The Canberra Environment Centre will run a workshop on keeping chooks in the backyard on November 23.
The Canberra Environment Centre will run a workshop on keeping chooks in the backyard on November 23. Photo: Penny Stephens

The Canberra Environment Centre will run a workshop on November 23 about how to keep chickens in the backyard as part of its locavore workshop series.

Led by Chooks in the City author Alyson Hill, it covers how to raise, feed and shelter chooks, even in a small backyard (10am-1pm, $50, at the centre on Acton Peninsula, workshops@ecoaction.com.au).

As chook owners ourselves, here are our tips: keep them close to the house so you don’t have far to go at night when you must lock them away for safety; don’t forget to dust them for mites or you can end up with chicken lives on your conscience; don’t try to raise them from eggs, which seems doomed to failure and means you end up with roosters to get rid of; if you raise them as babies, be prepared for their terrible teenage stink in the house until they are  old enough to be outside.

That said, chooks are incredible, eating scarps, fertilising the garden, eating pests –  the grubs you don’t want and even mosquitos – and giving you an egg a day.