Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chicken Update

I asked Ruth to take photos today of all the different breeds of chickens we have around here.

All of the chickens, except for the three buff orpingtons were hatched around April 1, making them about 16 weeks old. Hens generally start laying between 20 and 26 weeks. They are healthy and happy, except for some pecking of the white crested polish hens, (they kind of look like friars with the ring of hair and the bald top). I need to do something for them. I don't have a good way to separate them, but I need to figure that out.

Anyway, here are photos of all the different breeds of hens I have right now.

Buff Orpingtons (3)
(about 6 weeks old) I call them "The Little Dudes." Do you see three?

Ameracauna hen (4)
(Aracaunas have no tail) Her name is Minky because of her coloring. Her tail feathers are blue in the sunlight.

Silver Polish and a Black Polish hens (4 and 2)
Hanging out in a barn door.

Cuckoo Maran Cockerel (3)

He and I are bonded.

Ameracauna Cockerel with a White Crested Polish Hen (4)


Black Sumatra Hen (1)

Bearded White Polish Hen (2)

Partridge Cochin Hen (4)

White Ameracauna

This is Jolie.

Buff Laced Polish Hen (1)

Honey is her name.

Buff Cochin Hen (2)

Crevecoeur Cockerel (1 roo 1 hen)
Very unusual crow.
Green or blue egg layer.

Cuckoo Maran hen (2)
Chocolate brown egg layer.

Aracauna Cockerel

Nesting boxes are ready!

I leave you with Floozie. (2)

She is a Golden Pencilled Hamburg. Best buddy.


Amy said...

What a beautiful flock! Minky's coloring is very interesting. They should have sent you a Sumatra rooster to go with the hen, they're gorgeous! I see you have straw in the nests ready for eggs. I've done the same and I've got 2 golf balls in place in hopes that they'll get the hint about where the eggs are supposed to go. I can't wait for those fresh eggs to start coming. Now in a few weeks I'll be complaining about having too many!

Sharon said...

That shot of Floozie is amazing. Her eyes are so soulful.....I may never eat chicken again! :)

Larry is becoming more and more convinced that we should have chickens. I think the idea is to educate ourselves this winter and get a section of the barn prepared with the goal of starting in the spring. We need to find out if the geese will accept them or not (along with a host of other things including our climate). I'm curious though, just how loud is it at your house??? Our geese are pretty loud. I'm not sure we can (in good conscience) generate a lot more noise......

Country Girl said...

Wow, I an amazed by the variety of chickens you have! They are all real pretty!
Have you eaten any of your meat birds yet? The rest of ours are going in the freezer this week.

Stiggy said...

Wow what a great gang you have!

So many interesting breeds - although your buff orpingtons look different to ours over here.

Your post on Jo's Blog made me chuckle this morning!


Ginnie said...

What an update, Don! Ruth did a spectacular job, as always, and YOU are keeping it all organized! I love it.

Stiggy said...

Just in case you don't check it often, you have mail.


Anonymous said...

I'm super impressed with Ruth's photography, my chicken photos usually feature chicken butts in the air :-)

How fun to have all the different chickens. For our first chicken experience, we selected Golden Comet's as they are known for cold-hardiness and being good layers, and they have proved the rumors true. Now I'm more than ready to branch out and try some different breeds. I'll look forward to hearing more about yours as they begin to lay, and how they fare through the winter. (How I envy your green barn!)
Ali in Maine

Don said...

amy: Minky's coloring is really something and even more interesting in the sunshine as it is irridescent. I like the idea of golf balls, several of the hens have been poking around looking at the nests, but I don't think I'll get eggs for another month or so.
Then, look out! I will be getting about two dozen per day! (Ruth and I have lots of customers lined up at work). $2.00 per dozen for friends $10.00 per dozen for enemies. ;D

Sharon: You should look into getting Aracaunas or Ameracaunas (easter eggers). They have very small combs and are very hearty birds. They originated in the mountains of Peru and are one of the most adaptable of chickens. Plus they lay green or blue eggs! I have several in my photos. They are also gentle and pretty.

As far as noise goes, we hear roosters crowing but you don't need to have any roosters. Hens don't need roosters to lay eggs and roosters can have an adverse affect on them. (too much fooling around);) Many farms have both geese and hens, I think they get used to each other.

Don said...

country girl: Thanks for the compliment on the flock. I sometimes regret having the tophats as they have a little vision problem and are kinda small. They probably will lay smallish eggs too. However, I like the variety and the different personalities.

We have had the chicken on the grill, baked and also I make homemade chicken and noodles. Each time, the meat was superb. I will definitely do this again. Next time, I will get them outside at a young age so they can get a little more exercise.

How many meat birds did you actually end up raising?

