There is an amazing variety of chooks (you might know them as chickens or fowls) available in Australia, with over 45 recognised breeds. Once you add in standard or bantam, and hundreds of colour combinations the choices are endless. Ironclad Goodness aims to make this decision easier, choosing to only sell a hardy farm breed that is robust and will meet the needs of a variety of chook keepers – whether that be for pets, meat or high quantity egg production.
Fertilised eggs from the flock on the right are available from the shop.
Generally speaking, chooks are categorised into two size groups: Standard (‘normal’ or ‘large’) and bantam (smaller). Bantam chooks can be ½ to 1/3 the size of standard chooks. We make no specific ‘across the board’ recommendation as to whether chook keepers in general should have only bantams or standards in your backyard. There are a lot of factors which influence your chosen breed(s) including egg size preference, backyard size, whether you are experienced in keeping chooks, how many eggs you want per week, how old your kids are (if you have kids) and if you want them to free range in your garden. Whatever your preferences are, Ironclad Goodness can help you narrow down your options because we believe there is a chook for everyone.
Their is much reward, as well as great satisfaction, in keeping and breeding these domestic creatures called chooks. They help support and sustain the self sufficient family. There is quite a bit of extra work, thought, effort, knowledge and learning required, to help make the the whole home grown family food cycle work optimally.
I have had chooks almost my entire adult life. When cyclone Alby came through the South West of WA my back fence blew down. My chook run went along the entire length of that fence and it took all the next day the search out and capture my flock from the surrounding backyards. Chook sheds are easy to construct from old recycled materials like corrigated iron, pallets, timber, corflute, old wire, a few screws and nails but the important thing is the design so that the chooks are happy, protected, and have plenty of room. Wire around the chook yard is very important to protect your chooks from preditors like feral cats, quolls (native cats), domestic cats, foxes (none in Tasmania thank goodness), and dogs.
Different types of fencing are available including movable electric fences, but after loosing chooks to dogs tearing through standard chicken wire of 5cm holes x 1mm thick galvanised wire, I now only use Heavy Galvanised Rabbit wire which is 4cm hole x 1.4mm thick wire. This is more expensive but well worth it in the long run.
The wire doesn't go all the way to the ground but finishes about 50 to 100mm above. Then a skirting of 300mm is attached to the bottom and spread out over the ground to stop burrowing animals. This can either be pinned down with wire prongs, weighted with stones or old bricks, or as I found old strips of conveyor belting works a treat. Check the photo below.
The wire needs to be high enough so the chooks can't fly over and cats can't jump in for a free meal. I have used Rabbit wire on the bottom to 600mm then 900mm standard wire attached to the top of that. At the moment I have 2 flocks in my orchard surrounded by 1200mm Heavy Gal Rabbit wire with a 600mm floppy top which keeps out all cats and quolls. Possums were baffled for a while but have discovered some way in. Possums don't worry chooks although I have found some sleeping in the laying box. Possums can jump 1200mm so I've decided to stand the floppy up to give 1800mm of fence with 2 to 3 hot wires near the top. I value my fruit.
Can be replaced when it rusts out without replacing the whole fence.
Feral Fencing from the outback.
Note the footing, floppy top and hot wires.