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Khadija Kandil
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Kin Kin, QLD, Australia
Climate Zone:
Sub tropical

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Greening the Desert Project
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Chookventure: WARNING not for the vegan or faint of heart

Posted by Khadija Kandil about 9 years ago

In over half an hour, I will be slaughtering a duck and a female goose. I like to use the word slaughter rather than kill as it adds purpose to an otherwise heedless act. On YouTube, I saw a video of Joel Salatin and he spoke words similar to, for there to be life, there must be sacrifice. For some to live, others must die. I am a little anxious because of the sounds ducks and geese make when they are frightened. It sounds like begging.

In one of the best books I have ever read on science, humans, animals and anthropomorphology, When Elephants Weep by Jeffery Moussaieff it asks the question, if they do not feel, then why do they cry out?

My name is Khadija and I am a PRI Practical Certificate student here at PRI Sunshine Coast. One of my main jobs is to look after the chook and duck system, which is a deep litter, multi-coup layout based on age. The system provides our daily egg, poultry meat, compost and lightweight entertainment needs. There is nothing as wonderful in the morning as a pullet standing on my hat or as delightful as a newly hatched chick peeking out between mum’s downy feathers.

Permaculture promotes completeness and closing the gaps. Where life exits, so does dying. Sometimes they die when left on there own and other times when I slaughter them. Sometimes, because I am learning. On special days, they are born.

In the space of roughly three weeks, four hens became broody and approximately six eggs were given to each. Two chickens hatched but all others died. We have been having this challenge with previous nests also, and I intended to solve this puzzle. 

Too much humidity? Too much heat or too little of both? Mother bothered by too many mites? Not strong enough for the 21 day incubation period?

After I was sure the mothers had abandoned their eggs, I collected all of them to observe the stage of growth or potential bacterial invasion. Had they been fertilised and at which stage was development halted? How can we improve our practice for next time?

Those who sat were a mixed breed, two Bantams and a Barnevelder. 

PRI Sunshine Coast: Raj, Kubla Khan, the ladies and unrelated people

The first little that I checked was that of a bantam.                                     

Here is what I observed. Out of five, there were two unfertilised and three others, almost fully formed, dead before they had absorbed the placenta into their abdomens. Perhaps 18 days out of the 21-day gestation period. 

PRI Sunshine Coast: broken eggs

As I was cracking the second set, I heard a chirp. Tom Kendall brought out the incubator and with an anxious mind, I put all the eggs in and waited. Over the next two days, two Barnevelders hatched from broken eggs. They are beautiful and wild coloured. It was not a complete disaster because those two little babies are sweet and lovely. 

My question about the death of the eggs still hasn’t found its answer, but there is another broody hen and I am hopeful. She’s rather mean and very attentive to her eggs, repeatedly rearranging them and sitting just right. She digs holes into me if I try to touch her, which is a wonderful sign.

PRI Sunshine Coast: Barnevelder chicks

Comments (2)

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Roman Eisenkoelbl
Roman Eisenkoelbl : nice article Khadija!
Posted about 9 years ago

Report Roman Eisenkoelbl on Chookventure: WARNING not for the vegan or faint of heart


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Joshua Dunn
Joshua Dunn : Any updates on the hatching venture?
Posted almost 9 years ago

Report Joshua Dunn on Chookventure: WARNING not for the vegan or faint of heart


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My Badges
Consultant I'm female, single, and looking for a permaculture partner
My Permaculture Qualifications
Pri verified
Permaculture Design Certificate
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
Location: Dead Sea, Jordan
Date: Oct 2013
Other course verified
Permaculture Design Certificate
Type: Other
Verifying teacher: Abdur-Rahman McCausland
Other Teachers: Salah Hammad
Location: PRI Jordan
Date: Apr 2014
Other course unverified
Tree Management
Type: Gardening
Teacher: Miles Durand
Location: PRI Jordan
Date: Nov 2013
Other course unverified
Soil, Food and Health Internship
Type: Internship
Teacher: Kay Baxter
Location: Koanga Institue, New Zealand
Date: Sep 2014
Other course verified
Practical Certificate Program
Type: Other
Teacher: Tom Kendall
Location: PRI Sunshine Coast
Date: Jan 2015

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