Don said...

stiggy: Scones with clotted cream and fresh strawberries... Jo's blog is creative and makes me hungry.

I looked at English Buff Orpingtons and don't know what is different. Maybe mine are still young and don't look like adults yet? Maybe mine are half-breeds?


Ginnie: It's nice to have a photographer who will do my bidding!


henbogle: I hope Sharon from Wyoming sees your suggestion of Golden Comets for colder weather environments. I think she will find several breeds that will endure well at her place.

Your comment reminds me of something my nephew Nathan said "What's up Chicken butt?" I guess that is a phrase from all of our childhood.

The green barn is a great old building, but it leaks like a sieve and I don't relish the thought of climbing up on the 40' high slide of a roof to fill in the million and seven holes that need patching. The previous owner's son used to shoot at birds and bats in the barn with his rifle, plus there are three or four places where the shingles have lifted up at seams, creating mini waterfalls during rain.

Loring Wirbel said...

Does Floozie know your secrets? She looks like she has a tale to tell.

Stiggy said...

Don, I'm sorry to say Polly didn't make it. I helped her go yesterday I'm afraid.

I sent you an email to your gmail account by the way.


Anonymous said...

Impressive number of chickens you've got there and yes Don, you are fortunate to have a wife who is more than an excellent photographer, Ruth takes wonderfull pictures of your 'babies'
...erm....erm....where is Kuifje, I do hope they did not have a BBQ next door, where you were not invited??

Anonymous said...

Wow- you have a great variety there!

Your nest boxes look really high! Do they like them up there?

Don said...

loring: Floozie is always following me around, so she must know all of my secrets!

Stiggy: That must have been a rough thing for you to do. Thanks for the email, I appreciate that.

Don said...

astrid: Kuifje is so scrawny that a bbq would not be a good option! I am trying to fatten her up, but she is so vision impaired, she forgets to eat.

jen: they do seem high, but I have installed intermediate roosts so it is not too big of a jump to get up to the boxes. I think I'll put some down low tho, just to give another option. thanks for the idea!

sandy said...

I always enjoy looking at your hens. Each one when you post a close up seems to have their own personality. I love Floozie...

I never knew until last year at the County Fair because we spent time in the animal exhibits, that there was so many different kinds.

I plan on going this September to the fair again and will probably hang out there photographing some of the unusual ones.

VioletSky said...

I wander over from Ruth's side every now and then to have a gander at your chickens, and I just have to say I had no idea there were so many gorgeous chooks out there! Don't know anything about these critters therefore can't add anything to comments. Lovely photos, though.

Mrs. M. said...

Are you going to add a partridge for your pear trees come December?

Country Girl said...

We started with 24 meat birds minus one after Callie or something took it out. John processed 13 a few weeks ago (I wrote 7 on my blog, oops) and 10 are at the butchers as I type.
We will do again too, the meat is very tasty! ~Kim

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Don,
These are wonderful chicken portraits.. I think next to dogs, they are my favourite creatures.. every time I see yours I yearn for my own little flock again soon... Thank you for sharing their changing, gwen

Jo Capper-Sandon said...

I wish we had lots of different breeds like must be so much easier telling them apart- unlike ours...we have an easy ID of brown or white...after that it gets tricky rofl
I love the hens with the mop hair...the Polish ones...they always make me smile.

Don said...

sandy: our county fair begins this week and I am looking forward to seeing the different breeds there too.

They do have their own personalities, some are friendlier than others. I guess we people are kinda like that too.

violetsky: thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. My blog is a good way for Ruth to practice photographing moving, living things.

You should check out amy's (first commenter above) two roosters: Silver and a black one she hasn't named.

Don said...

mrs. m: Hey, now that is a crackin' idea! But... No, I have too many fowl about the place as it is. The zoo is talking about giving me some pea fowl. Hmmmm

The pears, however are bountiful this year. I better get my canner ready!

Don said...

Kim: I am glad to hear the butcher is doing it. There is something to be said about choosing the chores you do yourself! I too will do the meat birds again. When are you thinking about doing another batch?

gwen: I agree with you about dogs and chickens. Dogs are a little more interactive, however, I'm sure there are cozy chickens out there.

Just think about the beautiful feathers to paint and add to your jewelry...

Don said...

Hi Jo: Some people put little colored bands on their chickens legs so they can tell them apart.

I would love to give you and Dave three or four of my mop hairs! They are very gentle and some of them seem to like being held.

How do you tell yours apart? Do they all have names?

Paula said...

Yay for the Floozie pic! I was beginning to think she was going to be left out... then there would have been an uprising at the Fraker Farm! LOL
Ruth is a wonderful photographer, Don!

Bob Johnson said...

Wow, very impressed Don, I'm learning so much about chicks since coming here.

