BYC Member Interview - JaeG



Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
Jessica, known to BYC members as JaeG, has been a member of our community since September, 2014. Another of our wonderful all rounders, she is known for her friendliness and good advice.

1. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

My name is Jessica but my family calls me ‘J’ as my Mum always hated anyone shortening my name to Jess or Jessie (which people do seem to naturally do). One of my husband’s friends even thought my name was ‘Jae’ until she got the wedding invitation as that's what he'd introduce me as!

I live in New Zealand and I love it here. I was brought up on a farm until the age of 5 1/2 years old when we moved into town. That has cemented my love of animals and I’ve always had pets. My husband and I have been married for 12 years and we have two children, a 7 year old son and a 10 year old daughter. I home school them after our daughter struggled at school with bullying. It is our intention to move to the country as soon as we can (we are renovating our current house at present) and the kids and I have big plans about the animals we’d like to keep.

I enjoy reading, writing, drawing (not that there’s much time for those things around kids and animals), baking, breeding birds, and hand rearing birds (I’ve hand reared finches, bourkes parakeets and cockatiels).

2. Why and when did you start keeping chickens?

Originally I’d wanted ducks but at the time our particular area of the city didn’t allow ducks (everywhere else you could have them). So we got the chickens in 2015, sometimes driving quite a distance to get the particular breeds I wanted (now we just drive great distances to pick up Bourkes parakeets or Button quail)! And I’m glad we did as they are sweet little things. I especially love our bantams - they are my absolute favourites.

3. Which aspect(s) of chicken keeping do you enjoy the most?

I love the greeting they give you every time you go down to feed them. And, strangely, I love cleaning them out as they so often want to help and it’s always lovely to have them looking all clean and fresh. We have hatched chicks once (bantams of course) under some of our broody bantams, only because the breeder was happy to take back cockerels, and that was an awesome experience. I can't wait until we can do that again! For now I make do with hatching quail, which is a lot of fun too.

4. Which members of your flock, past and present, stand out for you and why?

We recently lost our first two chickens, our two most beloved Old English Game Bantams. They both died very suddenly (but at separate times). Their names were Anna and Pixie. Anna was tiny even by OEGB standards and she had blue legs. She barely laid an egg in her life but she was so sweet and friendly despite the fact she (and Pixie) were bought as pullets from a breeder who doesn’t handle his birds. Pixie was equally as sweet and I miss the conversations we used to have. Why is it always your favourites?!

5. What was the funniest (chicken related) thing(s) that happened to you in your years as chicken owner?

When our dear Pixie was inside with chicks (she was a brilliant mother) I moved the couch one day only to find the biggest cockroach you have ever seen. I can handle most bugs, but not cockroaches! I nearly had a fit but my ever reliable little Pixie took great delight in leaping out of her cage to run it down then proceeded to excitedly “chook, chook” and share it with her chicks. You have no idea how glad I was that Pixie was right there to save me!

6. Beside chickens, what other pets do you keep?

Haha - where do I start!? We have a dog, Honey. Three cats, Daisy, Lily and Mistletoe (who is deaf and half blind and hilarious because she’s so different). Then there are 6 Bourkes, Pinkie Pie, Lucky, Daffodil, Rosie, Ruby Red, and Granite. We also have a pair of ringneck doves, Tilly and Dilly. We have 7 Fawn Java finches, more Society finches than I can count at the moment, including two dear little ones that were abandoned at 2 weeks old so were my first hand reared finches (first hand reared birds in fact). They still take great delight in jumping all over me and pulling my hair! Then we have Coturnix quail and many Button quail (I’ve recently hatched out 33 with more pipping as I type). We also have 4 young cockatiels that I have hand reared, Chilly, Dottie, Neon and Hawkmoth.


Honey, who is always ready for a game


Lily who has huge eyes and ears


Daisy who adores my husband - her face used to be darker but our very hot summer has made her lighten up a lot


Mistletoe who is fierce and feisty, but also sweet and cuddly (to me at least)


Chilly who is mellowing into a very sweet, snuggly boy (excuse the food on his face)


Dotti who is a gorgeous madam of a bird (she's so hard to get a photo of because she's always on me demanding attention)!


Hawkmoth, my big, cuddly girl (who does not like sharing when it comes to head scratches, and you have to see both sides of her as she is so puffy and pretty)


Neon who was injured in the nest by his first time parents who then stopped feeding him so he was a poor starving thing when he came to me - gorgeous now though despite his slightly funny walk.

7. Anything you'd like to add?

I love this site and learn something new every day. I love helping people and sharing my experiences and keeping birds of any kind is such a great hobby because you’ll never know all there is to know. I feel honoured to be part of such a friendly, supportive, knowledgeable community filled with so many lovely people.


And just for fun here's a cute Button quail I had to assist recently (Valentines Day in fact) - I didn't hold out much hope for it as it never once peeped at me when I talked to it once it had pipped (they like to know someone is there and are usually super chatty). After 24 hours it still hadn't progressed so I peeled back a bit of egg shell to see what was going on and could still see live veins. So I let it be overnight, making sure the membrane was well oiled where I'd exposed it. The next day still no progress! Still no response to my voice but it was still alive. I really didn't hold out much hope but in the afternoon I could see the membrane was getting tighter around it, despite being oiled down, and the chick was breathing more shallowly, so I had to try and help it. When its little wing peeled back and that big eye looked at me I was so glad I'd stepped in. It's a gorgeous little thing and perfectly perfect - it obviously just needed to take its time, and even then there was still a tiny bit of blood as I peeled back some of the shell. It just goes to show every situation is different and they are always finding something new to teach you.

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