Our chicken adventure started when we moved to Texas about six years ago and got three hens from a local farmer. We later identified them to be a 1 Red Star, 1 Black Star, and 1 Easter Egger. We named them (of course), Luna, Estella, and Apolla.
We more resuced them than adopted them- there were several hundred hens packed into a dirt arena. Here is a picture of one of our hens, Luna, when we first got her
Luna is the only one of our original hens we still have today, at about seven years old. Here she is now, laying an egg. Even at seven, she looks so much better than when we first got her!
Back to the beginning; we soon started having problems with a black sex link, Estella. She started crowing, rather like a rooster. So she was returned to the farm, and replaced with a red production, whom we named 'Stella'. However, this somehow was converted to Redtail, I'm not sure how, and that's what she was called ever after.
The third hen, our brown-egg-laying Easter Egger, was named Apolla. She was one of our sweeted hens, and sadly the first to pass away from unknown causes. We miss you to this day, Apolla.
We had three hens, and then two, after Apolla passed away, for a long time, 4-5 years. Then one day, on our way home from vacation, in early July of 2011, we got some 2-3 week old chickens from a freind in Tennesee. All seven of them were white leghorns. We kept four of them, giving three to a freind.
This was before we really new much about chickens, and before the chicken fever really set in One of our greatest mistakes was to keep then in a un-protected dog kennel outside One night a raccon can and sadly killed three of the four.
The remaining pullet was named Sage, and I was determined to keep her safe. And that IS when we really went chicken crazy We remodled the whole coop, covered and covered everything with hardware cloth. In the meantime I would bring little Sage, who was too little to be with Luna and Redtail yet, inside at night. She spend the rest of the time in a little pen in the yard. I would visit her constantly. Her favorite treat was freshly caught grasshoppers from the yard
Here she is when we first got her:
It seems silly to say, but Sage was 'scarred' from the racoon event. She was the most scared, flightly little pullet there every was. She would dart up, snatch the treat out of my fingers and zoom to the other edge of the pen.
One day we decided to integrate her in with the big girls. It was a big mistake. We found her one day,pecked and bloody. Luna and Redtail had been living together, by themselves, for several years, and it was very hard for them to adjust. So we had to take out Sage, and she lived by herself again.
Soon it became apparent that Sage needed a freind. She got three, and number of chickens increased greatly
We got three little black star pullet, about three weeks old. Sage was about 8-10 week older than them, but we introduced them at around six weeks, and they became great freinds instantly.
The first one was named Asha. She was the biggest and the boldest, the leader of the group (until they were introduced to sage, who ruled over all)
The second was Buckbeak I loved the gold on her, but she was more shy than Asha
And then Onyx, the shy, curious one. She was a sweetie:
Sage pretty much adopted them. They got their own pen, and she would shelter them under her wings as it grew colder She loved her big black chicks.
For awhile, all was well, and then disaster struck again when they were 9 weeks old, in the form of a hawk I looked outside and I saw no chickens in the pen, only a hawk standing there. I ran outside, and the hawk quickly flew away flew away. I ran into the pen and picked up Onyx, who was lying on the ground. She peeped once and died in my hands.
I found Sage in the nestbox, Asha in a neighbors yard (where there lives a chicken killing shar-pei, yikes), and Buckbeak sheltering between a tree and the fence. We all missed Onyx
We had five chickens now, Sage, Asha, Buckbeak, and the big girls Luna and Redtail.
Luckily, all was peaceful for a long time. Sage layed her first egg- at 32 weeks! I though she would never lay, but I was so proud of her when she did!
Then Asha and Buckbeak started laying- on the same day, and 24 weeks!
At this point we had gotten two new chickens, Bedazzle and Pepper, an Easter Egger and a SLW. They began to lay as well, and we were drowned in eggs!
And their eggs
Somewhere in there our old chicky Redtail passed away from old age She like a good long life and was very loved. She was lucky- I'm sure there are very few chickens who die from simple old age. We miss you Redtail!
We also started having problems with our sex link, Asha. Now big and bulky, she has started to crow. While she was a hen, she made the most terrible noises! We had to give her away
And finally, and most recently, we got two different pullets. First, in May of this year (2012), we got a little maran, 16 weeks old. We named her Nutella
She grew up to be this: although now, at fourty weeks, she still hasn't layed!
Soon afterwards, we got her a freind to keep her company. Introducing Sammy, (full name Sammy-Ella), the salmon faverolle She's now about 22 weeks.
And that is how we ended up with our seven chickens. Our good old girl Luna, our lone survior of the racoon attack Sage, the remaining black sex link Buckbeak, our two good hens Bedazzle and Pepper, and our little girls, Nutella and Sammy!