MARK TAYLOR/ Fairfax NZIT’S a HOBBY: Christina Campbell is one of the many people turning to chickens as companions at home.
The soft clucking of a content backyard hen is becoming more common in Waikato suburbs.
Waikato Poultry and Pigeon Club president Fiona Taylor said she had noticed an increase in the number of people keeping chickens.
“In the last 10 years or so there’s been resurgence and it’s not seen as so much of an unusual thing to keep them,” she said.
Mrs Taylor said keeping chickens was a “very rewarding, addictive hobby”.
“It’s an opportunity to feed the family and provide for yourself,” she said.
The club are hosting a national show at Hamilton Boys’ High School this weekend, where 1650 birds will be on display, with some for sale.
Information workshops will be held on Saturday afternoon.
Hamilton resident Christina Campbell claims to have “the happiest hens in town”.
She and daughter Nina, 14, have five hens – Marilyn, Whitney, Gaga, Christina, and Audrey – in their central-city backyard.
The hens lay four to five eggs a day which Ms Campbell said tasted different to supermarket eggs.
“I’m totally addicted to their eggs. They’re beautiful, they taste so much better, they look so much better.”
Ms Campbell said keeping your own hens was great for the environment. She feeds the hens food scraps and uses shredded paper from her job to line their coop.
“I like the chicken manure for fertilising my garden, and [we're] also keeping food costs down – with real eggs.”
Ms Campbell said the hens had unique personalities.
“They’re amazing. They’ve got different personalities and one of them – the naughty one – she’s like leader of the pack. She’s the one that gets out a lot of the time.”
Mrs Taylor said it was easy to establish a chicken-friendly backyard as it didn’t take much to set up.
The Hamilton Council allows for chickens to be kept in city boundaries providing no nuisance is caused to neighbours, or health issues.
Fiona Sutton, the council’s animal education and control manager, said currently they’d had no concerns regarding chickens.
however, under the Animal Nuisance Bylaw 2008, staff could intervene if chickens or their enclosures were causing a nuisance by emitting an unpleasant odour, making a lot of noise, creating clouds of dust in summer, or escaping into neighbouring properties.
The show runs from 9am till 5pm todayand 9am till 12pm tomorrow.
– © Fairfax NZ News