Hens here at Bamboo Park live a contented life.
In return for us taking care of each one daily, with good varied food, clean water, shelter from predators, shade, dust baths, comfortable nest boxes … our happy heritage hens give us plentiful nourishing eggs.
We look for healthy robust hens, suited to this climate, who lay well and produce a variety of coloured eggs.
A hen will typically lay between 200 – 300 eggs per year. Obviously that’s a big difference, so commercial egg farmers need to use hens who lay the most eggs.
We have a diverse collection of breeds and varieties including the remarkable Sunshiner Chickens.
Sunshiner Chickens are specifically bred for the sub tropical climate here on the Sunshine Coast, by chicken whisperer Lisa Delanoue.
The Sunshiner breeding line is a closely-guarded secret but heritage includes Brahma (known as the “king of chickens”), Plymouth Rock, and Araucana. Sunshiners typically start laying around 7 months of age. They’re a good dual-pupose breed, typically producing more than 200 eggs/year.
We sometimes have hatching eggs, day old chicks, ducklings, pullets and cockerels available for new homes: contact Ed on 0456 727 024. For example:
- Pullets 12 weeks old $50 – Sunshiner chicken stock x Araucana, may be Easter Eggers when they come into lay
- Day old chicks $20 unsexed – or $40 off heat – Sunshiner chicken stock x Araucana, may be Easter Eggers when they come into lay
- Good looking Khaki Campbell farmyard ducklings 12 weeks $40 – <4 weeks $30 – unsexed
- Gorgeous Indian Runner drakes – 12 weeks $40 – <4 weeks $30
- Hatching eggs $30/dozen when available
Our breeds include
Ancona – our red Ancona is a very pretty chicken and is rare in Australia
Araucana – a breed of domestic chicken from Chile, named after the Araucanía region of Chile where it is believed to originate. Laying beautiful blue green eggs, but the pure breeds are not very productive and have low hatch rates. We have a lilac Araucana cockerel, named Biden, so that our home-bred pullets produce a variety of “Easter Egg” coloured eggs.
Australorp – an Australian breed of chicken, bred from the English Orpington. Typically black, with whites and blues being rarer types.
Australorps are egg-stremely productive egg layers, typically laying 250-300 large, light brown eggs each year. It is said that an Australorp chicken holds the record for the most eggs laid by a chicken – one hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days!
Barnevelders – our Barnevelders are the “double gold laced” variety, with golden lacing on their chocolate brown feathers and upright single combs. Originating from the Netherlands, they typically lay 200 chocolate brown eggs each year.
Bonds – bred by the Bond Enterprises in the Lockyer Valley near Gatton here in Queensland on a 160 acre farm. The farm is isolated from other commercial poultry operations by a minimum 10 km buffer zone. Leading breeding geneticist Dr. Jeff Moth ensures a stock that lays up to 345 eggs per year.
ISA Browns – one of the two main commercially-farmed breeds in Australia. These ladies are medium-sized, affectionate, docile, hard-working hens who can lay in excess of 300 large brown eggs per year! They barely pause for the moult and rarely go broody, making them one of the best breeds for egg laying.
Since they work so hard using all the protein and calcium available in their small bodies, these hens need a slightly higher protein base feed.
The ISA Brown is a fairly recently developed hybrid chicken designed to lay the maximum number of eggs. Originally developed in France around 1978, the ISA stands for Institut de Sélection Animale. The Institut was merged with huge pharmaceutical company Merck and Co, and the breed then became the Hubbard ISA. The company has since merged again multiple times and is now part of the Group Grimaud La Corbière SA, focusing on animal genetics.
ISA Brown hens’ exact genetic make-up is a closely guarded trade secret, but speculation includes the Rhode Island Red and white breeds with input from White Leghorns, and other breeds.
As a hybrid bird, they will not breed true. Chicks are not likely to live up to the mother hen’s abilities. Offspring can also be prone to suffer from kidney ailments, so they aren’t the healthiest of chicks.
Because ISAs come from a white rooster over a red hen, they are a ‘sex-link’ chicken; meaning chicks at birth can be immediately sexed – white chicks are cockerels and tan chicks are pullets.
ISAs have been ‘engineered’ to be highly productive, and that contributes to a short life. A bird that can lay 300+ eggs each year without rest is not going to live into a healthy old age.
It is usual in the commercial world to cull chickens after their second year, as their egg production drops noticeably at around 18 months of age. Although their ‘best’ laying years may be behind them, they will still lay eggs, just not as prolifically to be able to produce eggs as cheaply as some people want to buy them.
Minorcas – originating from the Spanish island of Minorca, a large black bird with white ear lobes, laying large white eggs
Welsummer – a beautiful, strong bird whose feathers gleam in the sunlight, including a necklace of golden hair-like feathers. They have quite an upright stance, with a flat, long back, and a single comb. Originating from Holland.
Wyandotte – an American breed developed in the 1870s, named for the indigenous Wyandot people of North America. Only laying 180-200 eggs per year, these are dual purpose chickens but not commercially viable.
Eggs become even more fun when the shells are shades of the rainbow. From olive to pretty blue and speckled to chocolate brown, coloured eggs bring smiles to the kitchen.
Eggshell colour is unique to each hen, depending on her breed and genetics. The colour does not change egg nutrients.
You may even be able to tell the shell colour by the hen’s earlobe! Hens with white earlobes – like our Minorcas – typically lay white or lightly tinted eggs. Hens with red earlobes most commonly lay brown eggs, but there are always exceptions to those rules. Different shades of eggshells can come from the same bird on different days. This is because the bloom, put on right before the egg is laid, contains a fair amount of pigment.
A hen will lay the same colour of eggs throughout her life.
So how do we change the colour of the eggs? When a hen and cockerel are mated, genes from both parents contribute to the eggshell colour laid by their offspring.
All eggshells start white inside the hen, because the shells are primarily calcium.
- White eggs are white all the way through
- Brown eggshells are white on the inside
- Blue eggshells are blue all the way through
- Green eggshells are blue on the inside and green on the outside
As a hen forms the shell, pigments called porphyrins are secreted from cells within the hen’s uterus to add colour. Blue egg layers add pigment early in the shell formation process, which is why these shells are blue all the way through. A combination of blue and brown pigments produces a green shell colour, sometimes called an Olive Egger. Hens who lay white eggs do not produce any pigments during shell formation.
Hens need approximately 4 grams of calcium per day to form each eggshell. Hens that lack proper calcium levels typically produce soft or brittle eggshells. Sometimes an improper calcium balance can cause hens to pull calcium from their bones to produce eggshells, weakening their overall skeletal structure.
Come and meet the ladies at Bamboo Park.