16-year-old Christian Weinhold raises chickens in Gross Buchholz

Hanover.When Curry suspects pasta is in, she can hardly be stopped. Even if she already had something else on her mind. “It’s lewd,” says Christian Weinhold soberly. “She wants to raise and raise chicks,” he explains when asked. If a rooster ensured that its eggs were also fertilized, Curry’s hens would sit on them for 21 days and hatch them, like the 16-year-old recreational breeders from Gross Buchholz explained.

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Nine chickens frolic in Weinhold Park

But neither cock nor offspring. Thus the silky curry chicken Teffe snatches the food out of the nutrition, because Tiffy and Chamson are more delicate and younger than Curry, Manfred, Maggie, Keira, Hedwig, Dasha and Irmchen. This puts them at the bottom of the selection order. On the other hand, silken chicken is also more tender and bland than the tough, robust Forwerk chicken, which also includes curry. By the way, “they have nothing to do with the vacuum cleaner,” explains the young breeder. Nine hens in the garden, two chicks in the kitchen and four hens at his small breeding club Hannover Cleveland (KTZV) – ranging in age from three weeks to two years – belong to the Weinhold family. The frying pan is not doomed. “It’s only when someone gets sick that they should be compensated,” Christian says.

Thin: Silky Samson chicken is also smaller and gentler than Forverek chicken.

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The old song: “I wish I was a chicken” I loved you sing here. While the chickens and silky guards peck, toss and scratch around their approximately 80 to 100 square meter chicken coop, visitors continue to stand at the garden fence to enjoy the town’s small chicken farm. “The children of the day care center are happy to come within a few metres,” says Andrea Weinhold, Christian’s mother.

“Our eggs taste so much better”

When you see these chickens, you no longer want to think about the tired “colleagues” from factory farming. “We can’t eat traditional eggs anymore, it’s not possible,” says the 48-year-old mum. You can see how chickens are enjoying their lives on the site in Groß-Buchholz. “There are hollows out there, they dig holes, they like to scratch.” If you know that chickens on industrial farms can’t do this, you can no longer eat their eggs or meat. “Plus, our eggs taste much better and the color of the yolks is more intense,” says Andrea Weinhold.

Scratching Freely: The Weinhold family's Furwerk chicken delights in fresh eggs every day.

Scratching Freely: The Weinhold family’s Furwerk chicken delights in fresh eggs every day.

Whether it’s Manfred, Carrie or Samson – all 16-year-old Christian hens in the family garden are female. In the breeding club he has three and one rooster. The young can also support the family from the egg crop. He mentioned when the reporter visited that the chickens laid seven eggs on that day alone. Forwerk hens and Silky hens come to 180 hens each year.

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Christian is also born as a rare Cropper in Gross Buchholz

Christian says that when he buys his animals, he pays attention to the sex. Of course, it has no effect on what comes out of breeding. And so there is also a rooster in the house: he is three weeks old and lives with his sister in a large cardboard box under a heat lamp in the Weinholds kitchen. By the large table, where there are still delicious scrambled eggs from the hens of Forwerk, the two Westphalian Cropper chicks whistle when Christian picks them up tenderly.

Still a chick: the rooster on the left, the hen on the right, and proud owner Christian in the middle.  Crooks are very rare, but much stronger than domestic chickens.

Still a chick: the rooster on the left, the hen on the right, and proud owner Christian in the middle. Crooks are very rare, but much stronger than domestic chickens.

“They are very rare, perhaps I am the only one in Hanover who breeds them. The next lives in North Rhine-Westphalia.” These animals are more robust, but they do not have the same egg productivity as traditional chickens. It is an honor to raise a 16-year-old Cropper, who can live up to ten years, because their parents live in club rooms.

Christian, who also owns a fish tank, says, “Keeping chickens is relaxing, and it brings you closer to nature. In fact, he would like to own other animals like ducks and quails, just ‘necessarily being a dog or a cat.’”

Chicken farmers should know this

If you want to raise chickens, you also have to protect them. Christian Weinhold’s Krüper, for example, has been vaccinated three times. The law requires only one vaccination of special chickens, the mandatory “Newcastle Disease” (ND) vaccination.

In fact, the hobby of chickens requires investment only at the beginning, when a suitable coop is needed. It is cleaned every 1-2 weeks. The animals are fed on leftovers such as pasta or leftover apples, and a 25kg bag of grain for around €20 lasts four to six weeks.

Chickens can also go out in the winter, although they do not like snow and wet cold very much. “In the summer you can’t get them to sleep, so on the perch in the chicken coop, in the winter they come out late and come back early,” says Andrea Weinhold, mother of young breeder Christian. The Weinhold family does not have any eggs in the winter. “We don’t have artificial light, and they need 16 hours of light a day to lay eggs,” her son says.

If you also want to raise chickens, it is better to go to the local chicken breeders’ association, where you can get all the information you need. Christian’s association can be found at www.kvk-hannover-kleefeld.de.

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15 year old breeder

In the kid-and-animal-friendly family, it seems perfectly normal for a 16-year-old to be practically a chicken baron. Christian says he really wanted to have poultry from an early age. “I’ve been bugging my dad about it for seven years.” He was noticed by his father’s ex-president, who was a member of the board of directors of the Breed Club, and invited the boy to come. “Now I’m there every day,” Christian says. He’s been raising chickens for three years and himself for a year – and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to describe him as a traveling encyclopedia of chickens.

Fear of fatal beats

“His friends can’t do much with it,” Christian says of his hobby of chicken. But his girlfriend can also get something from the animals and take care of them when the family is on vacation. “The main thing is to close the doors in the evening,” stresses the student at Ludwig Windhorst School. Because the dangers of wild animals are also lurking in the city: raccoons, foxes and martens love to eat chickens and their offspring.

But sometimes all the protective devices are useless. In the spring of 2021, four out of seven chicks were caught by a quail or raccoon. “He bit their heads off,” Andrea Weinhold says angrily. “The whole tribe of 60 animals was taken away from one of her fellow clubmates,” Christian says. Only one survived.

Dangerous background: If animals are not well secured at night, they can fall victim to chickens, raccoons, or foxes.

Dangerous background: If animals are not well secured at night, they can fall victim to chickens, raccoons, or foxes.

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Neighbors are happy when chickens come to their garden

Reason enough to protect chickens – even if they have minds of their own. “They always run away and then go out in the neighborhood,” Andrea Weinhold says. But the neighbors remained calm and excited. In the neighborhood you already know the animals and from time to time write a short message that a Vorwerk Manfred or Tiffy’s silky chicken has been seen in someone else’s garden. Even if chickens pursue one of their favorite pastimes and dig green onions like daffodils or crocuses, indulgence is generally shown. “Then we move on with the eggs and the new onions and everything will be fine,” says Christian’s mother, smiling. The chicken will come back on its own anyway. “They know exactly where they belong.”

On the chick: This is where the chicken sleeps at night.

On the chick: This is where the chicken sleeps at night.

Even if chicken is his passion: Christian doesn’t want to turn his hobby into an after-school job. He wants to be a carpenter. “Maybe I’ll build nice chicken coops then.”

By Petra Ruckerl

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