Saturday, May 23, 2015

The new Chickens have Arrived - Name that Chicken

New chicks!
Several days ago we received a wonderful gift of 6, 6 week old chickens hand raised by my neighbors. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you might remember that we fostered 6 chickens for our neighbors when they temporarily relocated to Hawaii for 3 years. We loved our little flock and as the time passed we lost 4 from natural causes.

Moltie from my prior flock, always on the go & into something

When my neighbors returned, we gave them back their 2 remaining White Leghorns. My favorite chicken, Little Moltie, was one of the survivors. When we acquired the chickens they were 3 years old. Now, they are nearly 7. It's amazing to think they have lived this long. Apparently they have decided to kick back in gear and actually lay an egg nearly every day! It's very rare for a chicken to continue laying at this age. They are very happy and free range among lots of trees and leaves. I believe all the nutrients they scavange from nature has helped bring this along.

This is a no kill zone people - says Big Red
On industrial farms chickens are culled at 18 months when they first molt and egg production temporarily stops. It's cheaper to buy another set of pullets (young chickens) than to wait for them to begin laying again. Chickens can lay for many many years if free ranged and allowed to live a life naturally, as intended.

Chicks finally roosting, sleeping soundly.
So what's new on Forsythia Hill... Janie (Dominique), Iris (Welsummer), Cleopatra (Red Dorking), Big Red (Rhode Island Red), Raven (Australorp), plus one unnamed (Buckeye). I really wanted a mix of breeds to see how they differ in laying and in personality. Janie is the leader of the pack, Big Red is the sweetie, Raven is the smartest, Cleopatra is the prettiest, and little Iris is the baby. She is often heard crying if anyone is strays from the flock she SHRIEKS... come back, don't stray, you might not find your way!

Janie, don't mess with me chickens or else!
A small flock requires a secure space for roosting at night and ranging during the day. There are many predators; foxes, hawks, raccoons, opossum, & dogs (to name a few). Chickens are just plain fun but like any pet be prepared for some work and expense to feed and care for them. If you are outside often and can provide an entertaining space for them and socialization you will get the most from your flock (more about how to keep your chickens busy throughout the day in a future blog post).

I need a name please
Name my chicken! One last chicken needs a NAME. She is unusual in that she has 5 toes. Most chicken breeds have 4. She is identical in coloring to Cleopatra but they are different breeds. Please post your suggestion on my blog.


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