Mourning

This morning Featherfoot died. In our first batch of chicks, McMurray Hatchery sent us a free “exotic” which turned out to be a Cochin, and a rooster. He grew into a huge, gorgeous creature, with resplendent shiny feathers of black, red, and green. As do all Cochins, he even had feathers on his feet. From the... Continue Reading →

They grow up so fast

About six weeks ago a box of tiny, fluffy, cheeping chicks arrived; 19 in all, although only seven stayed. Friends went in on the order with us, and our choice of breeds caused some confusion. Of the seven chicks Cherisse and I ordered, four were Plymouth Barred Rocks. The coloring on their fuzzy little bodies was identical... Continue Reading →

Pecking order

Observing chickens provides an interesting perspective. When Ethel died, we wondered if Lucy would miss her. But after two-and-half years caring for chickens, we should have known better. Cherisse and I have mourned each chicken we have lost, but they simply reshuffle—and accept—their pecking order. We assume Ethel was at the top of the order... Continue Reading →

Ethel

Most of our chickens have descriptive names, like Featherfoot (our rooster has feathers on his feet), the bareback chicken (a Rhode Island Red hen who lost the feathers on her back), the Ancona (we started with three Anconas, but are now down to one, which makes the identification simple), and the babies (although they are... Continue Reading →

Chickens

Our neighbor Marguerite came by Saturday morning to tell us that a predator had gotten into their hen house the night before and killed 22 chickens. She thinks it was a weasel, because it must have gotten in through a tiny hole, and weasels kill for sport (the chickens were simply slaughtered, not eaten). Ironically,... Continue Reading →

Chickens in winter

The dogs, Cherisse and I reveled in the big snowstorm on December 29 which dumped about a foot of snow. The dogs raced through the drifts, and Cherisse and I made looping paths with our snowshoes so we could cross-country ski around the yard and through the woods. Not all of us were thrilled. Rebecca... Continue Reading →

Nature’s miracles

My birthday nearly took a grim turn when a puppy guest suddenly chased after our chickens. The dog managed to grab a mouthful of Featherfoot’s feathers before the rooster—through sheer survival instinct—summoned a burst of speed that was remarkable, given his bad leg. When Cherisse went to investigate, she saw only one of the pullets,... Continue Reading →

The mean one

A dramatic step was taken this week, changing our role—and mindset—as chicken keepers. Of the four chicks that hatched this summer, three are hens. The fourth, a rooster (technically a cockerel), grew to be as large as his father, Featherfoot, and just as spectacular, if not more so, in plumage. Unlike Featherfoot, who is bowlegged... Continue Reading →

Pullet egg!

Chickens start laying eggs at around 20 weeks, so we hoped our three baby hens (the fourth is definitely a rooster), would begin producing mid-November. Our older hens have slowed down considerably. The Ancona stopped altogether---possibly she is moulting, or she objects to the new chickens in the coop, or there is some other reason... Continue Reading →

Chicks come home to roost

The baby chicks, now 10 weeks old (halfway to becoming laying pullets), had a busy day. For the first time they made it entirely around the house (several times in fact). They seemed especially pleased with their discovery of the flower garden, and they spent a good part of the day there. I found one... Continue Reading →

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