Olive is now the oldest hen in the flock. Because she's the last old hen, I decided to combine her section of my old hen page with the other reds' page.
Olive joined the flock with a group of production Rhode Island reds whose previous owner decided that they didn't like chickens after all. Olive arrived in the spring of 2007 as part of the so-called second generation of chickens here, a point of lay pullet then. When I saw her big green eyes, the only name I could think of to fit her was Olive.
A lot of things surprise Olive. She is surprised at how messy oatmeal is.
She is surprised at how comfy sunbathing can be...
She's surprised that the other birds don't know to get in out of the rain.
She is surprised that you noticed her!
But seriously, old Olive Big-Eyes, as the oldest hen in the flock now, is the highest ranking hen. She has begun looking more and more rooster-like lately, and has picked up a habit of doing the treat chirp like a rooster would. So maybe she's going a bit senile...
But she's still a handsome old hen.
Poor old Olive lost part of her comb and wattles in the winter of early 2013. The coop flooded during a warm spell, and as much as I tried, I couldn't get rid of that excess moisture fast enough. Here is what she looks like now:
Sadly, Olive has passed away. I found her lying in the chicken yard, as if she had just gone to sleep and not gotten up...
She had a long life... ~ Spring 2006-Summer 2015
Generation 4 of my flock was all red sexlinks. We got eight of them that year from Tractor Supply. I remember hoping for a variety and by the time we got there, all they had were the red sexlinks. So I picked as many different patterns on the sexlinks as I could, and I made the best of it that I could.
This was in 2009, the very same year my niece was born. My sister lived out of state at the time, and my mom and I went overnight to be with her when she was in labor. The sexlinks were a few months old by then and were living outside with the flock. Unfortunately, the very same night my niece was born was the one night something attacked and killed two of the sexlinks. They had not yet been named. The remaining six lived on, though, and in time they were named. I had Mocha, Sunburst, Tyto, Jubula, DQ, and Blizzy.
Sunburst died at about a year old from heart problems. She was the most beautiful sexlink I'd ever seen, with rich dark feathers all over and a neck of white laced in gold. Though she never liked to be held, I adored her for her beauty and I missed her when she was gone.
DQ eventually fell ill and died. This was before I had really gotten into chickening, and so I hadn't much noticed until it was too late...
Mocha and Jubula both succumbed to internal laying, which was a horrible, slow, painful way for them to go. If I had it to do over, I would have put them out of their misery much sooner.
And finally, Tyto was lost after fighting sour crop on and off for months. I had helped her through it once before, but the second time, she never quite got through it. Tyto was a treasure of a sexlink, a talker, an adventurer, bold as could be. Tyto had a problem with 'hen pattern baldness,' though she must have come up with a cure for it in her lifetime. I'll always miss that girl...
And then there was Blizzy...
It would be a darn shame to take my Blizzy bird off of this page. She was a character, a survivor, an all-around cool chick. She passed away on December 13, 2012, after falling ill. I fought for her. I did all I could, but there was no coming back.
It broke my heart to let my Blizzy go. But what has been worse is remembering it over and over again. See, Blizzy would always be the first to investigate things. Since she passed, I would be out minding my own business and do something like open the garage door or dump water out of a bucket, and then I would think that good old Blizzy would be there in a heartbeat to see what was going on. That is what hurts the most right now.
For those interested, I documented Blizzy's illness here. Her memorial thread, with many more pictures and stories of her, is here.
The Generation 5 Sexlinks
Generation 5 saw another set of chicks bought from TSC. That year, four of our ten chicks were (believed) sexlinks of some sort. I never confirmed what Corella was, but I suspect she was an amberlink of some sort--a white hen with splashes of red down her back and a habit of laying large brown eggs. Corella was lost rather suddenly in the recovering stages of a mild illness. We aren't sure what happened.
Then, in March 2014, I lost Flicker to internal laying. I so wish I could have done something to help her... She gave me one last teary-eyed chuckle, though, for she had gone through her feed and picked out only the scratch grains I had added in an attempt to get her to eat in her final moments...
This was my last picture of Flicker:
And so, just two red sexlinks remain in my flock: Skua and Sora.
Skua, what a sweetie! Skua is a quiet, modest hen who doesn't mind a good wattle rubbing but would flee if you tried something drastic like picking her up. A bit of a night owl, she likes to stay out free ranging until late, and give me mini-heart-attacks when I come out to find she's missing.
When I do round her up and get her home, she has to do her nightly preening...
...Before falling asleep at her place on the roost.
Skua is a trooper when it comes to egg laying. She is in and out of the nests so quietly that I hardly know she's been in there. Unfortunately, her eggs are usually thin-shelled and make messes when the next clumsy hen goes in to lay.
Sora is a sweetie, too, and a little anxiety-prone. She is a nervous talker, clucking in light 'ba-dock-buck-buck's when you make her uncomfortable. She doesn't like her face touched at all, but will sit still for a brief petting under the right circumstances.
Sora sometimes hits the treats too hard.
Sora had a rough molt over the winter of 2012-2013 and her feathers are now splashed with white.
To sum it up...
names: Skua and Sora
sex: both female
hatch date: Spring 2010
breed: Red Sexlink
egg color: brown--and Skua lays really BIG eggs, too!
Thanks for reading!