Beware the Crook Chook Look....

The important role healthy chickens have in African Communities and keeping backyard chooks healthy.

Roslyn Hall hosted a great evening last Thursday. Robyn Alders talked about her fascinating life working in Africa controlling Newcastle Disease in village chickens. Village Chickens are hardy, resilient, reproduce independently and largely source their own food. Chickens and eggs provide nutritious food for growing children. They can be sold and enable the family to send their children to school, buy other livestock such as goats and generally improve their standard of life.

Newcastle Disease would commonly outbreak in these communities meaning the benefits of keeping chickens was very unstable. Newcastle Disease has a vaccine and Robyn was able to develop a system of delivery that was suitable for these developing communities, securing their village chicken population and so providing a more reliable and positive future for the community. Robyn received an Order of Australia for her remarkable work.

Interesting Robyn also noted in her travels much emphasis is put on the nutritional content of food in countries where people simply don’t get enough. Here in Australia we have an abundance of food and yet still suffer widely from malnutrition. Malnutrition being the lack of proper nutrition. Almost 25% of Australian women are low in iron for instance. We should give more thought to not just filling our bellies but to filling up with nutritious food.

Bill Johnson, Local Land Services District Vet was also on hand and explained the fundamentals of back yard chicken care. Important things to remember are to;

  • Rotate your pens
  • Buy vaccinated replacement chooks and isolate them for 2 weeks
  • Provide clean water
  • Feed your chooks a balanced diet – the tucker than goes in will determine the egg that comes out!
  • If medicating laying hens check the withholding period

Newcastle Disease symptoms include tremors, drooping wings, weakness, paralysis, nasal discharge. If you suspect Newcastle disease it is important to let your District Vet know.


Upper Lachlan Landcare supports a community-based approach to managing and protecting our natural resources – creating more productive and sustainable farms, conserving our environment and building more cohesive and resilient communities.

For more information contact; Ruth Aveyard 0447 242 474

Or Helen Ward 0488 027 653