Monday, August 1, 2011

Meet the Girls

As summer reaches its peak here in upstate NY, and we are preparing our minds and home for the presence of a new soul, we are also looking daily for the first egg from our chickens.  In fact, we seem to be in a countdown as to whether the first egg or the new baby will arrive first. We are also taking bets as to which of the five ladies will be the first layer.

Over the past 20 weeks or so, we've watched the chickens grow from small fluffs of down into full size pullets, and witnessed their personalities develop.  Just like any group, they've established their 'pecking order' and navigated the world (run and coop) they live in.  While we don't completely free range the girls, they spend most of the days we are here loosely fenced, and are constantly getting out.  It is incredibly comical to watch them running as fast as they can for the coop when one of the kids goes out to chase them out of the garden, or when a new item of food is tossed into their fence.  We house the chickens in our the newly made tractor that we move from place to place shown in the photo below and this post.

Even before their first egg is laid, these chickens have become a part of our families story.  In addition to the entertainment value of simply watching the chickens, they've taught the kids responsibility and the value of helping to raise your own food.  In the future, we are interested in extending the idea of raising our own food to pigs, goats, meat chickens, etc, but we're taking small steps, and maybe these dreams will be replaced with others in the coming years, which is exactly how dreams should work.

So with out further ado - here are our girls (in no particular order)

Here is our Golden Laced Wyandotte - currently she seems to be the leader of our little flock.  She is certainly the most bossy towards the other birds and they seem to follow her.  Recently she has become the largest hen and has the most developed comb.
Our Easter Egger.  Princess started out as the leader of our group and has now moved to the bottom of the ladder, where she spends her time keeping clear of the other birds.  She is the most friendly and by far the easiest to catch.  She is also our escape artist and we are constantly shooing Princess out of the garden and off the top of our coop.
 The Blue Cochin.  This is the shyest, best behaved bird.  She rarely flies over the fence and prefers to lay low.  She is less interested in what the other chickens are up to and is the only one who doesn't worry about keeping Princess in her place.
Our Australrop has gorgeous black feathers that shine green and purple in the different lights.  She will most likely be one of our best layers of nice brown eggs, but for now is large and easy to catch.
Our feisty Fiona is a Partridge Plymouth Rock.  Her deep orange feathers are each marked with a touch of black.  Fiona is extremely difficult to catch, and often mistakes fingers for worms (thus the feisty).  While she has always been smaller then the others girls (she just passed Princess), she makes up for it in personality.  See the painting of Fiona when she was a wee chick.

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