Meet The Girls!I just have a small laying flock. We're never going to eat these girls (meat birds are a project for another year), so we figured we were safe in giving them all names. I didn't put heaps of thought into choosing the breeds. I just looked up winter hardy breeds (we live in NH) and then chose an assortment that I thought looked pretty. This could have backfired on me, but I got lucky and we have a great little flock of eight.
Magrat is my Dominique, and just about the sweetest thing ever. She's the runt of the flock, which is my own fault. I didn't realize when I chose a Dominique that they are a good pound lighter in size than most standard breeds. So she's not really a runt, she's full size for her breed. She's just smaller than everyone else. I think this is partly why she loves us so much. Being friends with the humans gets her more treats!
Sophie is my Salmon Faverolle. I read (again, after I'd already chosen my breeds) that this breed is exceptionally docile and often does not do well in mixed flocks because they end up on the very bottom of the pecking order. Guess what? Sophie is my dominant hen! Yup, she keeps everyone else in line. So much for breed characteristics - chickens will still be individuals! She's also prone to broodiness. If I ever get a rooster and need to hatch some eggs, I imagine Sophie would be a good momma.
Nanny Ogg is my Silver Laced Wyandotte. She's a fairy even tempered bird. When she was a week old, she figured out that jumping up on our hands was fun because we'd pick her up and let her roam around on the floor outside the brooder box. She's not as friendly now as she was then, but she's still a good girl.
Buffy is my Buff Orpington. I witnessed her chase, catch, shake to death, and eat a mouse in the garden once. This has earned her the title Buffy the Vermin Slayer around here.
Mab is my Gold Laced Wyandotte. She's a freak. You'd think we beat her or something, as skittish as she is. But we treated her no differently from the other girls, from day one. Go figure. During Buffy's mouse incident, the mouse ran across Mab's toes and she leapt into the air with a squawk and then ran for the coop. If she'd had a stool, she would have been up on it screaming "mouse!"
Jadis is my White Plymouth Rock. She's an explorer. When the rest of the girls are bunched up in a flock, she's the one off on her own scratching up new dirt or poking around in the garden. This might get her in trouble one day if she wanders too far and encounters a predator. But in the meantime she finds lots of bugs and worms the other girls miss. When Jadis was still very little, she nicked the back part of her comb on something (probably the wire of the run) and a piece of it came off! It's never grown back, so she has a short little comb that looks like it only grows forwards.
Xenioba and Yubaba are my two Speckled Sussex hens. Brian calls them the X-Y Twins. They both LOVE the pitchfork. Brian will use the pitchfork to flip the compost pile, or turn over soil in the garden. The Sussex girls will follow at his heels whenever he has the pitchfork because they want first dibs on the worms he flips over. Sometimes they get a little too eager and I hear him in the garden saying, "you crazy chickens, I can't use the pitchfork when you're standing on it!!!" I can tell the two apart because Xenioba has a bigger comb and Yubaba has crooked toes.
I have CAD - Chicken Acquisition Disorder!
A week ago, I picked up three 7-week old Dominiques from Othala Acres, two roos and a pullet. The boys I named Hugin and Munin, and the girl is Freya. Here they are in their temporary quarters while Brian builds them a mini-coop to get them through the winter. I'd like to try my hand at breeding Dominiques, so this is the beginning of a breeding project that I sure will involve a few more acquisitions to get me started ...