I’m Cock of the Walk! Meet our Chickens

We’re still looking into the past as I catch you up on the Homestead’s first year of progress.  These pictures are from around September of last year, which is when our Girls joined us.

That’s right.  Girls.  Hens.  Seven of them.  No roosters (yet).  No dudes.  That makes me their dominant male influence.  Hence the totally appropriate – single entendre – title of this post.

Since we’ve mentioned them a few times already, we’re very late in making formal introductions.

Please meet:

General Burnside

1Burnside

The good General was about 18 weeks old when she moved in.

I decided on the name because our General Burnside is an Americauna (mutt – certainly not purebred).  Americaunas feature small tufts of feathers on either side of their neck.  She definitely reminds me of a specific Civil War officer who is hallowed in the halls of great facial hair.

You see it?

2Tufts

220px-Ambrose_Burnside2Thanks, Wikipedia

Yep, my chickie is a handsome lady.

A few days after I dubbed our General, I realized her tufts sorta also look like the iconic hairdo of a certain sexy, inter-galactic Rebel.  So I wanted to rename her Princess Layer.

The Wife said I was too late and there are apparently no take-backs on chicken names.

Sigh… what a waste.

Americaunas are very similar to Araucanas and the more common Easter Eggers.  All three lay greenish or bluish colored eggs. There are several differences, but in a nutshell Araucanas are “rumpless”, meaning they typically do not have prominent tail feathers. (Now we know Sir Mix-A-Lot’s least favorite poultry breed.) Easter Eggers are usually a vague mutt mix.  Most likely just like our beloved Burnside since she didn’t originate from a National Show.  She came from Craigslist.

By the way, the General turned out to be at the top of the pecking order… where she still reigns with iron talons.  Funny how that turned out.  I wonder if our naming had an influence?

Up next, please meet:

Curly

3Curly

Curly is a Blue Copper Maran and was also about 18 weeks old at the time.  Curly is currently our brooding mama (Update: fuzzball ETA at four days).  Her breed lays very dark, almost chocolate colored eggs.

By the way, I’m sparing you a lot of history, breeding, genetic disposition, and other information I’ve devoured about various poultry breeds.  I do so because The Wife promptly gets that eyes-glazed-over 1000 yard stare whenever I share it with her.  So I figure you also might just want a snippet and can research further if you’re interested.

For example, when I finished giving Joanna a twenty minute dissertation about this copper necked lovely, she shook the haze out of her head and said, “Wait, what is it called?  A Maran? I shall call him [sic] Curly.  Curly Moran [sic].  That dude from Veronica Mars.”

So there you go.  Curly.

Curly and General Burnside.  Best friends.  Peas in a pod… since they’re the same age and lived together before moving to their new Cluckingham Palace in our backyard.

Here was the trip down their old farm’s driveway.

8DuoFarm

And here they were nestled in ready to come home with me.

9DuoCage

 

Up next, say hello to:

The Young’ins

7TrioInside

Funny thing.  My wife has had a Food Blog for awhile and when the girls arrived, she ran a contest letting her readers have a chance at naming a bird.  You can go read all about the results here if you want to see what went into the names.

These two Rhode Island Reds and one Barred Plymouth Rock arrived a day after Curly and General Burnside from Chicken Purchasing Trip #2.  You can probably tell from the pictures they were a little younger than their coop-mates.  These three were about 12 weeks old.  They didn’t start earning their keep for quite awhile.

Both of these breeds are more common than the Maran or Americauna.  They are great producers and lay about an egg a day.

This trio is inseparable.  They’re always together.

They eat together.  They sleep snuggled together on the roost (a decent distance from Curly and the General).  They even enter and exit the coop as one.

15TrioCrowded

Apparently stepping all over each other is tiring, as this Red decided right in front of the door was a great place for a nap.

16Sleepy

Picking up The Young’ins was a more interesting trip.  This was a full fledged chicken production operation with several horse stalls that looked like this.

10TrioMill

As the baby chicks get older, they’re separated by breed.  Here is where I picked out our two Rhode Island Reds.

11RIRMill

All snuggled in for a short drive home.

13TrioCage

Last, here are:

Buffy & Faith

So originally I thought five birds would be perfect for us.  I decided on pullets (“teenage” female chickens less than a year old) as I didn’t want the work involved with raising chicks as we had a lot of inside house projects going on after moving.  Plus I wanted them rather young so they could hopefully acclimate to us and be friendly.

Well, after awhile, and definitely after all the work in buiding their coop, we got impatient for eggs.  So I went and picked up two 14 month old hens that were already laying.

Here’s our Golden Comet (Buffy) and Australorp (Faith).

Buffy

Buffy is by far our most “chicken-like chicken”.  She’s the most reliable layer and rarely misses a day.  She’s the first running out of the coop and the last in when it’s time to roost, scratching and eating everything she can.  This bird loves to be outside on grass even more than the others… which is saying something

Faith

Faith is a bit of a bully, although I’m pretty sure she’s only #3 in the pecking order.  She likes to put the Young’ins in their place.  Nothing serious, just a little reminder now and then.  I think Australorps are perhaps the most beautiful breed and I love seeing the green sheen in her feathers when the sun hits at the right angle.

So there you have it.

Everyone settled in immediately to do what they’re supposed to do.  They eat.  They scratch.  They drink.  They scratch.  They sleep.  They go downstairs.  They scratch. They go upstairs.

17CurlyLadder

18Door

Life is good.

Sometimes they get a little excitement. Guess who likes to hug chickens?  With his favorite bike helmet and designated chicken boots on?

This guy.

14ParkerChickens

Finally, it’s big question time: Can you eat animals you’ve named?   Joanna doesn’t think she’ll be able to when the time comes and I warned her against this path.

My beloved 91 year old grandmother can easily answer that question and gave us the following advice.  Her words? “You work ‘em. Then you eat ‘em.”

Perfect.  I love my Grandma.

Posted in Chickens
4 comments on “I’m Cock of the Walk! Meet our Chickens
  1. I enjoyed getting to know your flock and I love, love your coop. Personally, I don’t think we will be able to eat our flock when the time comes. This is our first batch of girls and we’ve become quite fond of them. I have considered raising meat birds for the future though. It is a different mindset. Thank you for sharing on Green Thumb Thursday.
    Rachel @ Grow a Good Life recently posted…Green Thumb Thursday Blog Hop: May 1, 2014My Profile

    • Mike says:

      We also plan to raise a few meat birds in a tractor probably three times a year. I’ve heard great thing about Red Rangers or Freedom Rangers instead of Cornish for broilers. What breed do you think you’ll use?

  2. Kathy Davenport says:

    Although we can’t have chickens here, I had to take a look since Gen. Ambrose Burnside was a distant relative. His niece Nancy married my Great (or was it Great, Great) Grandfather on my father’s side. So, this made me smile.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Kathy. I have to say this is by far the most interesting way I’ve met someone. 🙂 Very glad you stopped by.

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "I’m Cock of the Walk! Meet our Chickens"
  1. […] week, you read my take on how seven pullets came to live with us.  Here is my Wife’s personal poultry review now […]

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We are located in the Dayton, OH area. Our goal for this space is an informative companion to our primary passions - the Workshops we facilitate on various topics and the Private Consultation given to clients as Homestead and Regenerative Agriculture Design Consultants.

Recently, our young family moved out of the cul-de-sac where society says we're supposed to live, and onto five acres outside town. If you stick around on the blog, you'll see our successes and failures in real time as we start from scratch and transform our land. Read a lot more about us Here.

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