EVER SINCE THAT LAST POST, I’VE HAD PEOPLE ASK ME more questions about my girls — and wanting to see pictures (no, I don’t carry photos of my Girls…they are not my children, but I sure do love ’em!) of who’s been laying those precious gems.
So, I decided to incorporate photos of them and a very quick little bio on each (and I’m going to apologize now–just saw how long this ended up–who knew it’d be so long! Guess I could do it in two installments…not — sorry!).
I have twelve beautiful girls. Amongst them, there are three sets of ‘twins’ — I bough a number of breeds, buying them in twos…my ‘twins’. My ‘twins’ are Australorp, Silver Laced Wyandotte, New Hampshire Red and Ameracauna (Easter Eggers–my ‘blue’ egg layers).
I’ll start with the ‘fraternal’ twin Ameracaunas (also known as Easter Eggers because of the rainbow of colourful eggs they lay…anything from different shades of blue to green to pink) — they look nothing alike, other than the beards & tufts along the side of their faces.
Abigail, my rebel Ameracauna
Ameracaunas are a hybrid, created by breeding Aracauna (blue egg layer) with various brown or white egg layer breeds. My ‘twins’ eggs are a beautiful pale blue that seems to slide into a bit more of a blue-green after a day in the refrigerator. Abigail is black with flecks of gold on her chest and back. She’s my rebel. She waited about a six weeks (maybe more) after her sister started laying before she began. And she will not lay her egg in the nest. I have to search for them — every single day. Blondie is golden with an undercoat of white. Perhaps that is what’s called Wheaten, but I’m not sure. She’s a crack up to be around
Blondie, my noisiest egg layer, an Ameracauna
when she’s on the nest. It’s as if this is the most uncomfortable thing to do and this last place she wants to be. She makes the funniest noises while she is sitting there — little grunts, squawks and groans, waiting for the egg to “pass” — her ‘gall stone’, I guess. Makes me chuckle, but then…isn’t it like giving birth — every single day?? Oh, my! Looks like I’ll be getting 4-5 eggs/week from each of these Girls. These two are skittish little girls, quiet one minute, then zooming from one end of the coop to the other for no apparent reason. Fun to watch and a challenge to photograph.
Dottie and Lacie are my two sweet, little Silver Laced Wyandottes.
Dottie, my Silver Laced Wyandotte
They are quiet, gentle — and take an awful lot of abuse from the other Girls. Dottie always looks like someone ruffled her breast feathers — an apparent defect, which I’m hoping is minor and not evidence of a more serious problem. Lacie is the perfect little lady. Unlike Blondie, both lay their eggs quietly, without any fanfare, laying
Lacy, my sweet Silver Laced Wyandotte
through the winter without blinking. I think I’ve been averaging 5-6/week from each of them.
Another set of ‘twins’ are Shazza and Maz, named by an Australian friend at my request,
Um…well, Shazza or Mez — one or the other…can’t tell them apart, my Australorps.
since the are an Australian breed (Shazza is the Aussie nickname for Sharon & Maz is the nickname for Meg). The Australorp (Australian Orpington) is a black beauty with a greenish sheen that is almost iridescent in the sun. I haven’t found anything to differentiate one from the other yet so the photos are not
Um…well, Mez or Shazza…still unable to distinguish one from the other, my sweet Australorps
marked. When they were younger, there was a definite size difference, but as they matured, they look so much alike it’s ridiculous! These two gorgeous birds are so quiet and docile — I love them to death! They lay light brown eggs and average 6/week.
Then, there’s a very nosy, precocious Maranda, my French Cuckoo Marans (yes, Marans, not Maran–but it is pronounced like Maran). Her black and white specked coat of feathers is pretty.
Manda, my nosy Cuckoo Marans
Not my favorite, but very pretty. She’s my biggest Girl. I think she is the “Alpha” hen in the coop. Early on, she was a very bossy girl, but has mellowed since she began laying her rich brown eggs. She doesn’t lay well in the winter, so she starts out strong — almost daily, then peters out to zero…we’ll have to see how she does after she starts back up. If I feel someone pecking at me, it’s Maranda. I have a hard time getting a photo of her because her face is always a quarter inch away from the lens or she’s shadowing me as I walk around the coop.
