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MsChickenMomma's Flock

  1. MsChickenMomma
    I have been raising chickens for the last 3 years. It has been quite the journey with lots of ups and downs. I currently have a flock of 23 chickens. One rooster and 22 hens. My very first chickens were rescues. My grandfather was raising them for eggs. He pretty much had a commercial farm in his own backyard. He had 40 chickens crammed in a coop and run that shouldn't have had more than 15 chickens in it, and the coop hadn't been cleaned once in the entire two and a half years that he owned them. Most of the chickens died from illnesses the first couple months that they were in my care. I managed to save 26 of them. I kept 9 and the rest went to good homes. I have 7 of them left. Two died from a raccoon attack about two years ago. The 7 that I have left will be six years old in April.


    This is Henny. She is a New Hampshire Red. She is the only hen that I rescued that never reached 100% health. She has some brain damage from the illnesses that she had, and she is mostly blind. When she first came into my care she only had feathers on her neck, and a few tail and wing feathers. She has since grown back all of her feathers. When she was really sick, she couldn't hardly walk. She would walk with her belly almost touching the ground, and her legs would go up above her head when she walked. It was really a sad sight, and I expected her to be one of the hens I found dead in the yard. But she pulled through it. She can no longer jump or even climb up onto anything higher than 6 inches off the ground, so she sleeps in the nest boxes closest to the ground. She stopped laying eggs about a month ago, but I was getting one brown egg with dark brown speckles every day from her. Over the past few months she has become weaker, and she hasn't been eating as much. So I don't expect her to make it through this winter. But it makes me happy to know that I have given her the best life she could possibly have.

    (Picture taken April 2013)
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    (Picture taken May 2013)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Ginger. She is a New Hampshire Red. She has arthritis in her feet due to her very crooked toes. She gets around good, but she has a really hard time in the winter when her feet are cold. She got very sick last winter, and I almost lost her. Like Henny, she is starting to grow weaker. I just recently had to perform Brumble Foot surgery on her, and I think the Brumble Foot really took a tole on her. She is going through a molt right now, so that may be why she is weak. I'm really hoping for the best for her.

    (Picture taken 9/27/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/12/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Frannie. She is a Rhode Island Red. She is still going strong. She lays an egg 1-3 times per week. She has slightly crooked toes, but it doesn't seem to phase her. She is full of personality and is easily entertained. She has always been on the small side, but that doesn't bother her in the slightest.

    (Picture taken April 2013)
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    (Picture taken 08/04/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Emo Chicken. She is a Rhode Island Red. She has a goofy name, I know. But she went through a phase a few months after I got her where she was the outcast in the flock. My family started called her "That Emo Chicken" and the nickname just stuck. She even started responding to it. Once a chicken responds to a name, there's no changing it. [​IMG] Emo Chicken is no longer the outcast. She actually gets along great with the other girls (and boy). She is a bit on the heavy side, but I think she is making up for the time when she didn't get much to eat when she was the outcast. She still lays eggs for me 4-5 times per week, and she is VERY dramatic about it. She'll go on with her egg song for half an hour if she wants to.

    (Picture taken May 2013)
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    (Picture taken June 2013)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Coraline. She is a Buff Orpington. She is my broody girl. She has been broody 5 times in the last two years. Two of those times she hatched chicks. The first batch was 5 chicks. Three boys and two girls. I kept both of the girls and one of the boys. The second batch was 6 chicks. Four boys and two girls. The rooster from the first batch was the father of the second. Awkward, I know. Lol! Coraline loves to be a momma. She tries every chance she gets. When she's not broody, she loves to forage and explore. She still lays about 1-4 eggs per week as well.

    (Picture taken May 2013)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Shelby. She is a Buff Orpington. She is my best layer out of the older girls. She lays an egg 5-6 days per week, and she also lays the biggest eggs. Hers usually weigh 3.0 - 3.4 ounces. She has been broody twice. She hatched chicks one of those times. She hatched a batch of four. Two boys and two girls. She is the bossy girl of the flock. She has her sweet side too, but she can be pretty grumpy. Especially towards any hen trying to lay an egg in the nest boxes. I have 15 nest boxes and she views every single one as hers and hers alone. [​IMG]

    (Picture taken May 2013)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Ruby. She is a Buff Orpington. She has been on the up and down side the past 6 months. This summer she became egg bound, and we almost lost her. Then two months ago she stopped eating. She didn't eat anything except a mouthful of feed here and there for 2 weeks and she lost all of her strength. She was sleeping in the nest boxes for a while because she couldn't gather the strength to get up onto the roosts. She has started eating again and gained her strength back, but she is still very underweight. She went broody one time two years ago, and hatched two chicks. One boy and one girl. We tried to keep the rooster, but he became very aggressive and had to be put down. The hen that she hatched died while free ranging in the Summer of 2012 for some unknown reason. We think she may have had a heart attack.


