To summarize it all..
We have...(in order of arrival, even the order we picked them out if it was on the same day)..
Wendy.. My lovely black polish. Wendy is a firecracker. She is spunky and sweet. She loves attention. She loves to talk. She is easy to handle and enjoys perching on my shoulder. Her favourite food is grapes. She caught my eye on my first trip to get chickens because of her obvious crest. I didn't know a chicken could have an afro!
Next up we have McDonalds. We purchased only four chickens on our first chicken day. We lost two :( Carl and Nacho (RIP my little guys!) McDonalds and Carl share the same Buff Laced polish father, but McDonalds' mother was a Silver Spangled Hamburg. This breed in her makes McDonalds wild. She is flighty, yet easy to handle if she feels like squatting for you. It also makes her a prolific layer of small-ish white eggs. I don't supplement light for my girls anymore (want them to save energy for keeping warm), and she takes one day off every few weeks since she started. To think I almost got rid of her for being so flighty!
McDonalds is quiet. She is a remarkable forager. She is quite low on the pecking order, and she likes to keep to herself. She always seems to be off on her own, scratching in the leaves. I love her. She is a good chicken <3
After having our four hens for only three days, we added Dixie. Dixie is my baby. Dixie is the sweetest chicken. She loves to talk. She is always under foot. She is second in command of our flock of now TWENTY. Can you believe it? I can't.. Dixie was not chosen by me. I sent Susan and Dylan to the farm that got the idea of keeping chickens in our head from the beginning. Wish I could remember his first name.. Darn.. Anyways, he picked Dixie out of this springs pullets. He just caught the first one he could.
She was perfect. She was mine. Dixie took only three days to come out of her shell. She warmed up to me easily and runs to me as fast as she can from wherever she is when I call her name. She is a pet. She is as loved as either of our dogs, and any of our three cats. I can't say enough about this little girl.. Dixie laid her first egg in early September, but she hasn't been a great layer so far. I know she will get better when the days are longer. I will not force her. Dixie is a Barred Plymouth Rock with wrong coloured legs.
Our fourth (or sixth at the time) addition was Lorraine. Lorraine was named after a character in MadTV. If you have ever watched this show, you know what I'm talking about. Lorraine is our neighbour Susie's favourite chicken. We can often find her sitting outside with Lorraine in hand. It's very sweet. Lorraine doesn't stand out in the flock. She kind of blends in. She is not quiet by any means, but she isn't abnormally friendly, and hasn't started laying yet.
She is easy to catch, but with the fluff blocking her vision, I wonder why *eye roll* Lorraine came from the same farm we got Dixie at. She is PQ only. She has white skin. That's her defect.. Along with a funny crooked beak. We love her all the same though!
Now comes the day we went to the chicken show and brought home six more chickens.. We sold a pair of the six because we did not enjoy the rooster, and wanted him to have the girl he came to us with.. Our first pick of the day was Steve. Steve is a buff silkie. He is beautiful and sweet.
He takes care of his girls. He finds them food, dances for them, and wakes us up every morning with his crow. I love his crow. My neighbours haven't complained yet. Some have even said they like the sound. He was the perfect addition to our flock.
After we bought Steve, we met these wonderful people names Ruth & Dave. We purchased only one pullet from them. Her name is Mabel. Mabel is a buff/partridge cochin. Her father sneaked over to the wrong breeding pen and did the nasty with a buff hen. We bought her for $5.00 at 8 weeks old.
Mabel is quite hard to catch right now. She is still young.. We brought her home on September 24th so she is now almost 17 weeks old.
Now on to Dot. Dot is a Silver Laced Wyandotte (hence the name Dot). She is the wildest of our flock. A real bugger to catch. She will sit calmly once you have her, but works you to the point of hyperventilation before you can hold her at all.
I really hope she calms down after she starts to lay. She was around 3 months old when we brought her home. So that makes her just shy of 5 months.
Denny.. Denny is a Delaware hen. She was a year old when we bought her from a very nice gentleman who owns our local farmers co-op. He was not selling any of his flock at the show, so he did us a favour and drove back to get us one of his Delaware. This was a breed we had on our bucket-list (for lack of a better word).
Denny proved to be a terror to any new chicken. She is head hen. She will ONLY let Dixie eat with her. She won't even let Dixie sleep on the same roost as her. She is human friendly. She is easily bribed with food. She is going through a molt right now, and is extra feisty. She also doesn't look her best. :P
Okay... So fast forward a couple weeks and we end up getting three new chickens.
