EASTER EGGER ROO
I had newly hatched chicks when I went past the feed store and they had a kiosk of chicks out front. I was waiting for the hay/feed guy to bring out my order when I decided to splurge on a few chicks as well. I favor Easter Eggers as they look like a hawk-like version of just about anoy other breed, and they lay colored eggs - blue, green or pink.
I’d started chosing chicks when the guy finished loading my car. He came over and chose this chick. It was mostly white and I thought it would grow up to be boring to look at. I also thought it would be a hen, since they were only selling hen chicks. So, not so much.
He’s beautiful, prettier than this photo shows and has a lovely rose comb. All of his dark feathers are iridescent and he has a LOT of color on the rest of his body. I’m curious to see what his progeny will look like, and they will likely lay colored eggs depending on the hen.
Sure, he not what I expected, he’s exceeded that already. I was at the feed store today and I thanked the guy who chose him for me.
Supposed to be a pullet
When I was choosing Ameracauna [hen] chicks at the feed store, the man working at the store got involved. He was all excited about the color of this chick. I didn’t have Ameracaunas that were not golden/black in color so I thought what the heck, and took it. While I was away, it was here on the farm maturing enough to show it’s true colors. It’s a pretty bird yes, but it’s not a hen, he’s a rooster.*
*Roosters are raining down on me from the heavens…oh my!
This is my smallest rooster, a Nankin. This is an unommon breed today, but it’s an old breed, likely originating in China and popular in Europe as far back as the 16th century.
These are little birds about the size of a blue jay…maybe 9 or 10 inches long by 7 or 8 inches tall. For chickens they have unusually large wings relative to their body weight so they can fly well and from an early age, but they aren’t flighty by nature. As it is naturally a tiny breed, some say the smallest, many popular bantam breeds were created by breeding down a standard size chicken with a Nankin.
I bought this breed because they are frequently broody and will brood quail eggs. I keep quail. Win-win.
I am surprised however, what a joy these little guys have turned out to be. As chicks they are TINY, all yellow each with a black dot on the top of their head. Grown the hens are a buff color with black wing tips, the roosters a rich caramel color with black /irridescent green sickles on their tail.They have odd slate legs with white toe nails…looks like a woman wearing blue stockings and white shoes.
The hens are a little reserved, but the roosters do this little happy dance whenever I come out to feed or visit them and they are surprisingly friendly, trusting birds. I let them out to run around while I clean the cage or am feeding and they never go far and key to this — recapturing them is easy. I can’t leave them out as the cats will kill them.
I came out into the yard this evening to give the chickens a treat and noticed that the Leghorn Rooster, the one I call Beauty, was falling all over the place. Then I noticed that he had something some kind of string caught around his legs. He still hopped pretty well and it took me a bit to catch him, but once I did he relaxed in my arms and let me bring him in the house, where I could get a better look.
The string was about three feet long and completely fouled around of his legs. It was starting to cut off his circulation. There was some swelling which made it harder to remove. He seemed to realize that I was trying to help him, and didn’t fight me at all as I worked slowly to free of his legs. It was really slow work with one hand, a paring knife and a pair of scissors, but I finally got both legs free.
Afterward he sat on my lap for awhile, but he’s a nervous guy and started to get agitated, so I brought him out to the flock again. I watched him, and he seemed to be walking fine and not in a great deal of pain. I just checked on him and he on his regular perch balanced at the highest spot - atop the wooden coop inside the greenhouse. Disaster averted I’m hoping.
I am a little anxious what will happen to the flock while I’m traveling, but there nothing I can do about that. It will be in the house sitter’s hands and I have to trust that he’ll do his best to keep everyone alive. :)
AMERACAUNA PULLET* - 18weeks old
I just love the markings on this bird. And since i”m having a shitty Monday, I thought that I’d let her brighten up my dashboard, the same way she brightens up my yard. I know that my friends think I’m chicken crazy, but I can’t tell you how peaceful and calming it has been having these little teeny-tiny dinosaurs wandering around the place.
*Pullet is just the name for a chicken that is not laying eggs yet. When she lays, her eggs will be green/blue or pink. And she sill be a hen. :)
Beware of the BROODY HEN (in this case a Cornish Cross)
Broodiness is a tricky thing in hens - it’s kind of like PMS. All the hen wants to do is eat chocolate and watch Lifetime TV. Seriously, all she wants to do is sit on eggs. All day, every day for 3 or 4 weeks. She stops eating and leaves the next once a day to poop and take a quick dust bath, if there’s time. She will always choose the choicest spot for laying and fight off all the other hens to remain in place.Eventually they will just pile on top of her, lay their egg and leave.
Here’s the tricky part. If you want a hen to hatch out eggs, she must be broody to sign on for the job. The broodier, the better.
And if you don’t want her to brood, and boot her off the nest, then you have a pissed off hen like the one pictured. Flushed with hormones and no where to go, she will raise her feathers, lower her head and hiss at you. Or some flying at you to ward you off.
This is Waddles McGhee
© Laura Quick
She’s a beautifully marked Gold Laced Cochin and a *huge* pain in the ass. All of the other hens come running when I go outside, on the odd chance that I have a treat for them. Not Waddles, no, instead, she’s in the garden lazily spinning circles in a dust bath, far to busy to pay me any mind.
If I want to go somewhere during the day, all I need is a slice of watermelon or a bunch of parsley to get the hens rushing into their pen. All except Waddles - no, she’s found a fascinating oak leaf to peck at on the patio.
Every night, the hens dutifully turn in at dusk and take their proper spots on the roost, but not Waddles. I have to chase her fuzzy butt around the yard after dusk to make sure that she hasn’t chosen a roosting spot that is likely to get her eaten.
Never have I worked so hard to save an animal, from herself. :)
Broody Brahma Mama
I have had the distinct pleasure of having three of my 12 hens go broody all at the same time. So, although I already bought chicks, these hormonally possessed hens have each been given 10 eggs to hatch. We’ll see how it goes. The Cornish was initially stealing eggs from the Cochin and rolling them into her nest. I have no idea whether or not those will be viable. This hen, my favorite Brahma, is a SERIOUS mama-to-be. She’s been awesome so far. The eggs are Astralorp, Golden Sex Link and Black Sex Link. Fingers crossed that some of the eggs hatch. I haven’t been around hatching eggs since 2nd grade. :) With any luck we’ll see chicks June 11-13. Squeeeeeee!
A TOUGH DAY ON THE MICRO-FARM
Here’s our Ameracauna hen Orange Blossom, so named by Kevin’s seven year old niece, Ivana. Orange Blossom died today at about 7 months old. Sadly, she wasn’t built properly for egg-laying and there really wasn’t anything that could be done to help her. She laid large, beautiful, blue eggs that were just too big for her body to handle.
She was a really beautiful, if somewhat flighty bird. The bird beside her is Mrs. Bossypants, they were raised together and an inseparable pair. Bossypants stayed with her until the end. RIP Orange Blossom, you will be missed. ©Qdesign/Laura Quick