    (Picture taken April 2013)
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    (Picture taken May 2013) (Randy is the rooster in the photo. He was the rooster that I kept from Coraline's first batch of chicks)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Rodney. He is a Rhode Island Red. He is Coraline's son (from her second batch of chicks). His dad was the rooster from the first batch. We had to re-home the other rooster this past Summer because he became very aggressive with Rodney and the hens. He went to a good home where he can be the only rooster. Rodney was hatched June 8, 2012. He is the sweetest rooster I have ever had, and he does great with the hens. He is quite dramatic. He freaks out if a bird lands on the ground next to him, and he has a tendency to freak out if one of the hens sings an egg song. When he was young, he was my buddy. He followed me everywhere, and he loved to be held. He still loves to be around me, but he's not nearly as affectionate as he was when he was a few months old.


    (Picture taken May 2013)
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    (Picture taken 09/08/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Betty. She is a Rhode Island Red. She was one of the hens from Coraline's first batch of chicks (hatched August 19, 2011). Betty is quite grumpy when she wants to be. But she has a very sweet side too. She is one of the top hens, and she is always showing the other girls that she is boss. She just went through an explosive molt, so she's very ruffled looking. Even though I can't pet her goodnight on the roosts without getting pecked hard on the hand, she is one of my favorites. She has a great personality.


    (Picture taken May 2013) She is on the far left. The other two chickens in the photo are Ginger and Ruby.
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    (Picture taken 08/04/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Betty's sister Katie. She is a Buff Orpington/Rhode Island Red mix. (Hatched August 19, 2011) Katie is full of spirit. When she was young she was always the one to go the farthest away from the barn, and the first to check out something new. She has mellowed down a lot with age since then. Now she spends most of the day on the roost preening her feathers and taking naps. She hates when I add new chickens to the flock, and she has a tendency to bully young chickens really bad if I'm not careful. She's one that I have to put on the roosts as far as possible from the little ones at night. When there aren't young chickens around, she is very sweet and gets along great with the other chickens.

    (Picture taken April 2013) She's the hen in the front.
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    (Katie with her momma, Coraline. Picture taken May 2013)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Avalanna. (pronounced Ava La Nuh) She is a Rhode Island Red. Hatched by Coraline June 8, 2012. She is my little mischief maker. She is the only hen that refuses to lay eggs in the nest box, no matter what I try. Instead she insists on laying them in the cat box in the loft of my barn. I have tried just not letting her up there, but she holds her egg for days if she can't lay it in that box. So part of my daily routine is to let Avalanna into the front of the barn so she can climb the latter to the loft and lay her eggs. [​IMG] I get a lot of people asking me where I got her name. I named her after a little girl who died from a rare form of brain cancer in September of 2012. I thought it was a beautiful name, and it fits my little hen perfectly. Avalanna has the prettiest green eyes I have ever seen on a chicken. [​IMG] They are my favorite thing about her.


    (Picture taken May 2013) She's the second hen on the left.
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    (Picture taken 06/16/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Sabrina. She is a Rhode Island Red. (Hatched by Coraline June 8, 2013) She can be quite a naughty girl when she wants to be. Every morning she likes to wait until there are lots of other hens in the nest boxes, and she'll pull them out and steal there spot. Then after about 5 minutes she decides that she doesn't like that spot and she'll get out and go kick another hen out. It's usually a never ending cycle until she finally lays her egg. She gets like that about feeders too. I have three feeders, and she insists on only eating out of one that is already occupied by another hen. Not sure why she does this. I think it's just because she knows she can get away with it. [​IMG]


    (Picture taken May 2013)
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    (Picture taken May 2013) She is on the right.
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Chicken Little. She is a Buff Orpington/Rhode Island Red mix like Katie. She was hatched by Shelby June 13, 2013. Chicken Little almost died while hatching. She was the last of Shelby's clutch to hatch, and Shelby quit sitting on her eggs while Chicken Little was in the process of hatching. We didn't have an incubator, and Chicken Little was getting cold. So I brought her in the house and my mom and I sat with a light over her egg trying to warm her back up. When the egg was warm, she was already almost at the point of death. So we assisted her out of the shell (bad, I know) and my mom sat with her wrapped in a heat pad and a warm towel for 5 hours. She survived, and we were able to put her back out with her momma. Because of how she had to be hatched, she was a runt. Hence why we named her Chicken Little. Like Katie was, Chicken Little is very adventurous. Several times this summer I had to go and get her from the neighbors yard, which is 400ft away. She is starting to grow out of it now though.

