A number of events led to me receiving my brood of chicks in 2014. The main thing that had happened was that of the chicks I ordered in 2013, the one that I was most looking forward to getting, the Silver Gray Dorking, did not hatch. And so, for 2014, I had on order a Dorking as well as a Welsummer and two Black Copper Marans from Meyer Hatchery. Since I knew I would be getting chicks in 2014 and I also kind of always wanted some of them, I reserved two Cream Legbar pullets for roughly the same time from a fellow Indiana BYCer who bred them.
In the mean time, someone close to us had a hen that needed a new home because she was being bullied in her flock. I had admired this hen before in previous posts and, well, long story short she came home with me to join my flock after a quarantine period. Because she was so closely involved in the introduction of these babies to my flock as well, she’s included here with the Littles.
The Meyer Babies
Pickup day came around for my Meyer babies, and we received a call to let us know that the babies were ready. On a whim, I asked if there were any extra Dorking pullets from their hatch. There were, and so I added a second one to my order. A long drive later, we arrived at Meyer’s to find that they had accidentally entered the Dorkings twice—I had four Dorkings instead of two!
Now, as much as I wanted to, I knew based on my coop size that I shouldn’t take those extra Dorkings home with me. I have regretted this decision ever since! Dorkings have quickly become my absolute favorite breed, and I definitely want more in the future! I found also that my Marans and Welsummer were quite personable as well. To date, this brood has been the friendliest set of birds I’ve raised!
The Dorking Twins
Dorkings, Dorkings, Dorkings… There is a reason these babies quickly climbed to the top of my favorite breeds list! From day 1, it was nothing but Dorking cuddles every day!
Elda quickly stood out as the cuddler of the two. Both she and Kit love cuddles to this day, but Elly goes out of her way to find them every time I’m outside!
Kit-kit, meanwhile, has always been the talker of the group. She was a bit smaller than the rest when they were young, but her voice was always heard!
As adults now, the two are largely still in the same roles as they were as babies. Kit’s the talker and Elly’s the cuddler. The Dorkings have always been a little tricky to tell apart in pictures, but for me, there’s no question who’s who when I’m out there with them.
Elda still hasn’t found a lap she wouldn’t love to sit on for hours.
Sadly, my sweet Kit-Kit was taken from me by a hawk on January 14, 2016. She and Elly had been separated due to Elly being sick for much of the end of 2015, but they were still very close and Kit would stick with Elly whenever I brought her out for a visit during her sickness.
The Black Copper Marans were my attempt to add a new color of egg to my egg basket, but the girls turned out to be such sweethearts that I fell in love with them easily. Sadly, before their first hatchday, I lost lovely Louise to illness.
Between losing Louise and my beloved Frou-Frou in 2015, this left Georgette as my only Marans. Georgie was such a stompy-footed, bossy, BIG chick that I thought for a while she may be a young male!
Of course, my concerns turned out not to be true, but Georgie was still always the big, clumsy oaf as she grew! Here she was next to some of the others in her brood—she was a big gal!
Georgie reminded me of a T. Rex, with her big, stompy feet and her menacing scowl.
Georgie was a quiet, reserved hen who preferred to keep to herself, though she would come over for attention from me once the other hens had cleared away. She was also a dedicated layer and, when she decided to, a very determined broody!
Georgie passed away on July 14, 2016, presumably unable to handle the summer heat.
I also questioned whether my Welsummer, Mabel, was a boy or a girl, coining the phrase, ‘Mabey she is, Mabey he isn’t’ as I waited for her to become a more obvious female. Looking back at her pictures, of course, it’s pretty obvious to me now that she was a girl all along—much more so than it was with Georgie!
As a chick, Mabel had the sweetest expressions.
Mabel was a bit of a wild card. She was energetic and a bit spastic, and also quite the meanie when introduced to the two breeder chicks!
As she grew she became quite the grumpy-gills! She also became big boss pullet of the youngsters, and quite the pushy little thing.
She still has quite the grumpy looking face, though she’s much more of a sweetheart now. She maintains her big boss personality with the others her age and younger, and her pushiness with me for attention.
The Breeder Babies
To go along with the above chicks, I purchased two cream Legbars from a nearby breeder. Well, as they grew, it became clear to me that one was not what she first appeared to be. Violet, as it turned out, was a Bielefelder. This turned out to be a happy mistake, as Violet was one of my favorite birds and Bielefelders quickly became one of my favorite breeds. Sadly, Violet passed away of apparent heart failure from the stress of a predator attack on the flock that claimed another hen.
Poppy, in the mean time, was certainly the Legbar she was supposed to be, and grew up to be quite the diva for picture taking. In person, though, she’s more of a sketchy, quirky young lady.
Poppy is difficult to get a picture of as she often has too many stipulations before she’ll pose properly. When she isn’t ready, she makes it pretty clear.
Poppy’s comb has grown and grown and grown! I call it a ‘rumple comb’ for its ridiculously wrinkled appearance.
Poppy lays the most beautiful blue eggs of my flock thus far! Too bad I don't have any pictures of them!
Tilde the Swedish Flower Hen
Tilde has been an interesting bird for my flock. When she first arrived, she was so cautious and seemed uneasy about everything. Her expression was usually that of surprise!
After her quarantine, I attempted to integrate her into my flock, but that failed miserably. Tilde was just too skitterish to stand up for herself.
Because of this, I introduced her to the Littles, and that was when Tilde blossomed! She became somewhat like an older sister to the babies, both bossing them around and showing them the ropes, albeit begrudgingly at times.
Once Tilde had figured out that there were birds she could push around, she integrated into the flock much more easily! She’s definitely not the top hen, but she isn’t the very bottom of the pecking order, either, in spite of sometimes being skittery with some of the older hens. She turned into quite the grump, though there’s just something endearing in her grumpiness. Every time I have to handle her, she grumbles at me in her silly ‘auk-auk’ voice.
Tilde’s crest gets so big that I have to keep it trimmed down. If I don’t, she’s almost completely blind!
To sum it up...
names: Elda, AKA Elly or Elly-Welly
hatch date: May 18, 2014
breed: Silver Gray Dorking
egg color: White and quite round
hatch date: May 18, 2014
egg color: Brown with dark purplish speckles that look dark brown when wet
hatch date: around May 12, 2014
breed: Cream Legbar
egg color: Beautiful blue!
name: Matilde, AKA Tilde or Tilly
hatch date: Early September 2013
breed: Swedish Flower Hen
egg color: Light brown
Thanks for reading!