When you think of the Good Karma Network, chickens are not the first thing that come to mind. But for one GKN member a homeless rooster on a short stay meant a welcomed distraction during lockdown and the possibility of increasing her brood. Lucy Jones joined RGKN about four years ago after posting that she had lost a chicken and had anyone seen it? This opened her up to a whole new community of like-minded chicken raisers in Reservoir. This is her GKN experience.
“Someone in the group (Penny) asked the group if anyone knew where she could rehome a young rooster (Speckles) that was upsetting her neighbours. I said I couldn't offer a permanent home but could take him for a couple of weeks to give her neighbours some respite if she wanted, as we were keen for more chickens and thought we could use him to breed with our hens. She was happy to loan him out and, after checking with our own neighbours first, we took him in. It was a longshot as he was young and we didn't even know if he'd be fertile yet. Plus, we were depending on one of the hens going broody in a timely fashion as we don't have an incubator. He only stayed for a week before Penny found a permanent home for him and moved him on. He was a lot of fun to have around and we really enjoyed having him, even if nothing eventuated. I'd been working from home and my partner Frank had lost much of his work due to COVID, so he enjoyed playing outside with Speckles, while I took breaks from my computer to look out the window and laugh at their antics.
A couple of days after Speckles left, our hen Margot went broody. We stopped collecting the eggs and left a few for her to sit on. After a week we candled them (this is where you shine a torch through to check for fertilisation) and they did indeed appear to be fertile! Good job Speckles! After 21 days two darling chicks hatched. The other three eggs never hatched, and we disposed of them. Margot made a fabulous mum, and the two babies are now nearly full grown chickens. One male, one female - Frida and Diego. I kept Penny posted throughout the whole process, as she was very keen to know if Speckles had been successful in his endeavours. She has two little girls who I think have also enjoyed the story. We are going to keep both chickens (the neighbours have confirmed no problem to keep the rooster) and Penny is going to borrow Diego to make some more chickens with her own hens someday.”
Lucy explains how much the RGKN has helped her with a so many things and to really get involved with the community. “I've borrowed a couple of gazebos for a party. I've given away lots of unwanted things - both by offering and by responding to someone else request. I've used the Gellibrand Grow Free Cart for swapping produce and have used the GKN to share details of what I've put there (usually either eggs or seedlings) so people take them while they're fresh. I've shared feel good community stories, e.g. about the friendly cat I patted during a lockdown jog who made my day. I've joined the Friends of Edwardes Lake group, which was set up by someone who was very upset (the whole community was upset) about the state of the lake and the recent death of the swan and cygnets. The bereaved male swan now has a new mate and the group has shared in both sorrow and then joy re. this story. I've given away lots of excess seedlings. I dropped some to someone's house and a few days later returned with some more. He hadn't planted the first ones and it was apparent that he was new to gardening. I said "Let's do it now" as I suspected he would let them die, so we planted them together in his garden. We have since become friends and often catch up as he only lives a few streets away. He's a very keen gardener now.
When my partner started teaching via Zoom during COVID I asked if anyone had a scanner and someone kindly gave me one. I've asked for advice and recommendations and received lots of help. I've also responded to lots of other requests for advice. Once someone asked urgently if anyone had bin space as she'd had a large furniture delivery and visitors arriving that day - she had nowhere to store the excess packaging. It was a Friday night and I was home with no agenda so I drove out and loaded up my boot with her garbage, then dissolved it into my bins and the Coles soft plastics bins over the next few weeks.
I have found nothing but positivity in my experience with the GKN. I've received a lot of generous help and kindness and have taken joy in helping others too.
What Lucy feels most through the Good Karma Network is “Connected. I love that it connects me with other community-minded people in my suburb, for a whole variety of reasons.”