    (Picture taken May 2013)
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    (Picture taken 07/06/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Chicken Little's sister, Demi. (Short for Demetria) She was hatched June 12, 2013. She isn't nearly as naughty as the other hens her age. She is much more laid back, does great with the littler chickens, and isn't at all adventurous. Unless it's almost bed-time. Then she is out wandering the yard until she can't hardly see any more. She loves to search for grit in our gravel driveway, and she spends a lot of time around Chicken Little. She doesn't like to cause trouble with her other flock members, so when it comes time to lay her eggs, she goes in one of the empty nest boxes, or she waits until her favorite one is open.

    (Picture taken May 2013)
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    (Picture taken 08/28/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    These are my most recent additions to the flock. I got them from Meyer Hatchery. They were hatched May 5, 2013. I am very happy with them. For hatchery stock, I think they are very good quality. Meyer had great costumer service, and they were very nice and understanding when I lost the 10th chick the first day they arrived. They even offered to send me three free replacements. (which I declined because I didn't feel it was safe to ship only three chicks.) If I ever need more chickens, I will happily order from Meyer Hatchery again.


    This is Ellie. She is an Easter Egger. She is my little chatter-box. She loves to follow me around the coop and just chatter away. Sometimes she'll even jump on my back and talk into my ear. [​IMG] She is a very lovely girl. She lays beautiful green/blue eggs 4 times per week. Before I integrated the 9 little girls into the adult flock, she was at the top of the pecking order. Even though she is now towards the middle of the pecking order, she still views herself as the top hen. She went through a phase where she became very frightened of me, but since she started laying eggs, she follows me everywhere.

    (Picture take 05/12/13)
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    (Picture taken 09/27/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Amber. She is a clean faced Easter Egger. She is very skittish, and doesn't like people much. For the first 3 months of her life I was convinced she was a cockerel. She always stood really tall, and she would constantly chest bump the other girls. She still does it sometimes. She hasn't laid her first egg yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing what color she lays. [​IMG] She seems to be a mix of some sort, so it's a mystery right now. She doesn't have a beard, she has pinky white earlobes, and her comb isn't quite a pea comb. Which really makes me think she is only part Easter Egger. That's fine with me though, because she is so beautiful. [​IMG]


    (Picture taken 05/12/13)
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    (Picture taken 09/27/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Lilly. She a a Black Australorp. She was supposed to have a pair too, but my other Black Aussie died from what we think was Wry Neck. Lilly is very quiet, and she likes to keep to herself. She has never liked or trusted people, but she is starting to realize that I am not going to hurt her. She has not laid her first egg yet, and judging by the length of her comb and wattles, she has a little ways to go yet. About two months ago my chickens were attacked by a hawk while they were free ranging, and I almost lost this little girl. She was missing for almost 6 hours. I looked everywhere for her. She finally showed up late that evening. I still have no idea where she was. She was very scared and wanted in the coop ASAP! She didn't leave the coop after that for about 4 days. Now when I let the girls out for a supervised free ranging, she mostly stays in the front of the barn or the grass in the yard that we don't mow. Sometimes I feel bad for Lilly because the other 8 girls have a pair that they spend all of their time with, and Lilly doesn't have that. But she seems content with just following the other girls around. She spends most of her time with the Easter Eggers and the Campines.

    (Picture taken 05/07/13)
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    (Picture taken 07/17/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Lucy. She is a Golden Campine. She is such a character. She spends most of her time with Rodney, and she is always making happy little clucking noises, all day long. [​IMG] She lays one tiny white egg 1-2 times per week. She has only ever laid two eggs in the nest box. The rest are usually wherever she happened to be standing at the time. Sometimes she'll be getting a drink, or eating, or even laying on the roosts. I don't think she realizes that eggs aren't poop. You can't just plop them out wherever, whenever. [​IMG]I think the fact that the eggs never weigh more than 1.0 ounce, she is a bit confused by it. She'll get it eventually. Lucy is also very adventurous. She loves to wander and go as far away from the barn as she can get away with. She is very curious and is always looking for new things to discover.

    (Picture taken 05/07/13)
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    (Picture taken 09/28/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Lizzie. She is a Golden Campine. She is very skittish and flighty, but very fun to have around. Her favorite thing to do is chase my cats across the yard. She'll pop up out of nowhere with her neck feathers raised and wings out and go tearing after the cats. She never intends to hurt the cats. I think she just likes having something to chase. My coop is about 15-17 ft long and their are two roosts on each side. Another of her favorite games is to jump from one side to the other. Usually using my head as a launch pad halfway through. [​IMG] She still hasn't laid her first egg, but she has been checking out the nest boxes a lot, so she's close. Hopefully she won't be like Lucy, and she'll lay her eggs in the nest box. [​IMG]

    (Picture taken 05/12/13)
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    (Picture taken 09/08/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Annie. She is a White Leghorn. I was told back in April by many people not to get Leghorns because they are so flighty, but Annie is one of the sweetest chickens I have. She loves to jump up on my shoulder every time I lean down to pick something up or when I'm checking the nest boxes for eggs. When she's outside every time I walk past her she'll squat, and I always pick her up when she does and hold her for a few minutes. Annie has always been very sweet. Even from the first day that I got the. She started laying eggs at 17 weeks and 6 days, and she has been laying an egg almost every day since. Sometimes Annie can be quite loud. She'll sit up on the roosts and cluck as loud as she can for no reason. Thankfully she only does this a couple times per day. Usually when she wants something.

