Chicken Run (The Christmas Edition)

Here we are at the end of another year, and the holidays are looming. I want to take this time to go over some tips and ideas for Christmas but I also want to fill you in on my exciting new thing!

For a wee while I have been considering getting a couple of hens. I grew up with a wee flock around home and I like the idea of giving them my food scraps and getting an egg or two in return. While we have green bins for compost now and free range eggs readily available, I still think it’s nice to be able to do it yourself if you can! So I talked about the idea without actually going through any steps to carry it out, until I saw a facebook post about a Battery Hen Adoption program. A battery farm in Christchurch was about to cull its current flock and bring in a new batch of poor clucks.

Instantly I knew I wanted to adopt some hens and give them a chance at a new and happier life. I contacted the person organising it all, made a call to mum and dad asking for help sorting out living arrangements for the newbies, and we were away! The chooks cost $2 each, a price sadly going to the battery farm… I guess it’s all about the money to these people. It’s a factor to take into consideration if you want to adopt a chook – you have to know if you’d be happy to pay to save a chook but fund the industry… A difficult decision but the right one for me.

So anyway, now I have two new family members!

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Introducing Helen Cluck and Rustle Crowe! They’re 18 months old and this was the first day at their new home. Note how pale their combs are – these have become pinker over the weeks, which seems like a good sign.

They weren’t in the best shape. They had lost a lot of feathers because battery hens peck each other and themselves out of boredom. This means they find it hard to stay warm outside of the heated battery sheds, so for a few days I kept them in jumpers fashioned from old socks and also popped them in the garden shed overnight.

It’s been such a pleasure to watch these girls improve over the last few weeks. They have picked up lots of things naturally that they were never able to do during the 15months in cages. They can now flap and stretch their wings, scratch at the dirt, have dust baths, preen themselves, sunbathe, and peck at insects and bugs. They live in an old a-frame patched up from my parents place, but I often let them out in the garden and they have slowly become more confident at exploring. All this from two animals who had never stood on grass before. Amazing. I’ve had a few eggs but they’re pretty “egged out” after battery farm life and I don’t mind if they never lay. They also get along happily enough with the cat which is an added bonus!

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The girls checking out their new digs and the first egg!

Ok so it’s probably quite clear that I am a clucky mother right now, but I also want to spend a little time talking about the upcoming holiday season and what you can do to make Christmas better for others and the environment!

We all know that Christmas is crazy. Wrapping paper everywhere, socks and unwanted gifts piled on couches (because lets be honest, if it’s not socks you probably don’t want or need it), half finished food and drink placed precariously on the floor… It’s great in so many ways but it’s also important to think about the impact of this consumerist stuff explosion.

Here are a few ideas to help lead to a less wasteful Christmas and New Years.

Ditch the Cards

Don’t give out unnecessary pieces of cardboard with generic greetings in them to people you don’t even like… Save it for the special few, use your space wisely to say charming and witty things, and consider making your own cards out of spare paper stationary ☺

Bag Wisely

ALWAYS remember to take a reusable bag xmas shopping. Plastic bags are stupid and I hate them with a fiery passion that is not in accordance with the Christmas spirit. You should too.

Consider the packaging

Take note of the way your chosen gifts are packaged. Does Dad need the new set of kitchen scissors that are in a plastic case, or would he be happy with the unpackaged ones? And do you really care what he wants anyway? No, because you are doing your shopping drunk because you’re a goddamn adult now.

Wrap Happy

I save bits of paper throughout the year to use as wrapping, but I have also used newspaper, paper bags, and reused wrappings from the year before! Keep it creative, and remember that you don’t have to wrap absolutely everything. However, DO remember to Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap – because being Sun Smart is cool.

Plate Up

Do what you can to reduce non-recyclable food packaging. Also avoid single use nasties like plastic straws, plates, and cutlery – especially when camping or picnicking over the holidays. While getting sloshed at New Years, make sure to drink from glasses or cans and avoid plastic bottles. Being a responsible drunk is also pretty cool.

Set Goals

Need a decent New Years resolution? Forget the gym resolutions, and the carpe diem resolutions, and the not-throwing-up-in-your-flatmates-undie-draw-again resolutions. Take the opportunity to challenge yourself to produce less waste in 2016 than you did in 2015. This could be as simple as ditching all plastic bags, or straws, or takeaway containers, or cutlery. Baby steps or it ain’t gonna happen.

Gifts that Keep Giving

Finally, take some time to reflect about what you want to be giving this Christmas. I really struggle with the idea of getting people arbitrary crap, just because that is what is expected of me. If you are an unconscious over-consumer then you are part of the problem. Instead:

  • Ask people what they NEED. Socks are always a great place to start.
  • Give a donation-gift! Buy a resource/animal on behalf of someone through Oxfam Unwrapped (http://www.oxfamunwrapped.org.nz/). It will help people in need ☺
  • Invest in a project, event, or trip. Time can be a great gift, especially when it is invested in doing something special with those you love. Go plant some trees! (http://treesforcanterbury.org.nz/) Get a massage!  Go to the theatre!
  • Consider getting others gifts that will in turn help them reduce their environmental impact. Reusable produce bags, or natural beauty products are good ones. Last year my parents got me a beehive, which was the raddest! This year I have asked for gardening equipment and metal clothes pegs – they last much longer than plastic or wooden ones.
  • Get crafty and creative. Gift a homemade beauty product, preserve, or plant!
  • Become comfortable with concepts of re-gifting and buying second hand. Someone else might absolutely love that expensive novelty vase that you loath with every ounce of your soul.

… There’s a lot there but that about sums it up. Do what you can ☺ And remember to ask others to do the same when it comes to their gifts to you! Get specific if they need some directions.

Jeepers. That’s the last of me for 2015. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!

Much love and peace xx

Poppy

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