One week of chickens

 One week later…

It’s been one week since our chickens arrived in our newly constructed chicken zone.

In just one week

  • we learned not to mix treat food with layers pellets as they dig out the pellets messily to eat the treat food
  • remembered to put grit out for them
  • marvelled at how well they have settled in
  • introduced one of our two dogs very carefully
  • been delighted to see the chickens every single day
  • Robin now gets ready for school in less than 5 minutes in order to rush outside and open the pophole every day (this is nothing less than extraordinary)
  • collected no less than 9 eggs!
  • eaten the most delicious omelette
  • named all our chickens

Seven fresh bantam eggs.
By Saturday we had 7 eggs, which were made into a big omelette to share. 2 more eggs arrived on Sunday.

 

The weather here has been pretty grim. It’s been cold and wet on the best days, and snowy and wet on the worst.

We’ve also focused on letting the chickens get used to us coming and going, talking and tending to them, as well as stroking them without making them worried. So the cameras have mostly been kept away.

So I’m afraid that the best hen photographs shall have to wait for better weather when the hens are more settled.

In the meantime, and in no particular order, here’s the roll call!

Ramon Salazar

A particularly bustling chicken, Ramon is a New Hampshire Red bantam, who we’ve noticed has always been in the middle of things this week. Her feathers are a glorious rich red colour. She is named after a character from season 3 of 24. Ramon remains a contender for top hen.

Six of our eight bantams.
Ysabella (top left), Ramon Salazar (middle left), Lemony (front left). Snicket (middle). Maeve (top right) and Bradford (middle right).

Maned Maeve

Buff Sussex bantam, Maned Maeve is named after the great warrior queen of Connacht. The ‘Maned’ part of her name is because Robin thinks the markings around her neck are like a mane. She is the second of three contenders for top hen. Often the first one to lead the way out of the fixed run into the open fenced area, and nearly always with another of our elegant ladies following her.

Bradford

I think that Bradford is the most nervous of our bantams, having seen her hanging back in the fixed run several times this weekend while the other hens were out foraging. She is a barred rock bantam.

Lemony & Snicket

Lemony and Snicket, also known as The Snicket Twins, are Dutch bantams. Their particular colour is known as Lemon Millifleur or Citron.

You can tell them apart if you take time. Snicket is the smallest of the two and has a splayed middle toe on one foot. Lemony is a little bit bigger and a bit bolder. She often walks towards us, chatting to us the same way we chat to them! It’s no surprise that in the picture below, Lemony is the one rushing up to have a look at the camera and say hello.

One week on, our chickens have names.
Front to back: Lemony, Snicket & Ysabella

Ysabella

Ysabella is an Ancona bantam, a breed that originates in Italy. She is still a little shy of us, which is why we don’t yet have a great photograph of her. You can see her in the picture above, hanging around at the back. She has the loveliest glossy black feathers with white spots, and quite yellow legs which are normal for her breed. Robin thinks that Izzy is our third contender for top hen.

Rizzo

Named for the fictional character of Betty Rizzo from the 1978 movie Grease, Rizzo is a frizzle Pekin bantam. Rizzo frankly doesn’t care what the other hens are doing. She rushes off busily and does what she wants.

Rizzo: looking (as always) like a mobile feather duster!
Rizzo: looking (as always) like a mobile feather duster!

Snowy

So far, I think that Snowy is the most camera shy of our birds even after one week of talking to them and getting them used to us! Below is the best picture I have of her that doesn’t feature her turning her back and walking away from the camera. She is the biggest hen, top left nearest the forage pile. I’m pretty certain she is a Friesian Fowl. Despite being the biggest, she’s not shaping up to be top hen. Snowy looks to be quite independent, often heading off quietly without the others, but doesn’t seem to act as the leader in the same way that Maeve does.

Our hens, out and about.
Top left (far away from the camera!) – Snowy.

 

And there you have it!

Our eight bantams all have names now. Stay tuned for more updates.

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