On April 7th, 2014 I drove down to Meyer Hatchery with my son to pick up our first chicks. A Golden Buff (sex-link), Buff Orpington, Easter Egger, Black Copper Marans, Buckeye and a Silver Grey Dorking.
The Dorking is the small grey one huddled under her sisters
She was my husband's breed pick, but we have come to really bond
My husband works long hours but said he didn't want his chick to imprint on me.
But she was the "runt", I could't help the urge to snuggle her.
So our friendship began.
While I worried about her the first day, by the next morning she was thriving
And was pecking chicks and taking names
But pecking is exhausting
First photo shoot
At a week old she started to spout tiny tail feathers
And continued to peck. "Hey Morgaine what's up with the fuzz on your feet?" Peck!
She was the first to grow wings
Much longer than her sisters
She kept growing
Until her wings were like a cloak and she no longer looked like a fuzzy chick
And she used them to fly to the top of the brooder
Finally she was given a name, Victoria, perfect for a Dorking
Victoria explored the world outside
And used her grey feathers to her advantage
On rainy days she and her sisters had to stay inside
But when the sun came out they enjoyed the clover and dandelions
And the Queen Anne's Lace
And all the greenery of their suburban backyard
Often they spent their days in their movable pen
And sometimes small humans came in to visit with them
Finally their coop and run were completed and with the new home came a new pecking order
And new things to explore
Though her sister Baby became possessive of snuggle time
Victoria still managed to sneak in some quality time
Victoria loves to know what's going on in the coop, she was the first to check out the nest boxes
Even though she was the last to lay, she was present for all of her sister's first eggs.
Victoria gets along with everyone. From Amelia at the bottom (right)
to Baby who rose to second in command (left)
To Morgaine at the top, who showed her favor until Baby's ridiculous rise to power.
Instead of focusing on laying eggs or her status in the pecking order,
Victoria put all her energy into growing her low but fabulously full body.
Her gorgeous silver lined wings
And her amazing long fan of a tail
She also took to perching precariously on everything
Jumping up onto my shoulder while I tended the garden
Then hopping from my shoulder on to a tree.
Posing on the woodpile
Sometimes she begs for treats at the gate with Amelia
And other times she hops right over it to see what's taking me so long
But her true calling is companionship.
Like keeping Baby company for her first egg.
Or Morgaine for hers
Are you alright in there?
In early November
It was finally her turn to lay
A beautiful creamy white egg
November also brought our first snow
Before all the leaves had fallen
But we kept warm
It quiclky melted and the leaves finished falling
And we enjoyed the sunshine before bitter winter set in
Victoria's beautiful pink comb
Shrank down and turned pale. She stopped laying
and started molting at 8 months on her neck and tail.
When Morgaine was feeling under the weather in January,
Victoria was the perfect choice to keep her company.
In a week they were both back outside and closer than ever
After two months of soft molting I noticed Victoria's comb was getting bigger, the next morning I found her in the next box and she's been laying 5-6 eggs a week since. But during that time when she wasn't laying, I realized Victoria is my favorite chicken. She doesn't demand your affection like Baby, she just quietly comes over to sit down next to you and keeps you company.
Back in her favorite corner of the yard
Strike a pose