Who wants to meet the girls?!?!

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

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If you’ve been following along in our fledgling livestock adventure, this is the moment for which you’ve been waiting.  You’ve had a few days to settle down after the euphoric grand tour of the coop I built.

Time to introduce the ladies.

Please meet:

Curly

3Curly

 

Curly is a Blue Copper Maran and is about 18 weeks old.  She’s still a pullet (meaning a female less than one year old), but will hopefully start laying soon.  Pullets can begin dropping the good stuff generally anywhere from 18-26 weeks on average, so let’s hope she’s advanced for her age.

When Curly does start laying, her breed is supposed to lay 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 eye-glazed 1000 yard stare whenever I share it with her.  So I figure you also don’t care.

For instance, 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].  From Veronica Mars.”

So there you go.  Curly.

Next, meet Curly’s best friend:

 

General Burnside

1Burnside

 

The good General is also 18 weeks old and came from the same farm as Curly.  They’re peas in a pod.

I decided on the name because our General Burnside is an Americauna.  Americaunas feature small tufts of feathers on either side of their neck that remind me of a specific Civil War officer who is hallowed in the halls of great facial hair.

You see it?

2Tufts

 

220px-Ambrose_Burnside2Pic borrowed from Ambrose’s Wiki page.

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.

Joanna 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.  I won’t go into the specific differences unless you ask.  All you need to know is all three lay bluish or greenish colored eggs.

Along with her bestie Curly’s dark eggs, that tidbit satisfies the wife’s only condition.  She said we have to have unusual colored eggs.  After all, I get reminded almost every day she’s only in this chicken keeping thing for the photography.

Curly and General Burnside.  Best friends.  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.

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

9DuoCage

Up next, say hello to our three still unnamed pullets:

The Young’ins

7TrioInside

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’re a little younger than their coop-mates.  These three are about 12 weeks old.  They won’t start earning their keep for quite awhile yet.

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

It’s easy to see 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.

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

11RIRMill

And here is Mark the Chicken Farmer catching our Barred Rock because I failed at chasing her down.

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Yep, it’s blurry.  Yep, chickens are fast.

13TrioCage

Everyone is getting along surprisingly well and it’s easy to see how the Pecking Order has finalized.  If you’re not too sick of Chicken Talk yet, I’ll do a post about their strange, yet hilarious social order that keeps everyone in their place.

They eat.  They scratch.  They drink.  They scratch.  They sleep.  They go downstairs.  They scratch. They go upstairs.

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Life is good.

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

This guy.

14ParkerChickens

 

So there you have it.

Joanna is now the wife of a Gentleman Poultry Farmer.

Please excuse me while I go put on a feathered pimp hat and motivate my girls to start working some eggs instead of freeloading off my generosity.

–Mike

Question of the Day: Could you eat an animal you’ve named?   Joanna doesn’t think she’ll be able to when the time comes.  My beloved 91 year old grandmother can easily answer this question. “You work ’em. Then you eat ’em.”  Love you Grandma!

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14 Comments

  1. I don’t think I could eat an animal from a species I’ve read a blog about. Maybe keep that in mind and be sure to describe their evil habits so I don’t suddenly become vegan (shudder). They’re awesome! Congrats on the chickies!

  2. I see you’re carrying on the family tradition of having the girls flock around you.

  3. Ooh! Chickens! My mom’s big dream in life is to own chickens, but her neighborhood isn’t zoned for it. As for consumption, well, you know that I am a vegan. I could never slaughter an animal and eat it, so there’s that. I think you guys should just stick to the eggs…
    Abby recently posted…Postage from PETAMy Profile

    • I’m all about constructive peaceful civil disobedience for a good cause. Food security is one of those causes in my book. How big is your Mom’s yard? Hens make basically zero noise, and I’ve heard lots of stories about how a half dozen free backyard eggs help neighbors look the other way. 😉

      I’ve seen some neat ideas on camouflaging coops. Let me know if she needs some guerilla farming tips!