My favs are the Silver and Black Polish Hens, and of course Honey's do,lol.

Don said...

paula: I included Floozie just for you. You need to get a golden pencilled hamburg hen so you can have your own personal Floozie! I don't mind sharing mine with you tho...

Bob: Be careful Bob, or you'll start "googling chicks on the internet" like I do!

laura said...

The variety among chickens is astounding to me (they all look the same in the supermarket!)--it's wonderful how fancy they are--it seems (though I'm sure it mustn't be) gratuitous, which makes it all the more delightful.I find myself drawn to the "Polish" ones--elegant black-and-white and outrageous headgear. Great photos!

Don said...

laura: I too am amazed at the hundreds of different breeds of chickens there are. i learn about new ones almost every day. Some even have black skin and black bones!

The polish tophats are ridiculous! They are very gentle and will sit on my hand until I put them down. Can you imagine going for a walk with one of them on your shoulder?

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, already have.

MYM said...

oh my goodness! They all have such personalities. Honey has lots of attitude ... I like her :)

Anonymous said...

I love Stiggy`s autumnal colors, but look at Honey, her elegant pose and not so elegant,but mesmerizing coiffure :)
In my post is a different bird, wild one, but very elegant too.

Warm greetings from Finland.

Don said...

bob: Haha!

drowsey: Honey is a little sweetie. Peter and I gave her a haircut Saturday morning. She sat on Peter's hand and let me clip away. When we put her back into the chicken run, she ran all over the place. As if to say, "Look, I can see!"

Leenam: Your loon photos are beautiful! I wish I had a pet loon!

Brenda said...

Thanks for sharing your pictures...I had no idea there were so many different type of hens!

Amy said...

Hello Don! Just getting around to visiting you and all of the chickens (via your wifey Ruths page:) I love your chickens..I miss mine, as they are such fun! I'll be watching for your first blue egg;) oh I also should add that we entered our girls in the fair one year..Penny took GRAND CHAMPION that year in poultry:) we were proud! Also the blue eggs are delicious!

Country Girl said...

Little blog fun...I've been tagged so I have passed it along to you to share 6 random things about yourself, see my blog for more details if you want to participate, don't feel that you have to. Have a great week ~Kim

PS I forgot you just got tagged so no offense if you do not want to pass this one on.

Don said...

Brenda: variety is the spice of life! I like having my little rainbow flock.

a: Grand Champion! wow, I'm impressed with Penny. Our county fair started today and I plan on going later this week to scope out all the animals and fair food.

country girl: thanks for tagging me, I may pass on it this time.

Your six things are fun to read!

T said...

I found your site via Ruth's photo blog, now I have another place to see her beautiful images :-)

I adore your chickens, thank you for sharing all of their names and breeds. The Polish ones with the lovely hats of feathers are just so great. My husband is a Michigander, maybe we will end of there with a farm of our own someday, we are currenlty in Texas.

Don said...

Hi Tori: Thanks for stopping by. The chickens are fun to be around. Some even say they are stress relievers!

Now is a good time to find good prices on farms in Michigan!

Anonymous said...

What a pretty flock you have. We did all Ameraucana replacements this year. They're my favorite of the breeds that are readily available and it's nice because you can get such a variety in one breed.

I'm wondering, do you have problems with mean roosters? Anytime we have more than one, things turn ugly. We had one who was so beautiful we named him 'El Guapo.' He turned incredibly mean and was very aggressive with people - took a chunk out of the back of my leg as his last offense. We always end up with a couple roosters even though I only buy the sexed chickens.

Also, where meat birds are concerned. We did 50 meat birds one season and I will never do that again. The dual purpose birds are SO much tastier.

Don said...

robinson: I really like the Ameraucana breed as well. We have four hens and a rooster and they look totally different.

Mean roosters are so common! i was telling my son that they really aren't mean, but protective. When they get aggressive, it is impossible to "tame" them. however, my dad just kicks them upside the head and they leave him alone! There are some interesting articles that discuss this topic. Here is one of them:

I may go with the dual bird next time. I didn't like the way the "meat" birds did nothing but eat and poop. I think they pooped more than they ate! They really made a mess. I had to completely clean the coop twice while I had them, and I was doing the deep straw method.

Anonymous said...

Yes, all that instinct and nothing to protect when you have one too many roosters. Natural or not, I just won't be terrorized in my own backyard :)

Unknown said...

hi i have actuall 1 rooster and 1 hen there both polish chickens and all black ive heard there rare but the hens are even more rare than the male i thoght it was pretty exciting to hear do u have any rare chickens??

RichCat山羊居 said...

I was searching Cochin and found your Bearded White Polish Hen. I have polish but not white. I like your farm and would like to ask you take a look of mine. I want to make sure the breed names are correct.

Thank you.