I found an ad on Kijiji (kind of like Craigslist), and it was for RIRs. No pictures, but the woman insisted they were pure. I drove an hour and a half to get these supposed RIR.. *growl* Only to find out they were production reds.. Yes.. I explained to her the difference. Language barrier. She was very french. I decided to get one anyways. I also picked up 8 or so barred plymouth rocks (she said Dominique HA!) for a friend (the one we bought Steve from).
Moving on.. Penny is our best layer (next to McDonalds.) she lays LARGE dark brown eggs every day. I say everyday because that's what she has done since we brought her home. Penny loves people. She loves everyone she meets. She loves kids. She loves old people. She loves boys. She loves girls. She is an all-around joy to have. I wouldn't take her back in a second!
Here she is trying to stay warm in -16 degree weather in our makeshift run (which is in our garage).
Not only did this lady have fake RIR, she had Barred rocks. At least they were pretty! I ended up getting two. A pullet and a cockerel. She had said they were a couple of weeks before laying. I thought she was a little off, but she was WAY off. They were probably 3 or less months old when I got them. Here is Marge, our pullet on November 29th. We got her on October 13th. *rolls eyes*
Here she is a couple of days after we got her. Obviously she has grown a ton. If you can guess her age, be my guest. She has not started laying yet.
As for personality, Marge started out very easy to catch and hold. She has become very fast and climbs on everything. She whines a lot. Her bawk has a whiney tone to it. =/ Best way I can describe it.
She really enjoys the butt handshake ;)
Jagger.. Our growing man. He just started to crow a couple of weeks ago. It is quite the show when he decides to crow. He flaps his wings and lets out a big HOOOOOoooOOO. No cock-a-doodle-do for Jagger.
Jagger is a very good boy. No issues so far. Hope it stays that way.
The day/weekend we brought him home. Wow he has grown A LOT in the span of a month.
On October 22nd we decided to drive nearly 3 hours to a chicken show in hopes of finding buff opringtons and EEs. No luck on either. We did see Orpingtons in show, but there was nothing in the name of sales. All they had up for purchase were white wyandotte bantams, buff cochins, and a couple other bantams I didn't even bother to look at. I promised Susan I would only get a chicken if they had what we wanted.
I found the owner of the prize winning buff orpington rooster and hen. I asked him very nicely if he could sell me a pullet. He just so happened to have TWO pullets for sale. We decided to only get one. I would have gotten two, but I have a poultry addiction that Susan is trying to manage.
So here is our SQ beautiful Buff Orpington! =D You have no idea how uncommon they are in my area. Not one single breeder in my province! We do not have hatcheries that ship them. It was breeder or nothing.
Olive is shy, fluffy and loud when you try to catch her. I hope once she starts laying she will chill out. I really wanted this breed because I have heard they are lap chickens. She is definitely not a lap chicken.
Fast forward to November 7th. The day we lost Carl. I was devastated. It was the first time I ever held a dead animal in my arms. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Carl was always in rough shape. He started out clumsy and got worse.. One day he developed wry neck. I thought we had it under control. Apparently not. They had all been wormed, loused and well fed. Carl never grew. He was always skinny. He didn't regrow feathers properly and had issues with vision.
I always knew he would not live long, but the day before he was doing well. The next day.. not a cold day.. he was there.. dead on the coop floor. Susan called me frantic.. I drove home and helped her bury him. I will never forget that chicken. He had so much character.
This is the day before he died. The last picture of him. RIP Carl. I still miss calling your name from my bedroom window.
Lets go back to the happy place shall we...
We did get two new pullets the day we lost Carl. The night actually.. We called up Kevin, the chicken enthusiast we bought Steve from. He had told us that if we really wanted to, we could buy a silkie pullet from him. Though I am sure he did not want to let them go. He was doing us a favour because of the long drive we took to get him 6 barred rocks the same day we got Jagger and Marge.
We spent at least an hour deciding which silkies were our favourites. We brought our neighbour Susie, a silkie lover with us. She immediately loved this girls colour. I could tell right away the difference between the young boys and the young girls. This is a pullet he hatched in July. He didn't want to let her go. This was one he was hoping to breed in the spring, but I convinced him.
