So about two years ago I lost my entire small flock of hens to hawks in a 48 hour period. I was allowing them to freerange. After this horrible experience of finding my hens disemboweled in piles of their own feathers I swore I’d never have chickens again (although I fully intended to) until I could find & afford the Fort Knox of chicken coops and runs where my chickens could still have access to fresh grass and bugs and blue sky but would still be protected from all possible predators, including overhead raptors. So here we are two years later and I have my dream coop. It’s got a 6 foot coop and a 14 foot run and is on wheels so it can be moved to fresh grass daily. It’s made of the absolute highest quality materials and craftsmanship (a local carpenter-craftsman built it). Here’s a picture of what it looks like (except mine’s not orange; it’s traditional barn red and white) So now I’m assembling my flock. I can’t have more than 6 hens because although I live in the county now where there are no chicken keeping ordinances, we’re renters and will eventually have to move back into the city where people are only allowed to have 6 hens (no roosters). So since we can only have 6 hens, I want to choose very carefully. I knew that I wanted pullets between 3-12 months old and I knew I wanted to start with an Ameracauna because I love their beautiful eggs and their funny little muffed faces. I had had an Easter Egger in my flock that was killed and at the time that I had her I didn’t know the difference between an EE and a purebred Ameracauna. Since that time, however, I’d learned the difference and I wanted a purebred Ameracauna so that my children can exhibit her in 4-H exhibitions and fairs (I should have said that choosing hens that my 8 year old and 11 year old can handle for 4-H is a high priority in selecting hens for my flock). So I looked for Ameracaunas on Craigslist and absolutely lucked out, finding a wonderful breeder and expert about Ameracaunas. She has gorgeous stock and I started by bringing home a 4 month old buff Ameracauna named “Loompa.” Loompa is gorgeous, possibly show quality but she’s extremely skittish and avoids being held. We’re working on this but for now it’s an issue. Here’s a photo of Loompa. In addition to wanting an Ameracauna for our flock I knew that I wanted a Silkie. We had had Silkies in the flock we lost and we just loved them. So I found a farm online not too far from our house that breeds Silkies and had some pullets available so I went out to see them. Although the farm was lovely and they clearly do a great job with their birds I was totally underwhelmed by the look of their Silkies which were the non-bearded type and had very little Pom Pom on their heads, which I like, so I quickly decided that I wasn’t interested in their Silkies but my sey was immediately drawn to their Cochin pen. Now I’d never seen a full size Cochin in person, only in photos, and I was mesmerized by these giant, fluffy looking pullets with their feathered legs and gentle demeanor. Well, one thing led to another and I ended up bringing home a gorgeous young Cochin hen, which I had t planned on at all! She’s really too huge for the kids to handle her easily plus even though I love her totally unique coloring, as far as I can tell from web searching she’s not a standard color so can’t be exhibited. We named her Coco and the kids just love her. Here’s my 8 and 11 year old daughtersr holding her. Check out how huge Coco is. She’s like the size of a turkey! So then I decided that I wanted to add an Olive Egger to the mix. I’ve always wanted an Olive Egger and the breeder where I got Loompa (ittybittyfarm on Faceboook, if anyone is interested) had a pen of gorgeous blue Olive Egger pullets so we picked out what we thought was the prettiest and sweetest one and brought her home. She’s 4 months old and is the most outgoing and curious of the flock. Here’s a picture of her swinging on my kids’ swing. You can see that her coloring is beautiful. Next I tried again to find the Silkie that I wanted. I answered an ad on Craigslist and found a family that had allowed their pet Silkie to set and hatch her own clutch of eggs and now they had several 4 month old pullets and Roos for sale. Their Silkies were non-bearded but had plenty of Pom on their heads, which is the look I like. I picked out a sweet white pullet and off we went home. We’ve named her Daisy and she has the absolutely classic sweet Silkie personality. I also think she’s a very pretty little pullet and will be good for my kids to handle in 4-H activities. Here are a few photos of her. So now we had 4 pullets. I was ready for two more. Although I never intended to have a mostly Ameracauna flock, I liked the Ameracauna breeder I’d been working with so much that I decided to go with two more of her sweet, beautiful birds. I started by selecting one of her gorgeous splash Ameracaunas. Splash isn’t a recognized color in the breed but these birds were so beautiful that I decided to take one of her splash pullets anyway. There were flashier pullets in the splash pen - birds with more black and blue markings on their white feathers - but I chose the pullet who seemed to have the sweetest nature. She was easy to handle, pick up and pet and despite not being as flashy as some of her hatch mates, I just liked her the best. So we brought home another 4 month old Ameracauna pullet. We named her Henny. Now I had 3 Ameracauna pullets- a splash, an Olive Egger (half Ameracauna) and a buff. Here’s a photo of the the three of them together. And tomorrow I’m bringing home my 6th and final pullet from my Ameracauna breeder - a 5 month old black Ameracauna. My breeder is selecting a bird for me that she feels like will be sweet and gentle for the kids to handle for 4-H as well as a bird that she feels like has the looks to be competitive if we decide to exhibit her. I don’t have a photo of pullet #6 yet because I don’t bring her home until tomorrow but I’ll post a photo when I have one. So my little flock is now complete - 3 purebred Ameracaunas, one Olive Egger, one white Silkie and one enormous Cochin in by a strange but beautiful color pattern that I can’t find anywhere online. It’s not exactly the flock I thought I’d end up with; I thought I’d have more variety. But I do absolutely love Ameracaunas and I’ve found that working with a conscientious breeder who really knows her birds and wants to mKe sure that you have the right bird for YOU matters a lot. It’s great that I can just text or call her with any questions I have about my Ameracaunas or my Easter Egger. For those just starting to build a flock, I can’t emphasize enough how great it is to work with a real breeder rather than just some random stranger selling pullets he bought from Tractor Supply. So that’s my flock story so far. I can’t wait to pick up my black Ameracauna pullet tomorrow.