    (Picture taken 05/07/13)
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    (Picture taken 08/28/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Alice. She is a White Leghorn. She isn't quite as sweet as Annie, but she isn't at all flighty. She started laying eggs as 17 weeks and 4 days, and she lays one just about every day. She and Annie usually only miss one day every two weeks. Alice is very laid back. She is usually very calm and quiet. Once in a while she'll jump on my back or squat when I walk past her. When she's bored and the chickens can't go outside, she'll go back in the nest box and sit on her egg for a while. Usually she'll put her head under her wing and take a nap. I guess she feels safest in the nest boxes.

    (Picture taken 05/07/13) Alice is on the left, Annie is on the right.
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    (Picture taken 09/03/13)
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    (Picture taken 09/27/13)
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    This is Daffodil. She is a Buff Orpington. When she was little she was the only chick that would willingly sit on my lap. Up until about 15 weeks of age she was very sweet and loved to be held. She is still very sweet, but she isn't as fond of being held. When I pick her up she stiffens up and growls. She still likes to be around me though. She just started laying eggs, and she has been laying them about 5 times per week. They are a deep brown color. She is starting to become really close with Shelby, Coraline, and Ruby. All of the Buff Orpingtons I have owned usually like to stay in little groups with each other. All except Sunni, Daffodil's sister. But Sunni is another story. [​IMG]

    (Picture taken 05/19/13)
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    (Picture taken 09/27/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/14/13)
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    This is Sunni. (Sunny spelled with an i) She is a Buff Orpington. Sunni has been through a LOT in her 6 months of life. When she was 10 weeks old she ate a string that got tangled around her tongue and strangled it. She lost her tongue 6 weeks later. I fed 3 times every day with a syringe for 3 and a half months. A more detailed version of her story is here >>> https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...mics-wet-fowl-pox-an-important-lesson-learned <<<. She has since learned how to eat pellets and some treats on her own, and has even learned how to drink. She has been laying eggs since 10/04/13. She lays 6-7 eggs every week. They are light brown with little white speckles on them. She and I have really bonded through all of this. She thinks of me as her flock member. Because of how different she is, she gets picked on by the other members of the flock, and she spends most of her time separated from them. I just ordered some chicken diapers for her, and when they get here she will start living in the house. Sunni is by far the sweetest hen I have ever had. I have learned a lot about chickens since owning her, because of all she has been through. Her favorite treat is bread. Since bread is so dry, she has a hard time getting it to go down. So I have to dip each piece in water for her. She loves it. I am really looking forward to having her live in the house. I think she'll like it too. She already loves coming in the house for treats and she knows her way around quite well because she spent so much time in the house those three months that she couldn't eat or drink anything on her own.

    (Picture taken 05/07/13)
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    (Picture taken 05/19/13)
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    (Picture taken 08/04/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/04/13) Her first egg!
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    (Picture taken 09/09/13)
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    (Picture taken 10/13/13)
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    I have learned a lot since I have started raising chickens. It has been a really great experience for me. Sure, I have been through a lot of tough times and struggles through all of it, but through all of the bad there has been something good waiting on the other side. I love raising chickens, and it's something that I hope I can keep doing for a long time. Thanks for taking the time to view my article about my flock.

    -Ashley

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Comments

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  1. One Chick Two
    Great story and photos- love closeups! The photo of you with your girl was so terrific too.
  2. Sam3 Abq
    Incredible story - and beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing. :)
  3. Drieslag
    Golden Campine Lizzie is picture of the week, super! The more Campines the merrier.
  4. JesNflock
    I loved seeing all the pics of your chickens and reading all about them...sounds like you have an amazing flock!
  5. The Mother Hen
    I have had a few of your breeds, in fact I have three buff Orpingtons X RIR's, and they are so sweet! I hope all of your girls can pull throug hthis winter, and if not, it seems like they had a good life.
  6. K-12 Chickens
    Congrats on Chicken Picture of the Week! You described the personalities of your chickens very well!
  7. TwoCrows
    You have some beautiful birds!
  8. Shabana
    Congratulations !! Great story with Sunni
    I love a happy ending. The bond is amazing when you nurse a chicken back to health. Good on you for caring.
  9. ChicknsRock
    You have a pretty flock!
  10. Troy6671
    Amazing article and photos! Great job!

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