That’s what I’ve decided to call my new home:
It helps me to ‘name’ things.
A friend recently asked me to share what I named our hens.
I call ’em egg-layers
as we had meat-chickens in the spring.
Ever since I started dating my husband,
he has ‘lost’ hens…
whatever else … from what I understand, chickens are pretty easy pickings for predators.
I’m grateful his cat doesn’t seem to give them a 2nd thought.
I mainly name the hens after their ‘looks’ = I figured that’d make it the easiest…
for a few with STRONG behaviors.
1. Sassy… the oldest and last of the blacks (#16 originally… he had reds before them.). Sexlets I think is their proper name.
2. Long legs… runs the fastest and the last (#14) of her kind as well. Multi-colored feathers and blue-green eggs.
3. Texas… just looks like a cowboy – even her eyes! She stands TALL & has a TALL comb too. She’s what I call Zebra-striped, but I think their proper name is grey-something-or-the-other. His brother gave us #9 originally. He has over #50 I believe at his ‘farm’ as well as rabbits and sheep.
Don’t judge me. Names have always been hard for me to remember. I do better making up my own names…
which are totally subject to change.
Plus there’s a HUGE chart at the store with all these different types of chickens. My husband and his brother order often from magazines with even more selections. Mercy.
4. Brave… need I say more. She’s a zebra and was one of the few older chickens that has eaten out of my hand. All the baby-girls have eaten from my hand. They like clover best.
5. Della… as the lady at the store thought she might be a Delaware, but she’s a Cinnamon. I think she may be the smartest of all our birds. The most inquisitive and least scared as well. She also has some of the most unique feather-color-combos of the Cinnamons.
6. Raven… has a few black feathers amongst all the white AND was the first to roost & to fly over the fence of the baby-girls… leading to their wings getting clipped (this is a tame word for what I saw). It was most traumatic for me,
I was only watching. Only one bird didn’t make a ruckus.
My husband reminded me,
more than once – that there was no blood.
7. Dove… was Big Bird as she was the biggest when I brought her home & 1:2 white leggings.
8. Cinnamon… looks like a piece of toast to me… some parts of her feathers are white.
I would name MANY of them after coffee-drinks.
I named our turkeys in the spring:
Carmel and Latte. So I could say, “Carmel Latte.”
A friend at church told me that food-names are the best for any potential meals.
I’m so GLAD we didn’t raise a pig this year (or any year, I hope). “Charlotte’s Web,” need I say more?!?
I’m actually OK with spiders because of the book/movie.
I read/watched it more than once as a kid.
God knew what I would need.
Snakes are seen almost daily as well. I’m still learning there. My Dad use to take care of snakes, if they weren’t the harmless colors… I just see a different type almost every time. Mercy.
I have no interest in getting close enough to see their eyes.
9. Freckles… Was Big Twin, but her feathers got interesting on top of her head as they grew in. In my opinion she looks like a hawk, but is the goofiest of all … so that helps keep her from being intense-looking.
10. Mask… Was Tiny Twin, but her feathers have given her white goggles around her eyes. She’s still the smallest, but the fastest of her group from day one. I look forward to seeing her run with Long Legs.
Even the baby-girls have formed clicks.
Usually #2-3 pair off and follow each other.
Roost with each other.
Raven, however, is often left alone snacking in the sweet-potato vines’ mulch long after the others have gone back to their home. I’m thinking Raven & Brave will team up eventually as they both are the most drawn to food.
11. Queen… ‘cuz she stays on the nest almost all day. I got her ceramic eggs, but she still makes a sad noise whenever I come and take the eggs. I got advice from the farm-girl when I bought the baby chicks and thought they’d help, but she didn’t even look at ’em. She just wants to sit… in her nest = thus Queen. I think she lost (to predators) all of her click (We lost #4 in a month earlier this summer!), and this is how she’s dealing with it. She doesn’t interact with ANY of the other birds. It’s so sad.
I often leave her treats in the nest box.
I’ve put Queen with the babies more than once,
Brave for the first time yesterday.
Both supervised visits.
“Pecking-Order” isn’t ‘made-up.’
I don’t ‘allow’ it
I’m out with ’em.
Everybody’s got to be ‘nice.’
It’s weird seeing the babies starting behaviors to establish “Pecking-Order.” Cinnamon & Dove have both displayed ‘standing-tall’ behavior with the other babies. I saw this with the meat-chickens too. Cinnamon is the BIGGEST of the baby-bunch, but she’s not very smart and gets stressed out pretty easily. Not good boss-material if ya ask me.
I watched the older black hens transfer leadership as we had #2 of those die from old age. Sassy isn’t the 1st Sassy. Her behavior changed as she become the oldest-bird-on-the-block.
Recently my husband commented that ALL the older birds seem to be getting along. I’d agree.
Maybe it’s because there’s room for all of them on the top roost-bar now.
My husband wants to join the flocks in about a month.
I’ve seen a chicken leash with a harness for sale…
I’d try it,
I don’t think ANY of the baby-chicks would handle it well. I tried holding them everyday in the beginning in the hopes of making a pet or two,
NONE of them liked it. It was adding stress to their life, and they were running away whenever I came out… so I stopped.
One of the meat-chickens in the spring would have worn the harness
as he came up to me
whenever I went for a visit (check their water/food, etc.). He actually LIKED being petted, and even sat on my feet. He took a nap there more than once.
Kurt didn’t like that.
Kurt was willing to let me ‘keep’ him,
every day he got heavier (bred for breast meat)
started having difficulty breathing… since he almost never walked, I didn’t think he’d survive the summer-heat.
He was getting starting to get mean.
Our rooster when I was a kid was mean.
Kurt doesn’t keep a rooster as the hens will lay an egg without them… just no chicks.
Kurt’s brother has offered to give us some fertilized eggs for Queen,
she changes nests almost daily. Plus, Kurt doesn’t want to raise babies.
Poor Kurt, he never had so much chicken-drama in his whole life.
Some days I see the chickens more than I see him.
I got WAY too attached to the #20 meat chickens and #2 turkeys in the spring… so I’m trying to be ‘smarter’ about the amount of time I spend with the critters.
I try to sit with the cat morning and evening… I think his purring calms me. He’s addicted to being petted.
I wish the neighbors dogs would visit,
then I’d get attached.
I get to hear the cows, donkeys
on all sides,
I hoping we wait until summer to raise meat chickens next year and slaughter before winter. That way we don’t have to use a light to keep ’em warm (although the Greenhouse did work GREAT!),
by then I’ll be wanting to stock-up the freezer for the winter.
Who knew I ‘needed’ county-life,
I like it.
I start getting calmer as soon as I see the fields.
Wildflowers this year have been fantastic!
Last night my husband said the stars were especially bright. I miss parking in the barn and seeing the galaxy-belt of stars every time I come in after dark,
I don’t miss
cat-prints on my car like a mohawk
strangers eating in the cat’s food and their fur brushing against my legs as they bolt away.
I still don’t know if they were cats or something else. So not cool.
Gumby, the cat is now fed in the garage.
He also currently rules the barn,
especially the loft…
where I’d like to have a retreat,
he kills and eats in there.
I’ve become even more sensitive to smells.
I just wish it wasn’t an hour to ‘everywhere’ I use to go.
I just ‘go’ less.
I enjoy more.
Kurt said life was boring before me.