For those of you who have a limitation on space or just want to try something a little different, perhaps quail are something to try.
They are small, quite manageable and provide both eggs and meat, albeit in a somewhat smaller package.
There are several species of quail that are easily obtained and from my experience they all lay quite well.
I have Japanese quail at the moment and they lay about 200 eggs a year and while they are quite small compared to chook eggs they are a perfect size for salads after boiling. They also provide good eating and the excess males are perfect for the pot if you're that way inclined.
Quail are ground birds and just need the basic things that all birds like, good shelter, dust baths, food and water. Quail eat all types of poultry mash and small seeds so they fit in well into a poultry yard.
They usually keep to trios or three females to a male and keep the males to a minimum if you have a few groups as they do fight and over mate with the females.
They also appreciate a bit of protection in the pen, a place to hide and perhaps, if you're into the gardening a few well protected plants. My quail also eat the same greens as the chooks and this makes things easy. For extras you can give them some finch mix or cut a square of soil to put in the pen which will have some 'extras' that keep them healthy.
Quail tend to lay on the ground but from experience the eggs are quite hard and solid which means they don't break and I have never had them eaten by other quail. They lay in little depressions they make which is also handy. One thing to watch for is the door when you enter as they are very quick and can dart through to get into those wide open spaces.
Quail are very friendly and do make easily managed pets for the children if they are handled gently from an early age.
One final note this issue, as I type this on a 40-plus degree day, please remember in the hot weather that your poultry need plenty of cool water and they don't like to get into the sun to get to the water.
Commiserations also to those fanciers who have lost birds in the bushfires that have decimated the country. It is heartbreaking to lose birds and the genetics cannot be replaced in many instances, but I'm relieved that no fanciers to my knowledge were injured or worse.