The family behind Kind and Friendly to Chickens say their egg-cellent endeavor is experiencing fantastic community support.
It’s a place where farm birds can live happily and freely. The poultry sanctuary has officially been operating for over a year on a four-acre Calavos property and began after a love for chickens was realised by the Bickertons.
“This all started when we moved into our property and the previous tenants had about nine chickens there,” Andrew Bickerton said.
“We decided to keep them and we fattened them up and made them healthy and we just fell in love.”
Now the family look after more than 300 farm birds, ranging from chickens and turkeys to geese and guinea fowl at their refuge.
“We started taking in people's pet birds,” Andrew said.
“They were coming to us from people who could not look after them any more due to moving or other reasons.
“About 99 per cent of our birds have been given away to us by people who have loved them as pets and don't want to see them end up as food.”
And that’s how the name Kind and Friendly to Chickens was born, according to Andrew.
“The acronym is KFC but instead of the chicken restaurant, we are a chicken and bird refuge!” he said.
“The birds are usually past the laying point so we don’t get too many eggs but we do get lots of good times with these animals.”
All sorts of birds at Kind and Friendly to Chickens
Andrew said Kind and Friendly to Chickens was home to a range of different breeds of farm birds, including some very special varieties.
“We have so many different breeds, some I don't even know,” he said.
“There's Chinese geese, golden comet chickens and much, much more.”
Andrew said the birds were part of the family and provided hours of entertainment for him, his wife and children.
“Honestly, the birds are such dags, you could watch them all day,” Andrew laughed.
“My favourite are the guinea fowl- they work as a team and get up to some mischief like climbing on top of my shed before soaring down the paddock as one big group.
“The ducks are also very cheeky and love to cause havoc to the chickens, some will even hold on the tails of the chicken with their beak just so they can be dragged around the property.”
Community continues support
Andrew said while the refuge was a fantastic place for every human and animal involved, it was also a lot of hard work for the family of four.
“Our sons, Blake and William, get up early every morning before school to help us with the feeding,” he said.
“My wife also does a hell of a lot. She runs around town every second day after her full time job collecting scraps from schools and business who donate feed to us.
“We are very thankful for that; the community support has really been amazing.”
Andrew said many schools, childcare centres and businesses were always more than willing to lend the Bickerton family a hand with the refuge.
“Feeding over 300 birds is a costly exercise but we are fortunate to have some fantastic supporters,” he said.
“Just the other day The Lettuce Patch supplied us with a huge crate of lettuce and Don Pancho are always giving us scraps from the people who stay at their accommodation.”
Andrew said for anyone else who would be able to help out, donations were always welcome.
“We definitely don’t like asking for help but more feed would be highly beneficial,” he said.
“We could always use the tucker and we would also love to get our hand on any second-hand wood and timber.”
To help out the Bickerton family and their Kind and Friendly to Chickens refuge.