Let’s see. Next is my very quiet Rhode Island Red, named Red (for a lack of a better
Red, my lone Rhode Island Red
name–when one comes along, I’ll change it). She seems small next to the New Hampshires, which I’m not used to–the one I had in the past was larger, I think. She is another quiet layer in my coop. Her beautiful brown egg, about 5-6/week. She did slow down for about a month (during the shortest days), but has picked up production again.
Specks in my Speckled Sussex (again, another changeable name, though I’m getting a bit fond of it) is another gentle and absolutely gorgeous Girl. I wasn’t sure about her
Specks, my sweet Speckled Sussex. I may have to rename her to CK (after Steve McQueen’s character’s nickname–Cooler King–in the Great Escape because he tried to escape so often)…every time I open the door, she tries to get out now!
when I first saw her feather out. But when the sun catches hold of the rainbow of coloured feathers, it is a spectacular sight with undertones of green and blue. Purdy birdy! Specks lays a very light brown — almost pink egg — I call it my blush egg, and she too slowed down a tiny bit in December, but is working back to approx. five a week.
My sex-link hen is a hybrid created so that, as chicks, their sex can be determined by the colouring. Flecks is all black (with that delightful iridescent texture, except for dark
Flecks, my egg-laying machine Black Star.
flecks of gold (hence, her name) on her breast. From above and behind, she’s hard to pick out when she’s with the Australorps…makes me think one of her parents was an Australorp. She was bred to lay eggs. And lay, she does. Every. Single. Day. She is an egg laying machine, no matter the weather or season. I’m guaranteed of at least one egg a day with this Girl.
I thought I’d end the list of Girls with my ‘twin’ New Hampshire Red hens.
CC (Chatty Cathy), my very vocal busybody of a New Hampshire Red
CC (that’s short for Chatty Cathy) is the most vocal of all my Girls! She will tattle on anyone that dares to set in the nest she wants, she alerts everyone (for miles around) that here’s a hawk in the air and I’ve even seen her talk back at my dog when Kaeli starts whining at one of the hens (my dog wants to ‘play’ so bad, she can ‘taste’ it!) Sometimes, her squawking is so loud, I have to come out to make sure everything is okay — and to shush her! My poor
QT (Cutie), my other far less vocal New Hampshire Red.
neighbours! QT (Cutie) is just the opposite of CC: quiet, docile and follows CC almost everywhere. They lay brown eggs, 5-6 days/week.
You would think I’d be happy with an even dozen Girls. This is a very addictive habit–raising chickens…I’ve already lined up an order for another twelve (or so) Girls. This time, I am getting some ‘true-blue’ egg layers: the Aracauna; three extremely dark brown egg layers: Barnevelder, Partridge Penedesenca & Black Copper Marans, and maybe a Buff Orpington (an excellent setting hen…I have plans–maybe…wink, wink). But, that won’t be till April, so I have a lot of work to do before then, preparing brooding pens with heat lamps — and all the other stuff that’s been on my list to do, but too cold or wet to accomplish.
Oh! I cannot forget to mention, even if not a feathered friend, my sweet little Bindy. She is
Bindy, my mini bunny
their coop-mate–in a cage, within the coop. Once I have all the construction done, she will be allowed to stretch her legs in the 8×20 coop, whilst the other Girls will get to go out into the outer pen. Until then, she is stuck in her dinky ‘prison’. I derive nothing but pleasure from this little ball of fur. The girls get under her cage and scatter the droppings, so there isn’t even the odd bit of poo to collect for fertilizer–at least, not until I do the semi-annual coop clean-out in a couple of months.
So, I’ll end on that sweet note. It’s a beautiful day outside — way too nice to be inside on the computer. Ha! that means you too! Spring is just around the corner…I can feel it! Get out there (step away from your computer, please) — whether it’s sunny, cold, snowy or just plain ol’ wet. Relish it, whatever the weather– and enjoy your day that God has given you.