  4. Oh I am so envious! The girls are gorgeous.Great post.

  5. Did your research include reviewing your birds in the Standard of Perfection? As a former poultry showman (that sounds strange) that was my go-to guide for everything. If not, no worries, you picked some good ones! If you do like the larger brown eggs, I’d suggest an Australorp or two. They’re very pretty black birds that are good for both eggs and meat (if you go down that lane at some point). I wish we were allowed to have chickens in our new home area. Good luck!
    Mollie recently posted…Recently ReadMy Profile

    • Hey Mollie, I was very tempted to actually buy a copy from the American Poultry Association. You know, for a little light bedtime reading. 🙂

      Australorps, Golden Comets, and Buff Orpingtons were the other breeds on my preferred list, but none of the local places around here listing birds had any pullets that were already feathered out so they could live outside.

      I like the look of the Australorps that have the greenish sheen to their black feathers. Maybe someday…

      Now I want you to tell us all about being a poultry showman. I need to adopt that moniker, on an amateur basis of course. I’ll add it to my resume.

      • For light reading, I’m not sure it’s worth the price. However, you can buy an older version (they don’t change much from year to year) for cheaper! Besides, I’m not sure you want to dream about chickens after reading?

        So…as a child I was raised on a farm. Not a crop growing one…only animals–racehorses, chickens, dogs and cats to start with. Once I was old enough to join 4-H, I did and ended up showing every animal recognized at our small county fair. Although I’d say I was pretty good at showing dairy calves…my forte was with chickens. Probably because it was knowledge-based and not muscle-based…I guess I’ve never thought about that before. Anyway, I guess you’d have to enter some exhibitions to add it to your resume? And then…tame the chicken…and learn everything you can about the breed, the comb, tendencies, etc., etc. Handling is the easier part…but the tamer the chicken the better. Believe me, I’ve got some scars to prove it. No way I remember everything I knew as a high schooler related to “my birds” but it’s nice to reminisce and watch your adventures!

        I’ll wait for your post on raising chicks inside…that’s a whole new bag of worms…err…flock of birds? 🙂
        Mollie recently posted…Recently ReadMy Profile

    • Has anyone ever told you that you are awfully handy to have around?? I’m keeping your e-mail address close by in case we have chicken questions.

      • Bahaha. Normally, raising chickens doesn’t naturally come up in conversation. 🙂

        I’m no expert, but yes! Send me any questions you have and I’ll take a stab at them. Sidenote: so-called experts can be a little snobby, believe it or not.

        The Americauna vs. Aracauna comments below are easier to explain than my poultry showmanship skills…and far less embarrassing. Ha.
        Mollie recently posted…Recently ReadMy Profile

  6. Hey Mike,

    I thought the distinction between Americaunas and Araucanas was people misspelling the same bird name. So I will bite, whats the difference?
    GardenPatrick recently posted…Small Harvest And Lazy Dog BalloonsMy Profile

    • Huzzah! Someone asked! I don’t know if there are other differences, but the main difference is that the Araucana is “rumpless”. I’m guessing that means no tail feathers that stick up like on almost all other hens. Other than that, both Araucanas and Americaunas like The General up there are very similar. The tell-tale characteristic of both being the tuft of feathers at the neck and the blue/greenish colored eggs.

      For all I know Burnside isn’t even a true Americauna because I guess them (and Araucanas) are pretty hard to come by. Almost all birds labeled those are actually the impure mutt Easter Eggers.

      I bet Mollie could tell us more. 🙂

      • I don’t think you’ll need the Standard of Perfection book…you know the main differences between the two breeds. Frankly, the Aracaunas are not too good to look at because of their lack of tail… Some people say that you can tell how pure Americaunas are by the shade of their pastel eggs. If you ever planned to show any of the five in a competition, I’d pick the General last. As you said, it’s a mutt bird. I’d probably also call it a novelty bird. If you tell your neighbors, friends, especially small children that your bird lays colored eggs they’ll likely be surprised/not believe you. 🙂 Americaunas tend to be less expensive to buy and much hardier than their counterpart. Hope this helps!
        Mollie recently posted…Recently ReadMy Profile

  7. Thank you for the introductions. I can’t wait to see the eggs when they arrive!
    Aly recently posted…Potato BreadMy Profile

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