The chickens have informed me that I haven’t shared much about them in a while. So, since they are acting extra cute these days, I’ll update you on their ups and downs.
The best news is that one of the chicks we hatched, Peeper, seems to have made it through to a happy adolescence. She was three months old on December 7 and is quite large for her age.
It is hard to get good pictures of her, because she’s so dark. She has her dad’s green tail feathers and cute little ear tufts, while she has most of her mom’s brown coloring. I can’t wait until spring to see what color her eggs are. I’m guessing dark olive green, since Buttercup lays dark brown eggs and Bruce is an Easter Egger rooster.
The sad news is that we have lost two hens this week, in unrelated incidents. Springsteen, the Jersey Giant, had lost most of her feathers in the molting season, but was starting to get them back when the freeze hit. I think she may have gotten too cold, given that she was the lowest on the pecking order and may not have been able to huddle up with the rest. Darn. She laid nice eggs.
Babette, the fancy French hen, had been having trouble for months, because Bruce kept pecking at her head when he mounted her. I had her separated for a month or so with Peeper and company, and she seemed all right, but she got let out when I was out of town, and I think she must have gotten pecked too hard. While she never laid more than a couple of eggs, she sure was pretty. I hope I can get another of her breed, the Faverolle.
On to better things! At long last more of the “new” hens from last spring have started to lay. Blondie, who is a HUGE yellow chicken, has been faithfully churning out eggs all season. They are small with little white dots. For a few weeks, hers were the only eggs we got.
But, a few days ago, Blanca, the one who lays the beautiful sky-blue eggs, started back up again. That made me really happy. I guess she just took a short winter break.
And lo and behold, Billie Idyll kicked in, and is laying white eggs every other day or so. She also finally few in some tail feathers. Now we are getting around three eggs a day, which is fine for the winter.
The older hens and Bruce went through a particularly unattractive period in the early autumn, when they molted. There were feathers everywhere. But, now they are looking more like themselves, especially Star. She was looking pretty bedraggled after hatching out Peeper and the other chick, but she now looks like her old self, except all her feathers are gray (she’s the one who had some gold neck feathers).
Bertie Lee, Buttercup, and Henley are all looking better, too. Henley has more white spots than she used to, which is something her breed does. They are taking their winter break, as is their right. I’m sure they’ll pick up again when the days start getting longer.
The only one of the “new” hens who hasn’t laid an egg yet is the extremely beautiful Easter Egger hen, Betsy. I have no idea what her problem is. We got them in the summer, so she should have laid something by now. At least I’ll know when she does, as they will be an interesting color, I hope.
I’ve been letting them out a little a few days a week. I’m now worried, since I saw a hawk earlier, but they sure do enjoy wandering around. I’ll just be sure to lock them back in if they begin to not come home again. No more garage chickens. They now have a warm place to stay when it gets cold!
Even though chickens can be a pain to take care of sometimes (like when burrowing somethings get in and eat their food), I enjoy their happy little sounds and their antics.