I am no longer updating this page. For more about Scooter, Vespa, and Frannie, check out this page: The Bantam Flock!
We found out about these swap meets that occur several times over the summer, and thought it would be an easy way to add birds to our flock. My mom went alone the first time and came home with three golden Sebrights, Rose, Martha, and Amy. They were so adorable and so full of life that I couldn't help falling for the little darlings. Knowing this, I went to a few swap meets with my mom, but what I found was that they are far more unpleasant of a place than I would want to go. The place was packed with people peddling everything from guns and decorations to chickens and ducks, other birds, and even foxes and raccoons. I found after a few trips that I couldn't stand to go anymore. I knew that for most of these animals, the cages they were stuffed into were temporary for that meet, but it was still hard to see.
The next year, my mom went alone again. After our first experience with the golden Sebrights, she had one target in mind: to add three silver Sebrights to the flock as well. From what she said, she came across someone selling them, but passed to see if there were any more to choose from. And then she came across someone with just three left. She went ahead and bought those three. She tells me they were in a cage that was too short for them, their tail feathers cut off to make sure they fit. The person handling them was brutal, snatching them roughly and jamming them into her cage. She noticed, as this person was moving the birds, that these three little Sebrights had been debeaked. By then, she didn't have the heart to put them back, and I would never blame her for that. She made the purchase and headed home to me.
When I saw these three little Sebrights, their tails lopped off, their beaks mutilated, their feathers tattered from lack of care, I held my composure and prepared them a hutch to stay in for quarantine. They were light in weight and absolutely terrified of hands. I gave them a straw-floored enclosure with a perch and a cardboard box to nest in, and then I left them there. I couldn't hold it any longer. I found a dark place to sit, and I cried. To think of what horrors these birds had been through makes my eyes fill with tears even today. I cried to mourn their suffering.
But at one point, I made myself stop my tears. I decided at that moment that I would not go on thinking about where they were, but instead I vowed I would make the rest of their lives as comfortable as possible, in a loving home with a keeper that truly cared. And so their new life began.
I remember just a week afterward, one of the little darlings laid an egg. That was the beginning of what I feel was their recovery from their tragic past. Not long later, they began regrowing their tails. I have always loved how exaggerated Sebright's tails are, and I was so happy to see that they would have those adorable fan-tails back again. I remember the day I set them loose from their hutch and into the main flock. The way they behaved, I have no trouble believing they had never touched the ground before. They never go far when they free-range with the flock. Because of their beaks, they can't eat very well while free-ranging, and one of the three can't eat at all while free-ranging because of how bad her beak is. I remember the day I chose their names. They dart around the chicken yard on their little legs, buzzing around so fast, that I thought of little motor bikes buzzing around. They ended up as Scooter, Vespa, and (a name chosen with a train of thought behind it) Francine, AKA Frannie.
Since they've arrived, they have become less human shy. I avoid picking them up because I don't like to add any more stress than I have to, but they come close enough that I could reach down and catch them if I was fast enough, and Scooter and Vespa have reached the point that when I do pick them up, they're relatively calm while I hold them. Their feathers look absolutely beautiful now, thanks to their moult (during which Vespa kind of exploded away all her feathers, but I won't go into that here). When I look at them today and think back to what they looked like when they first arrived, I do feel sad. But seeing how much progress they've made makes me feel so much better for where they are now.
Pretty little survivors...
Frannie (left), Scooter (bottom right), and Vespa (top right) in early spring, 2012:
An early picture of Scooter; at this point, her tail had mostly grown in and her feathers had cleaned up nicely:
Vespa trying to look like a threatening broody:
Scooter (top) and Vespa (bottom) locked in the broody-away pen:
Frannie (front left, kicking up dust), Vespa (front right), and Scooter (back right, snoozing) in late spring 2012:
Vespa being the cutest li'l banty ever!:
Scooter looking down on anyone that would dare defy her:
Frannie, early 2013:
Scooter and Frannie preening, early 2013:
Vespa drinking from the downspout, early 2013:
To sum it up...names: Scooter, Vespa, and Frannie
sex: all female
age: 3 years old (born in winter, end of 2010 / beginning of 2011)
breed: silver Sebright
egg color: they all lay cute little cream-colored eggs
Thanks for reading!