They Grow Like Weeds

Despite odds being 50/50 for sex on chicks I’ve hatched myself, I always name them all with girls names. It’s my own bit of superstition, but genetics aren’t much influenced by superstition and as such in fairly certain I have two pullets and two cockerels.

Our pullets:

Felicia

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Idris

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And our bold young cockerels:

Milo (formerly known as Milla)

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And Finally, Dame Edna (whose name doesn’t need changing)

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Teenagers of all creatures look equally awkward. Add to it that Idris and Edna are surprise frizzles and the awkward trips from gangling into clownishly cute! I will be heartbroken if we end up needing to part with either Milo or Edna. They are mere weeks old, and they already feel like family.

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Our Newest Additions

A week ago we hatched some cochin chicks out of eggs purchased from Aarron Hunsinger. If you ever fall in love with bantam Cochins the way I have, I highly recommend getting in touch with him. He breeds several gorgeous lines of Cochins and sells his hatching eggs at the best deal I’ve yet to see.

We had a very tough couple of months during which we lost three of our favorite birds, each under different and devastating circumstances. When Aarron offered up some hatching eggs, I knew it would be a good way to salve my broken heart.

Out of 29 eggs, 10 hatched. For eggs laid in winter and then shipped from Pennsylvania to California, that’s a pretty good ratio. I have no need for 10 new birds, so I split the hatch with another local urban homesteader, and kept only 4 for myself.

Meet Edie (aka Dame Edna)

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Her passions include standing in the water dish, looking fabulous in blue, and sleeping in people’s scarves. She’s the oldest of the bunch but young at heart.

Next meet Idris

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Idris is a messy girl but makes it look cute. She loves sleeping in the food dish, wearing heavy eyeliner, and is always first to check out anything new.

Here comes Felicia.

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Felicia is the baby of the bunch. She is smaller and younger, but don’t let that fool you. She can scream her head off if she’s unhappy and is only happy when her twin sister is nearby.

Speaking of, here she is. Meet Milla

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Milla is a fierce little red head and is always looking out for her sister, Felicia. She loves staring out the window and long walks on the coffee table at sunset.

Chicken Math and the Story of How I Ended Up With 18 Chickens

A little over a year ago I was given a pair of bantams by a friend who couldn’t keep the cockerel. They were a beautiful pair of Mille Fleur D’Uccle bantams. We used to have chickens when I was a kid, but the coop was pretty run down. These bantams were never going to lay much and we had gotten hooked on the idea that maybe we could raise chickens for eggs. With me working at a feed store, that seemed the natural next step. So I signed up to get three chicks in the next order. Three layers seemed perfect for a four person household that didnt go through a lot of eggs.

My little cousin Lotte collects Eggs for the first time.

My little cousin Lotte collects Eggs for the first time.

On chick day I went in and discovered that there were two more chicks that hadn’t been claimed so I went home with 5 instead of three. No big deal. Especially since one of the turned out to be a rooster a few months later. Before we even knew he was a roo, he had been dubbed with the prophetic name, Dinner. That’s just what became of him since we already had a rooster we loved.

Shortly thereafter, a friend had to give up his elderly hens because he was moving. Thus 6 became 10 because free chickens don’t count, right?

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Of those four new ones, two were bullies to my bantams so they went right back out! but it turned out soon after that I had been mistaken and it was actually two other ones that were bullying my little ones. Meanwhile my mother had discovered the existence of black orpingtons and was totally in love so as I reduced my flock yet again, I started a search and found someone who had one, along with some other special breeds I was in love with. We intended to get three birds from her, but there was a discount if we get four! So four it was. Back to 10 birds again.

Black Orpingtons have the most beautiful soft iridescent feathers.

Black Orpingtons have the most beautiful soft iridescent feathers.

Life was grand and the flock was noisey. We got complaints about the rooster crowing so we were finally and tragically forced to get rid of the little man who started off our grand chicken adventure. We were heartbroken and to salve our wounded hearts, we put fertile eggs into an incubator in hopes that his progeny would live on in our flock. We decided to make room for them and culled our flock down to 4 again, but 21 days is a long time to wait and in that time I arranged for 4 pullets from a friend who is a show bantam breeder. Two cochins and two silkies to keep my one bullied bantam company.

My new fawn Old English Game Bantam looks almost like a little dove.

My new fawn Old English Game Bantam looks almost like a little dove.

7 little ones hatched! Hurrah! A couple weeks later my pullets are ready for pickup and I head out to his coop-yard. I fall in love left and right and 4 becomes 7.

 

So heres the math:

2 free birds + 3 chicks= 7

7 – 1 rooster=10

10 -2 bullies= 6

6 + 1 orpington= 10

10 – 1 rooster= 11

11 + 4 bantams= 18 chickens in my flock!

 

I think that makes me officially chicken crazy.

Kip loves to sit on her brood-momma's, Georgie's,  back.

Kip loves to sit on her brood-momma’s, Georgie’s, back, and Georgie loves my lap!