DÚN AN OIR HENS
Hill of Gold Hens
We visited a farm in New Hampshire a few years ago - a working farm to show the children chickens, goats, pigs and cattle. I fell in love with their cochin chickens - full feathered legs and researched the possibility of raising backyard chickens. My husband joined together two dog kennels to make a 20 by 20 enclosure - predator proofed at the bottom 2 feet with hardware cloth buried and attached to the bottom chain link. He then converted our daughters wooden play house to a new hen house and built an outside accessible nesting box.
Off we travelled to Rhode Island to get my breeder incubated cochin chickens - large fowl. The same breeder had Belgian d'Uccles - mille fleur - so we purchased a few of these bantams too. We added to the flock by adopting a silkie and when her eggs didn't hatch as luck would have it my daughter's school project - incubating eggs - allowed Fifi to adopt 3 chicks and raise them from day old chicks. From reading the member submissions on Backyard Chickens I realize I was infected with chicken fever and I added to the flock by purchasing chicks from our local feed and grain store.
Our flock is comprised of
full sized cochin chickens (georgeous), delawares (very independent) , a specked sussex (bossy) , a rhode island red (the family pet and the most friendly) , a barred rock (great forager and sometimes the head hen) , a Belgian d'Uccle (easygoing and popular with all the other chickens), orpingtons (standoffish), a polish (not well liked by the others but very pretty), an Easter Egger (from the school project and because she was raised by a broody fiercely independent and cannot be held or petted).
We have since added to our flock with silkies, a frizzle, a silver spangled hamburg, a black australorp, a blue andalusian, a silver leghorn, and a crevecouer.
In our town we cannot have roosters so I wanted to have a large selection of different breeds - they all get along well and although the polish is just tolerated I think it was because she was a rescue chicken - I integrated her without difficulty but she still likes to forage alone and doesn't really socialise with the other girls.
And the name - Dun an Oir Hens (Hill of Gold Hens) - this is to honor my mom who died in 2010. Dun an Oir was the name of her home in Ireland - she loved her home and so I felt it appropriate to remember her in this way. She died in April and we got our chicks in May - they helped me with my grief and to settle back into America when missing Ireland. I have custom made egg carton labels - labelled Dun an Oir Eggs and we give our eggs to friends and family - everyone loves the labels and I tell then about my mom each time they comment on the labels. My mom will never be forgotten !