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Monday, November 21, 2011

They're HOME!

Only two days after returning from Texas, I was off south to Monterey County to pick up my poor girlies, who had been at Barbara's house from mid August. While I took two hens to Barbara for baby... or rather, hen-sitting, I brought home, not two, not three, but five birds!

As I wrote back in August, both Barbara and I bought several new chicks of which I was to have two. My two chicks hung out with a broody hen, wandering far and wide on Barbara's property. Sadly, when the two half grown chicks were to be put back in the separation pen with my two... rather 'chicken' hens, the chicks were wild and wanted to beat up on my hens. So, a decision was made to keep the two wild little Americana chicks wild, with the rest of Barbara's flock.

A portion of Barbara's flock, including the mean & onery rooster

Barbara also has some Toulouse Geese, whose eggs I savor every chance I get

Then Barbara had an idea. She knew I'd long considered having Maran hens - which will ultimately lay the darkest of dark chocolate colored egg shells. So, Barbara acquired for me, 2 half grown Black Copper Maran pullets. The 2 new pullets went right into the desperate pen with my 2 hens, and the four of them got along right from the start. My salmon Faverolles hen Babette began to mother the pullets immediately, even putting her wings over them on their roost at night. Am sad photos of that miracle were not able to be caught.

The new Black Copper Maran Pullets with my 2-year old hens

So I had a flock of four chickens. But didn't I say I brought home five? Here's that story...

Barbara had an Amerucana hen (Easter Egger actually), who was the favorite of Barbara's mean rooster's harem - *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*. The poor hen was sooo very popular, she had no feathers on her back - at all. She looked like dinner waiting to hop on a plate. Add to that, because she was so popular with the rooster, or more likely because she looked picked on, the other hens of the flock regularly beat the crap out of her. Poor hen had no neck feathers either. I have no photos of her in that state, but take my word for it, she looked dreadful.

Barbara asked if I would take the hen, out of mercy for her, to save her from being picked on all the time. Well, what's one more, right? So I adopted the little Amerucana. Here she is about two weeks after I took her. She had already filled her bald spots with pin feathers. She still shows a bald spot on the back crook of her wings. Didn't she look raggedy? Poor little hen!

Poor raggedy hen, her feathers grown in a bit

When I got all five birds home, I kept them in the chicken coop and run for a full week - so they could all settle in and know where they lived. After a week, when let loose, my 2 old hens were out like a shot, flapping, racing around the yard like their tail feathers were on fire. The new pullets looked startled - they knew they wanted to be with their 'Mama' Babette, but didn't know where the door was. It took most the day before one, then the other, ventured outside the chicken run.

Poor American hen took better part of 2 days before she had the courage to venture out of the run. But by the following day, when I'd go out after dawn to 'RELEASE THE HENS' they all eagerly shoot out the door and commence their daily hunting for worms and other tidbits.

four of my five hens under the Hawthorn tree

For those worrying - no, I am not going to be a chicken hoarder. Five is enough really, and I have room for a half dozen so I'm not even at full capacity. Five is quite enough hen-age, thank you very much! I'm so excited, three breeds, five hens! I'm RICH I tell you, RICH! A cow and maybe a goat or two, and I can buy a husband!

Oh! Before I forget. The names of my 2 older hens are as you may recall, Babette and Adele. My Great-nephew William suggested 'Lucy' for the was-naked Amerucana. That is Lucy, as in Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. A capital name for a now capital hen. The pair of Black Copper Maran Pullets? Right now I'm leaning towards the names 'Godiva' and 'Dove', in reference to their up and coming dark chocolate colored eggs. If you have any better ideas, just drop a comment. Oh, and if you have any cows or goats to spare...

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