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Digital Subscriptions > Chickens > January/February 2019 > DOWN UNDER Mates

DOWN UNDER Mates

We say chicken, while Australians say chook. Despite this, we have a lot in common when it comes to our clucky companions.
MASTERSKY/SHUTTERSTOCK

You never know where you might meet — and learn from — a fellow chicken lover. My husband and I were 8,000 miles away from our Washington state hobby farm, visiting Australia for the first time. From the moment we stumbled stiff and jet-lagged off the plane, I’d marveled at everything new and different. The delightful accents! The fragrant eucalyptus trees! The bouncing kangaroos, snoozing koalas and shrieking cockatoos!

Now, camping on beautiful Kangaroo Island, I learned an Australian slang word from my new Australian friend, Judy Humphrys, a word to add to a fun and expanding list that included brekkie (breakfast), esky (cooler), mozzie (mosquito), snag (sausage) and, of course, barbie (barbecue). I’d just told her about our farm and mentioned that I kept five Barred Rock chickens.

“Chooks,” she corrected with a smile. “Here in Australia, we call them chooks.”

It turned out that Judy and her husband Rodger had each grown up on farms, toting chickens — I mean, chooks — around under their arms as kids. After marrying in 1965, they’d kept hundreds of chooks on their own farm. Now retired, the couple tended four Hy-Line Brown hens on their suburban lot in Dulwich, a suburb of Adelaide, South Australia.

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