From the sheep’s back to the chicken’s dander. The changing face of Australian agriculture.

shorn sheep at Kildare's shearing shed

Around 1,000 sheep were shorn in this shearing shed last summer, and somewhat sadly, they signalled the end of “Kildare’s” wool production era.

As I walk through this Australian icon, I can’t help but feel the sense of history, and imagine the hub of life and hard work that must have taken place in it, year after year after year. I’m sure the walls have so many tales to tell. When I look out our kitchen window and see the shearing shed, I sometimes think how others before me must have felt at shearing time, knowing they had to prepare food to fuel the workers. Maybe I’m just a romantic, but as we are now stewards of this long established property, I feel a sense of respect for the families who loved and nurtured it before us, and their tales of joy and sadness.

But this post is actually about the changing face of agriculture, and how we converted a shearing shed to brood chickens.

shearing  area

After much consideration about leaving things intact in case we ever need to shear again, we decided to dismantle the stands and begin conversion of the northern side of the shed.

shearing shed conversion stands removed

The chutes were left intact and the lining began.

shearing shed conversion flooring

The existing northern louvres help warm the brooding area, and let in natural light and ventilation.

Shearing shed northern window

Only had to replace a few and a great opportunity to photograph that view.

shearing shed conversion easten door

As always, the kids made the most of any ready-made fun.

Shearing shed conversion ceiling

The ceiling took some grunt.

Shearing shed doors

These must be saved. I’m thinking full of character and would look lovely in a farm cafe, Michael’s not.

Shearing shed

Shearing shed  sharpener

It’s not easy to get this boy to sit down to do school work, so I’m calling this a history lesson. Dad did explain the sharpening system in detail because he use to be a shearer, way back when he was a young man.


The gas arrives.

shearing shed brooding surround

Found another use for Ag BELT. But couldn’t find the rest of the bell drinkers (positive they’d come in one of the loads).

The brooder surround is now removed and we are very happy with the environment. We have also found our bell drinkers, fitted a small header tank and plumbed and hung them. Our first brooded chickens at “Kildare” will hit the paddock in a bit over a week.

shearing shed northern run first post hole

Like many Australian shearing sheds, this one has hosted a few family parties and dances in its time, but I wonder if the people who built it ever imagined chicken brooding? The changing face of Australian agriculture can be a good thing, as long as we learn from our history and our hard working pioneers.



  1. Kathryn

    This is a wonderful post, thank you so much for sharing!

    Laura Dalrymple M: 0409 929 896

    Feather and Bone T: 02 9818 2717 Unit 8, 10-14 Lilian Fowler Place Marrickville, NSW 2204


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