I don't know for sure just how we ended up with chickens in our backyard. One day hubby Ken and daughter Tamrin and I were driving home from a shopping trip in Cody. We always pass a place that has a lot of goats. Ken loves goats, and as usual he sighed and said, "I wish we could have some goats." I reminded him of all the landscaping we've worked so hard on, and our space limitations. Helpful daughter piped in with, "Well, you have room for chickens!" We all laughed and the rest of the way home we made more bad chicken puns than BYC accumulates in a week! Well, somehow it went from a joke to speculation, to discussion, to me placing an order with MyPetChickens that very night. So was born Oleo Acres, the Cheaper Spread.
That first order consisted of Buff Orpingtons, Golden Laced Wyandotts, Red Sex Links, and Easter Eggers and we added a couple of Speckled Sussex a week later. I couldn't get rid of the Wyandotts fast enough - just bullies with feathers! This year we added a couple more Red Sex Links, a few more Easter Eggers, Buff and Light Brahmas. Of all the chickens out there, my hands down favorites have to be the Easter Eggers.
Mug shots of the original five. L-R: Gladys, Mathilda, Daphne, Agatha, and the lower shot is of Pearlygirl.
What is it about them, anyway? They aren't especially prolific layers, although with the exception of Daphne, mine are fairly steady and reliable. And they don't fit any breed standard for appearance because they simply aren't a breed. I guess for me the charm is in their faces, their personalities, and their character. They are, indeed, characters! You can't usually look at an EE chick and make an accurate determination of what color it will be as an adult. Each batch of EE chicks is like a surprise that keeps on giving! This will be the story of "The Original Five."
Gladys. my very favorite, is the dignified one of the bunch. She's a beautiful golden color and such a sweet girl. She's just always kinda sorta "there", never obnoxious in seeking attention but she's not aloof and standoffish, either. Her gorgeous face graces the cover of the brochure we attach to the egg cartons for our first time customers. She lays very well, and her eggs are always large and well colored, a soft shade of blue with just the barest hint of green. Of all 28 chickens currently out there, she's the one who checks out every change first and just seems to accept those changes immediately with no drama.
Gladys as a chick. What a cutie!
But when she started feathering out - oh, brother! Talk about goofy looking!
In this shot she's about 8 months old, and you can see the beauty she's becoming.
We use this picture of our lovely, calm Gladys on the cover of our egg brochure.
She was always curious about the new chicks but never was aggressive toward them.
Ken holding Gladys. She loves attention, but isn't pushy about getting it.
And then there's Matilda, otherwise known as "the Cossack". You can't help but grin when you see her....that face, oh, that face! She is another who is sort of right in the middle of the pecking order. She's a little more affectionate than the others, and she IS pushy about getting it. She is what I would consider an excellent layer for an EE, rarely taking much time off
and giving us medium to large bluish green eggs. And mercy, does she let us know when she's about to lay. Such a production! Into the nest, dump bedding on her back, out of her nest because she spotted a feather over on the other side of the coop, run get the feather, back in the nest, out of the nest to make sure she's chosen the best one, back in the nest where she has to put all the stuff on her back that fell off when she investigated all of the other nests, and finally her rendition of the "egg song", sung loudly in the key of B-flat!
Mathilda as a chick. Hard to believe she was ever that little!
It's the Cossack in her - no fear even when she runs under Molly's legs!
At about 7 months, her beard was really coming in thick!
Studiously ignoring the chicks in the pen.
Ah, Mathilda! It's easy to see how she came to be called "The Cossack!"
Daphne was one of the two smooth faced chicks in that first batch. She is known as the flock complainer. She hates everything. <Sigh> If I was totally honest I'd have to say I don't even know why she's still out there with the others. She hasn't laid an egg since December of 2014 and it's now October, 2015. When she did lay, every blue egg was shaped like a torpedo. She's not particularly attractive, either. She just sort of "is". She's queen of all she surveys, and she's fast to alert the others if something is out there that shouldn't be. I guess a fair description of Daphne would be to say that she's a rooster hiding in a hen's body. I can't show chick pictures of her or Pearlygirl, because to tell the truth I'm not sure which one was which!
Just a 5 week old chick and she's already playing watchdog.
And she never stops playing watchdog.
She was fascinated by the chicks, but never harmed one of them during integration.
I think she thinks she's a rooster!
Now there's a chicken who has it all....good looks, sweet disposition and a reliable layer of truly blue eggs. She is the only chicken we've had who laid two perfect eggs in one day. I physically saw her lay both, one in the morning when I was cleaning the coop and the second that evening when I went out to lock up. She's so gentle and has such a funny face that our granddaughter, Katie, adopted her straight off. She was the only yellow chick in the group, with a deep charcoal smudge on her back and her head. If Aggie has any drawbacks at all it's her tendency to go broody. She was broody for the first time at the grand old age of 8 months. Katie, then 8, was worried sick about her because Aggie stayed on that nest with her tail sticking out and Katie thought she was dead. Since she was watching the chickens for us while we were out of town, she felt responsible. But we explained it to her mom, who then told Katie that Aggie wasn't dying, she just wanted to hatch eggs. When we got back we ordered some fertile eggs for Aggie and Katie helped slip them under Agatha one night. The result of that hatch was one very special little rooster named Scout. Agatha went broody again this spring, but out of the eggs we put under her none hatched. When she is broody, this sweet little chicken turns into Attila the Hen. She's just plain nasty. But she's back to her old sweet self in no time!
Now that is an adorable chick!
In no time at all Agatha can go from this......
To this....Attila the Hen!
Agatha with her chick, Scout. She was such a good mamma.
Again, never a worry with her and the chicks when we started integrating them.
Those cheeks go well beyond the definition of "puffy"!
Oh, what can I say about Pearl? She was the other smooth faced chick in the group, and I had no idea just how stunning her final coloring would be! She gave us our first blue egg, and she was so proud of herself she had to strut her stuff all over the coop! She was usually the one to hang back a little, never first to try anything (well, except that first colored egg in the basket!) and while she wasn't skittish she was always just a hair on the shy side. Sadly we lost her to a stupid accident when she was about 9 or 10 months old. I have looked at many Easter Egger photos here and in other places, and have yet to see that coloring on another one, although I'm sure there must be. So I think my chances of stumbling upon a chick who grows up to be this striking are slim to nil.
She had these glasses, you see........
Always hanging back just a bit from the crowd.
Again, those colors! I just loved that! She was about 6 months here, I think.
I think I have more photos of her than any of the other EEs. She was gorgeous!
I just loved how she carried her tail.
Wearing her "granny glasses".
And there you have it - the Easter Eggers of Oleo Acres. There will always be Easter Eggers in my flock, no matter how large or small that flock might be. I enjoy every aspect of them. Since I don't really see the need for egg laying machines, as other breeds and varieties can be, I don't mind what others see as a flaw in them. And who can argue with a colorful egg basket like this? I wish the blue in the eggs showed up better, but that's okay. I'll keep EEs no matter what color the eggs are!