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By SJchicks · Jan 11, 2012 ·
  1. SJchicks

    My Three Hens
    "Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral."
    -Frank Lloyd Wright

    In May 2010, I started keeping chickens in my backyard in San Jose, California.
    I had been developing a fascination with having hens after seeing the ones my son had at his house.
    I began perusing this forum, researching the different breeds, and the fascination grew.
    So, for my birthday/Mothers' Day present, my son downloaded plans for a cleverly designed portable coop
    which he, my daughter and my husband, built over the weekend.
    My daughter and I visited a local supplier of chicks, and there you have it:
    I'm an urban chicken farmer.

    Over the years, our family has owned quite a menagerie of pets, but I was
    still unprepared for what interesting personalities chickens have.
    Let me introduce you to "the girls":

    May is a Buff Orpington. This breed gets to be about ten pounds, so she's our biggest hen and, appropriately, sort of a bossy ringleader. May started laying beautiful brown eggs last October. She got her name because she was born in May (creative, aren't we?) but primarily because May is just a great hen-sounding name, in my opinion.

    Charlotte is a Plymouth Barred Rock. She's slightly smaller than May, and has got a docile, sweet temperament (unless you're a squirrel or a dove, in which case she'll chase you like a dog.) Charlotte finally got around to laying eggs (a slightly golden brown) a couple of weeks ago (January 2011); I guess she thought she could rely on her good looks until now. Two of my favorite books are Charlotte's Web and Jane Eyre, so she's either named after an English author or a talking spider.

    Penny is an Ameraucana. She's the smallest, and a bit exotic-looking...she looks a bit more like a pheasant than a hen. Easygoing and independent, Penny lays eggs that are a light sage-green (sometimes slightly bluish) color. Penny was named for her coppery color, and after Beatrix Potter's "Sally Henny Penny", or Henny Penny in the Chicken Little fable, take your pick.

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