Hello, and a heartfelt thanks to all of you that post and answer questions regularly. I have my very first flock of eleven hens, and I could not have done it without the expertise of people on this site. I spent nearly a year just deciding what breeds of chickens I wanted to have! This is the story of my decisions and rationale.

I live on 3 acres in western Michigan. We have some gnarly winters here, so I wanted larger birds that could handle the cold. While our weather can get hot in the summer; it is never scorching given that we are only a mile or so from Lake Michigan. So, no real need to worry about heat tolerance. Neither was I concerned about having hens that were prolific layers. I wanted a flock of 8-24 (8/acre is my township limit) and I plan to gift eggs to family and co-workers, so I didn't need hens that lay over 250 eggs/year.

I knew early on that I wanted a mixed flock for variation in egg color and prettier living yard art, but was less sure whether to have a rooster or to name my hens. There was a lot of information about the pros and cons of roosters and eventually, I made my own
personal choice...no roosters for me. I'm the rooster of my flock and it works.

When it came to naming my hens, the decision did not come as quickly. I vacillated. I knew I would talk to them, so it seemed like needed names or I would be saying 'Hey you, how are you doing today?" I also understood that they are not the same as other pets. Since I was going to have a dozen or so, and their life spans are not as long as a dog or cat, I wasn't sure I'd be able to remember all of their names as the flock turns over every 3-6 years.

So, I came up with a plan that is a bit of a compromise. I have named the breeds. I made a list of all of the different breeds I wanted to have (now and in the future given 'chicken math' considerations). Then, I went through my ancestral lineage for ever female name I could find and named each breed. I will always have a mixed breed flock and try to keep it to only one bird/breed at a time. When I replace a bird with the same breed, that bird will have the same name. Again, I've named the breed, not the individual bird. It was actually fun because I could try to match physical or personality traits. My grandmother Henrietta had the most beautiful salt and pepper hair....perfect match for the SLW. Anne, my other grandmother was a read head. You get it.

Here is a list of my current flock. A few, really observant people may notice there are 12 names listed and I said I had eleven hens. Yes, we lost Dottie to a predator at 4 months old. But, with this plan, I'll order another BO next spring and Dottie will live again!!

Silver Laced Wyandotte - Henrietta (paternal grandmother);
Welsummer - Anne (maternal grandmother);
Salmon Faverole - Johanna (great aunt);
Speckled Sussex - Jennie (great aunt);
French Black Copper Marans - Mable (great aunt);
Barnevelder - Maggie (great, great aunt);
Blue Favacauna - Loie (husband's aunt);
Blue Americana - Rena (husband's grandmother);
Green Queen EE - Alice (great grandmother);
Buff Orpington - Dottie (mother-in-law);
Black EE - Alena (husband's grandmother);
Buckeye - Melonie (only hen named after a living person...a physician I work with that went to med school at "THE Ohio State University". In Michigan, we really don't like Buckeyes, so I got a little grief for choosing this breed).

I've also already picked and named some future breeds including:
Barred Rock - Marge (daughter-in-law's grandmother);
Bielefelder - Jude
Columbian Wyandotte - Minnie (great, great grandmother);
Cuckoo Marans - TBD
Red-laced Blue Wyandotte - TBD

Now that I've shared my naming convention, I'll share my observations on each breed and post picture. Let me know if any of you out there have named the breed as I have done, I'm interested in hearing how it has worked.