It takes a village to launch a The GARDEN CHICKS Project book, and yet a book is so personal.
I have been working on a chook book. No surprises there. Hudson and the rooster are on the support team with me. The book is a cheerful look at installing chickens into small landscaped backyards.
Like many new ideas this one came from a conversation on holidays, away from home and business, chatting with one’s significant other.
Somewhere high above Shangri La, in western China, Janine showed me an article in a glossy airline magazine about a Midwestern USA chicken business where they rented a coop and a pair of chickens to you in spring when the snow melted, and took them back when the snow returned in autumn. She knew I loved chickens and had kept them whenever possible, and as a child had, like her, spent holidays on a poultry farm.
So the idea took hold.
Enquiries revealed many things, one being that cheap flat pack Chinese coops are cheaper than renting a heavy duty coop.
So I bought the basic Chinese one and set up number 1 daughter with some chooks. It was lucky we had so many friends and relatives. We fended off foxes with automatic doors. We explored and installed top of the range coops, and when we found a few things missing, we made our own and these trials took me into many backyards.
It was amazing to find so many good people able to help my friends and relatives with chicken “stuff”. Dealing with people as a contractor was a unique insider take, and different than just buying things for yourself.
Amongst them I met some great people associated with breeding chickens, Hi to Leah of Leah’s Hatchery to the west of Sydney, and Hi to Conrad of Animal Ark, who brings a truckload and trailer of all sorts of animals down the eastern seaboard of Australia around to Adelaide and back every couple of weeks in the season.
People wanted ISA Reds (yes I know they are officially browns and really Hy Line.) Others needed bantams and / or anything black, or ones that laid blue eggs.
Some could, and others could not, train their chooks to access various styles of feeders and drinkers.
A shout out to Hudson (pictured) and his mum Simone and dad Kurt who manage the Crested Cream Legbar flock for fertile eggs. And thanks to Ossie and Rebecca who hatch them in Adelaide.
And Janine of the Adelaide Chicken Sitting Service who helped in my ongoing search for the missing Marek’s vaccine.
It was a similar story in manufacturing, customs and importers and the book trade, especially in setting out and proofing the book. I am so thankful for Janine at the Adelaide Chicken Sitting Service, and various pharmacy and academic advisors for some great discussions and improvements to the text.
Jess Johnson managed Adobe InDesign, and I at least am very glad we met. I do try to be flexible.
In the end the book both belongs to the village, and is uniquely my own too.