s for southern-style fried chicken thighs from his Second Helpings of Roast Chicken cookbook as featured in The Observer’s Top 50 favourite recipes. Nigel Slater’s recipe for grilled chicken with fresh herb sauce (above) also gets a mention.

Variations

About | 100 Recipes | Outtakes

Thai chicken soup

thai-chicken-soup

We used up some left over chicken from Christmas and frozen stock to make this delicious lunch. The lemon grass, lime, coriander and ginger give the soup an Asian flavour.

leftover chicken, shredded
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
1 celery stick, chopped finely
1 bunch of coriander, chopped or pinch of dried herbs (optional)
2 fresh lemon grass stalks, white parts crushed
2 kaffir lime leaves, or juice of a lime
1 tbsp chopped ginger
2 cups of chicken stock

  1. Brown the onion, garlic and celery for several minutes in a big pot.
  2. Add the stock and additional hot water. Bring to the boil, and skim if required.
  3. Turn down the heat and add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, and simmer for half an hour.
  4. Remove the lime leaves and lemon grass before serving.

Serves 2-4 people.

 

 

Animal homes

Providing a dedicated home for the animals in your garden will contribute to their health and well-being. Encouraging native wildlife to nest or visit will ensure they return to your garden to play an active role in keeping down pest numbers. Did you know that micro-bats love eating mosquitoes and can catch up to 500 insects per hour?

Here are some alternative and funky animal homes to consider:

Nest boxes

Bat boxes

Bee hives

Chickens

Dogs and cats