Remember, they’re chickens, not people.
They eat garbage, worms, bugs, small snakes, mice, bread, fruit, veggies, goat chips and stuff you wouldn’t touch with gloves on — find seeds in manure, love the compost pile where you dumped last week’s garbage, mold and all.
They eat their own eggs if they break one and discover it’s food, and will eat each other, dead or alive, and they’ll try to eat you too if you stand there with a bleeding cut. And they thrive on it. They’re not much different from alligators in a lot of ways, they’re survivors.
Hello, my name is Laura and I have a chicken addiction.
This time of year I pour myself a glass of wine, relax in the bat tub and pour over the new poultry catalogs that arrive in the mail. [hey, don’t judge]. Such cool breeds of chickens—look at these beauties!! The top is an Appenzeller Spitzhauben, even the name is cool. The lower is a Cream Brabanter*. both have those awesome hairdos. Gotta have those - then there are blue chickens - Blue Andalusians and Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, and of course the patterned birds - Red Caps, Partridge Wyandottes, Penciled Hamburgs, gotta have some of those!
Buying chickens online gives you the best breed choices, but the high minimum order has me just about doubling my flock. Imma gonna hafta get some fencing installed between now and the end of May of decide to sell off some birds.
Hopefully, I’m not going to end up one of those crazy ladies hoarding chickens.
I do believe that my birds were once called “Mollycoddled” by someone here on Tumblr. :)
*Brabanters are of the oldest breeds of Dutch origin with evidence of its existence dating as far back as the early 1500’s. Source Also their photo.
**Spitzhaubens also called Silver Spangled Spitzhaubens. The breed was named after the ladies’ lace bonnets of Appenzellerland. The word “spitzhauben” means pointed bonnet. Source Also their photo.
P.S. I like the photo bomb by the Shiba Inu dog in the lower photo
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.
BLACK STAR ROOSTER
aka Black Sex Link
Back in February, I ordered a slew of day-old chicks from a mid-western hatchery. It was my first time ordering chicks online. Along with the order, the hatchery included 7 additional roosters, “for warmth.” I was irritated about this as my order already included my first rooster ever, and now I had 8 roosters to contend with.
I thought that they were American Barred Rocks (or Amrocks), an immensely popular American breed. I do have a half dozen Barred Hens, they are good layers and full of personality. I found a Godsend (via my chicken list) who took four of the roosters off my hands. I ended up keeping three. As they grew, they’ve all developed small patches of brown feathers, and the feathering around their necks is cream colored and not white. I’d google Barred Rock rooster and mine didn’t look like the results. Turns out they are Black Stars.
Black Stars, are also called Black Sex Links. They are a cross between a Rhode Island or New Hampshire rooster (both red) and a Barred Rock (black and white striped) hen. The chicks look different at birth which makes sexing the birds easy. The hens are solid black, the roosters striped. I have Black Star hens (they develop reddish chests as they grow up and are pretty), but hadn’t given their counterparts a thought. These roosters are Black Stars.
The guy I’m holding in the photo is my favorite of the Black Star Roosters. He’s mellow, well-behaved. He’ll be leaving my flock in the next week or two. I’ve found someone to adopt him.
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!
So, while I was traveling in Europe, “Dude” my house sitter thought it was cool that one of the hens became broody and started sitting on a clutch of eggs. These 8 chicks, of unknown parentage, are the result. They are cute as can be and thriving, though I really didn’t need any more birds. Since I don’t know what breeds they are, I’m not certain that I can sex them as chicks and I’m already maxed out on roos. Side note: The gold chick on the far left has feathered feet and looks like a Buff Brahma - a plus as they are my favorite breed.
Six for a Saturday Afternoon
- I missed the Friday Tumblr outtage entirely as I drove round trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco which killed an impressive amount of time (350+ miles each direction). Now, I may have to drive back again…such is my life these days. Family. Oy! As an aside I can’t recall the last time my sister and I had a civil conversation. Every call recently has devolved into a screaming match and ends with her hanging up on me.
- I’m shuffling chicken pens…this may or may not be a big mistake, more on that in the next day or two. I’ve done this with hens several times, but never with roosters…If I end up going back north immediately, this could spell disaster.
- In the 6 weeks I’ve been away, rodents have discovered the house to be a huge playground with a dog and two l-a-z-y cats to scurry around. From the *gifts* they’ve left behind, I can tell they have been EVERYWHERE. Now that I’m here again, the big ole party is at an end and they are being forced to choose - the can move on to greener pastures, or head on over to rat heaven. HEPA mask to wear while disinfecting the house is the order of the day. Gross.
- I still have no hot water, but I now have a new hot water heater in a box out in the yard, so I’m *this* close to having hot water again. Yeah. Rethinking my insurance carrier as my deductible is $1000. $1000? I can’t think of a single thing in my house that would cost $1000 to replace, or that my insurance *would* replace. I trust that they have considered this as well. On the upside, having no hot water has gotten me back to the gym - at least to take a shower :)
- “Dude”, my neighbor thought it was cool that one of the hens got broody and started sitting in eggs. As a result, I have 8 new chicks. 3 yellow, 5 black. Figuring out what species they are is tougher than it seems. Two could be Buff Brahma crosses which would make me very happy. Brahmas are the BEST birds…
- Driving up and down Interstate 5, the most boring drive ever, I’ve had lots of time to think about my friend Evan, who died back in August. When we were in high school his key club installed signs along the freeway identifying the crop being grown. There’s still a stretch where the signs are still hanging. It’s bittersweet seeing them. He buried in CA. I may make a trip to say goodbye.
DANISH BROWN LEGHORN Rooster @12 weeks
This is the only rooster I’ve ever intentionally purchased. He’s got so much color coming out and his gorgeous but is so very, very flighty. I don’t know if he’ll ever calm down. He runs around the pen shrieking if he finds himself stuck in a corner, or if there’s another bird in his way, or if something moves suddenly and startles him. Argh! Plus he steps on the other birds and is starting to pull feathers even though he gets plenty of protein in his diet. I think I’m going to give the other birds a break and move him, along with his 5 hens into another pen where they can live in their normal state — panic mode.
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!
Danish Brown Leghorn - 4 weeks ©Laura Quick
This is a Danish Brown Leghorn, considered by some to be the most beautiful breed of chicken, you wouldn’t think so from this photo. I think that chicks reach their full gangly teen potential at about 4 weeks. They are busy losing their down and replacing it with feathers, and little eating machines that are growing like weeds. SO they look ratty and their feet are too big and they are starting to sprout combs and waddles. So, here’s a chick only a mother could love.