We decided to name her Pearl. It fit our old lady themed naming system. Pearl is very loud for such a small silkie. She is bossy and sassy. In this picture she is standing tall like a roo, but I am certain she is a hen. I have seen her squat and accept Steve mating her a few times ;)
Pearl is VERY easy to handle. She enjoys being picked up and cuddled. I have seen her attack my poodle when Chloe pinned another chicken down because that chicken pecked her backend. Pearl is to be respected. She does not like bullies.
We couldn't just introduce only ONE silkie to the flock.. We got two. Ida is younger. She was probably 8 weeks old when we got her on November 7th. Here she is on November 29th. That would make her... nearly 12 weeks old here. Looks about right.
Ida is fast. Ida is small. Ida is oh so cute. She is a blue partridge. She will not sleep without Pearl. They have to be together. We call them the twins. They are BFFs.
Tired of my chickens yet? LOL. Well don't fall asleep yet, because we got MORE chickens. Yes. More. We are crazy. We know it.
On November 19th we added not one.. not two.. but SIX new birds. Yes, I said six.
First one I picked out was...
a buff-laced polish PULLET, this time we know it's a pullet. Same breed as Carl, only healthy. I have no clue as to the age of Harriett. She was hatched sometime this summer and sold to our newest favourite breeder, Dave Chambers, at the poultry show we got Dott, Denny, Steve and Mabel from.
I am hoping that Harriet is SQ. She looks very nice to me. What do I know about it though?
Harriet cracks me up. The polish breed is perfect for me. I can't think of a negative point about them. They do tend to be loud, but I like it. My two girls (Wendy & Harriet) are very vocal. They have so much character. The kids love them. I love them.
Now THIS is what a true RIR looks like. No offence to Penny (who I adore!) but there is something about this deep mahogany colour that is pleasing to the eyes.
This is Ruby. She is probably 5 - 6 months old. Not really sure. Why doesn't anyone keep track of ages anyway?! :P She was born in 2011 for sure. That's all I know. She has never laid an egg.
Ruby had a split personality. One minute she is at the bottom of the pecking order, and the next she is picking fights with whoever will have her. She especially enjoys sparring with Dott. Ruby is quiet and easy to handle.
And than there is Janet. She is a partridge LF cochin. Spring 2011 hatch as well. She must have laid an egg by the look of her comb. She is not full grown, and I did see her mother who was in the same pen as she was. Janet is going to be a big girl. Right now she is even smaller than Mabel!
Janet is probably the loudest of all 18 chickens when you try to catch her. She screams bloody murder. Actual screams of terror. Maybe it is uncomfortable to be held because she is molting. Maybe she is just moody. She is a huge bully to every chicken except maybe Denny. Denny would whoop her sassy butt in 10 seconds flat.
On to my favourite of all the four new chickens we added.. She even is up there with Dixie on my favourite list...
Honey. She is named solely for her personality. This is the sweetest chicken of life. She is at the very bottom of the pecking order. She seeks me out as soon as I come in the run. She wants to sit on my lap, or sit on my boots. She LOVES me. Not for the food I bring either. She doesn't seem to like many treats.
Honey was free. Dave gave her to me because she was not SQ. She has a bad left eye. It looks like someone pecked her, but it has never gotten better. The inner eyelid covers most of her eyeball. I have applied ointment to it since the day I brought her home and haven't seen any improvement.
Honey is my baby <3
Susan just had to have a duck. She just HAD to pick out a drake. We did not know it at the time of course, so we have a drake with the name Ruth. I doubt we will change it. He was named after Dave's wife.
Why don't ducks like to be held? =(
The ducks were for Susan. I would rather have chickens. I don't find them very personable. They are messy and poop at least 3 times as much as a chicken. Runny, stinky poop.
I gotta say though, they are very entertaining. I love watching them wag their tails and flap their wings.
We did not get two ducks at once. We only got Ruth. Than BYC users told me a duck would be happier with one of it's own kind. Ruth likes the chickens better than his new duckling friend, Liza (Eliza).
I did pick out Liza. I chose muscovy because of the friendliness factor. Liza was 2 months old when I brought her home November 22nd. She is very leery of me. I hope it will change.
Liza has beautiful blue eyes. Her feathers have grown a lot since this picture was taken.
And for now that is it. No more chickens.. Not until we move. We will breed in the spring. Those chicks will be sold though. Unless we move in time. That story is for another post though ;)