Chickens come home to roost as country goes to town

It is a slice of country life that has been brought into the heart of town. 

ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE: Tom ,5, Annablle ,9, and Angus Sadleir ,5, love their backyard chooks. Photo: Geoff O'Neill 030914GOE01

ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE: Tom ,5, Annablle ,9, and Angus Sadleir ,5, love their backyard chooks. Photo: Geoff O'Neill 030914GOE01

Local families are keeping backyard chickens and waking up to fresh eggs each morning. 

They are in step with a nation-wide trend – about four per cent of households keep laying hens, producing about 12 per cent of all eggs in Australia, according to research from the Australian Egg Corporation Limited. 

For the Sadleir family in Tamworth, it was a combination of fresh eggs, friendly pets and the idea of living sustainably that prompted them to keep chickens earlier this year. 

“I reckon it’s essential to have them because then you have fresh eggs,” nine-year-old Annabelle said. 

She said her younger brothers were normally tasked with collecting the eggs to be cooked up for family Sunday breakfasts. Her mother Deborah said the chickens helped keep the insects down. 

“We’re teaching the children about the country life even though we don’t live on a farm,” she said. 

Matthew Sadleir said the chickens ate their food scraps and fertilised the garden. 

“It’s about sustainability and being more self-sufficient,” Mr Sadleir said. 

“They’ve turned out to make incredible pets though,” he said. 

Jodi Ellem, who lives in town at Manilla, has been keeping chickens for eight years and currently keeps about 30 as a hobby. 

She said getting chooks was “the first thing” she did when she moved back to the region to start a family after a stint in Sydney. 

She said the price of eggs is prompting more households to keep chooks and there was a big demand for organic, free range products at local markets.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop