Keeping chooks in the city - something to crow about

CC11poultry2.Buff Orpington fowl on display at a previous Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club show. The club's annual show, to be held on June 27-28, is New Zealand's longest running poultry show. Photo by Marina Steinke.
CC11poultry2.Buff Orpington fowl on display at a previous Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club show. The club's annual show, to be held on June 27-28, is New Zealand's longest running poultry show. Photo by Marina Steinke.
Chooks are a good lifestyle choice, even if you live in the city.

Christchurch Poultry Bantam and Pigeon Club member Marina Steine says she has the best of both worlds, a city lifestyle and she breeds chooks.

She keeps 20 hens on her Avonhead property and keeps chooks on a lifestyle block on Banks Peninsula.

''I have some chooks in an enclosed area behind the garage,'' she said.

''The council has abolished the [maximum] number of chooks you can keep in the city.

''An inspector came round recently and said two neglected chooks can cause more damage than two dozen that are well looked after.''

However, the number of crowing roosters you can keep remained unchanged - zero.

''If one crows, he has a one-way trip to Banks Peninsula,'' Ms Steinke said. '

'Breeding chooks is becoming more widespread. I know of people who can't breed, but they do exhibit their chooks.

''You can get fertile eggs and hatch and raise them yourself. You just have to get rid of the roosters once they start crowing.''

Ms Steine breeds Faverolles, Cochin and Orpington fowl and Black Australorp bantams. Faverolles were rare in New Zealand, but originated from the French village of Faverolles.

She said she visited her Banks Peninsula chooks once or twice a week and they had self-operated feeders, ''high grass and plenty of shelter belts, so they are in good condition''.

The club is New Zealand's oldest poultry club and a sub-committee has been formed to begin planning for its 150th anniversary celebrations in 2017, which will coincide with the national poultry show being held in Christchurch for the first time.

This year's show, later this month, has attracted Waikato judge Chris Wuest, a noted Barnevelder fowl breeder, to judge heavy breed poultry.

The Christchurch Poultry Bantam and Pigeon Club's 147th annual show will be held at the Christchurch Table Tennis Club Stadium on Blenheim Rd, on Friday and Saturday, June 27-28.

The United Pigeon Fanciers Association holds its annual show in conjunction with the Christchurch show.