21.8 C
Byron Shire
March 8, 2021

The adventures of Puk Puk the cluck cluck

Latest News

Seapeace: the late Tony Maxwell’s wetland legacy

Many curious minds have pondered the purpose of the rice paddy-like waterbodies that scallop the contour lines out into the Ewingsdale coastal plain that can be viewed from St Helena Road.

Other News

Thirteen students inducted into Tweed Youth Council

The Youth Council program hopes develop better relations between Council and Tweed’s young people, by encouraging a mutual respect, and providing opportunities to contribute to civic life in a constructive and meaningful manner.

New Greens team

Matthew O’Reilly President of CABS and a proud member of the NEW Byron Greens team It seems that some readers have...

Seapeace: the late Tony Maxwell’s wetland legacy

Many curious minds have pondered the purpose of the rice paddy-like waterbodies that scallop the contour lines out into the Ewingsdale coastal plain that can be viewed from St Helena Road.

Police operation Billinudgel Nature Reserve

Gary Opit, Brunswick Heads On 22 February residents on Jones Road noticed a major police operation with officers from eight police...

‘Groundhog Day’ shifts Splendour to November

Splendour in the Grass 2021 organisers say that Groundhog Day jokes aside, the festival will be rescheduled for a late spring edition, from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 November.

Be proud of Ballina, help clean up our beaches

This Sunday, 7 March, Ballina Coastcare is inviting everyone who cares about Ballina's environment to Step Up To Clean Up, and join a special event for Clean Up Australia Day.

Julie O’Shea, with Narelle and Puk Puk on her lap, has recently started up the chicken rescue and re-homing shelter called Who Gives a Cluck? If you would like a few chickens to re-home, she has all the start-up advice you need.

Story & photo Tirza Abb

One day, during the fires, a lone chicken wandered down from the hills to my home and took up residence, making a roost on the top of an outdoor clothes rack, under a shelter. I put a flower pot up there, filled it with straw, and she started laying eggs in it, every day.

I thought I had hit the big time! Eggs for free! Without having to be responsible for the chicken or come home and put her away every night. Maybe one day a snake might come and eat her, I thought, but ‘that’s nature’, right?

I started to feed her. I named her Puk Puk, called her to me, cuddled her,  and bonded with her. This went on for about three months, until one day she became sick. It was a sad sight. She sat in her pot all day and stopped laying eggs and clucking around.

Getting help

I lifted her down, washed her dirty feathers, brought her inside and settled her into a box of straw, but she didn’t really get better. I didn’t know what to do. Then someone gave me the contact number of a local organisation called Who gives a Cluck?

Julie O’Shea, who is the main force behind the organisation, talked me through Puk Puk’s symptoms, and then gave me different medications that treated her for fleas, internal parasites and general chicken diseases. I treated her, but knowing that I was moving house soon, I asked Julie if she could take her in. She needed better care than I could give her.

Free range shock

I took her up to Julie’s land, where there were lots of other chickens, a few in a bad state. I was shocked! Had these chickens been rescued from battery farms? No. They had been rescued from free-range, local farms.

This little brown chicken of mine was the same as the others, an ISA brown; bred to lay an egg every day – which is not natural at all . These free range chickens, after 18 months to two years of laying eggs are killed, even by the most ethical of farmers, because they are no longer commercially viable.

To my shock, according to www.australianeggs.org.au/egg-industry, in the 2018–19 financial year, the number of chickens killed on any one day in Australia, in the egg industry alone, is 78,372 and of that number, 47 per cent are free-range. Therefore 36,835 free range chickens are killed every day, due to commercial non-viability.

Conscious choices

Until this point, I had believed that my egg choices were good. I only bought free-range, open-pasture, organic, locally-sourced eggs. I had never thought about what happens to the chickens after they have been worn-out by egg-laying. This is where Who gives a Cluck? steps in. They rescue these chickens and find them forever homes.

I asked Julie ‘How can I be more ethical if I want to eat eggs?’

She said there are solutions, ‘Firstly, never buy eggs from the big supermarket chains, buy them from a market, from the producer, and ask the question about what happens to the chickens when they are no longer commercially viable.

‘If you have to buy from a shop, then buy local and contact the egg company, asking them the same question. Tell those producers about Who gives a Cluck?,’ says Julie.

‘We WANT the farms to give us their chickens so we can re-home them with an approved hen-parent – who will give them a forever home, regardless of their egg-laying ability.


‘As a hen-parent you may not get an egg a day per chicken, but with five to six chickens you will probably get around two eggs every day, on average, from your flock and save five to six lives.’

Julie imagines a world where, instead of people buying newly-hatched pullets, every ex-farm hen will have a home to go to. Once there, they will fertilise your garden with their poo, eat pests, veggie scraps, egg shells, old yoghurt and milk, and contribute to the mental health of their human parents.

Hen-parenting not for you?

Who Gives a Cluck? has just achieved charity status. For $7 you can re-home a chicken and give back to the charity, helping with the costs of food, medicines and accommodation. In a few weeks they will have DGR status (donor gift recipient), which means that you can donate and receive a tax break.

Their online shop will be ready in one month, selling everything hen-worthy; including tried and tested herbal remedies for chickens, and offering workshops, as well as many other things. Even if you can’t look after chickens at home, there is always a need for volunteers, for the rescue and clean-up days at the ridge-top property in Main Arm.

To get involved in making the world a better place, one cluck at a time, contact Who Gives a Cluck’ via E: [email protected] PH: 0428 335 766 FB: www.facebook.com/whogivesacluck.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Her name was not “Chicken Little” but way back on the other side of the fence when the fires were roaring last year a little red hen roamed and wandered down from the hills to my home and took up residence there. She unruffled her feathers in a roost on the top of an outdoor clothes rack, under a shelter from the wind and rain. I looked out from the book I was reading and took a squiz and being a bit potty, “gee whiz” I put a flower pot up there, filled it with straw, and she settled down and started laying eggs in it, every day.

  2. Thankyou Julie
    You have warmed my little chook loving heart. Am going to adopt a chook.
    Have lately been buying beautiful eggs from a man at Thora who has 2 Marammas to guard his chook so they never have to get locked up.
    I will ask him what happens after they stop laying every day. Great story and thankyou Echo.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Caravan park to pay $2.3mil plus to consumers

The NSW Court of Appeal has upheld the Supreme Court’s decision arising from the sale of the movable dwellings located on waterfront sites along the Tweed River.

Government modelling fails to reflect women’s interrupted careers

New research to be released this week analyses two decades of Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to estimate the actual labour force experience of women over their life and accounts for working when super is not paid.

Ballina cleans up!

Clean Up Australia Day was a great success in Ballina, with the beach clean up event organised by Ballina Coastcare yesterday attracting twenty volunteers.

Lismore future councillor information sessions

With the delayed Local Government elections being held in September, several councils, including Lismore City Council, are holding information sessions for community members who are thinking about running for Council.