Meet the chickens

So for today, let’s meet the M.L.C. chickens, shall we?  It’s been long overdue.  Let’s start with the roosters, or perhaps more correctly,the cockerels.

My pure-bred Silkie cockerel, Mr. Pufflepants, to the mid right.   He was hatched last March and came from Ideal Poultry in Cameron, TX.  His color is called ‘partridge’.  Though I had several males in the group, he struck me as the best looking.  The things I look for are fully feathered feet, as little ‘hard’ feathering as possible (esp. in the tail and feet), and a small frame with upright stance.  As you can see, he really thinks he is HAWT, as they say.  Really a stud.  Never passes up an opportunity to do what roosters to best, besides crow, that is.

And now, we have Ernie the Wonder Chicken.  Ernie was a wonderful gift from our fellow animal lover, Heather. I’ve talked about him in past posts, but Ernie is a ‘Showgirl’ chicken.  He has the naked neck gene borrowed from a Transylvanian Naked Neck chicken with the silkie feathering of….a Silkie, of course.  He is the father of all of the Showgirls that I have hatched.  Funny, the older he gets, the more he looks like he has a mullet.  Oh well.

Now for the newest addition, thanks to another chicken addict such as myself!  I traded some Showgirls for a couple of little bantams.  This little guy (he is as small as a dove, almost) is named Moe Banty.  If you don’t know old country music, then you’re just on your own when it comes to figuring out where his name came from.  Anyway, he is 8 inches tall and bulletproof.  Classic ‘short man syndrome’.  He is just a pet and that’s all.  No baby bantams planned.  Still not certain if he is an Old English Game Bird or a Dutch, as there are very similar color phases in both, but it really doesn’t matter anyway.  He was only born this year, so he has a LOT of filling out to do still.  Ought to be a very pretty boy over the next year.

And now for some hens.  I do not name everyone; only the ones that strike me with their personalities for some reason or another.  Here is my current favorite Showgirl, Lolly Popp.  I’m sure you can figure out the name.  Looks like a licorice lollipop attached to her body.  I’m planning on hooking her up with Pufflepants for more lollipop looking babies.  She is still young and ‘feathering out’.  Ought to be a pretty stunning bird when it’s all said and done!

Now for my hen of choice #2.  This is Phyllis (after Phyllis Diller).  She is Lolly’s half sister. She is from a January 2012 hatch.

Ah!  almost forgot my #3 hen.  I haven’t named her, but she is out of Mr. Pufflepants and is Ernie’s favorite, too.  Her mother was unfortunately killed by a fox last year.  She is a bearded partridge Silkie.  She is almost a spitting image of her mother, but even better! Her tail and feet feathers are very full and silky textured.  Exactly what I’m looking for.

Now for some of the older hens in my old laying flock.  The youngest birds I have in that pen are 2 years old.  Here is my very oldest hen, a Plymouth Barred Rock called Doris.  There WERE 3 Dorises (Dorii?), but now we’re just down to the one.  She was rescued from a hoarding situation in July of 2009, and I believe that she is 4 years old, possibly 5.  She has the somewhat annoying habit of pecking your legs, but it’s only for attention.  In fact, all of the Dorises I rescued did that.  My new Barred Rocks do not.  She also has a very distinct call that differentiates her from my other Rocks.

Now, here is Buffy the Buff Orpington.  Buffy was the sole chick I kept from a group of B.O.’s that we raised for a friend back in ’09.  She has never, ever thought of herself as a chicken.  Or a human.  Or anything.  She is her own self, and NOT a group player.  It took me weeks to get her to finally hang with the flock and quit running off.  She still lays a nice brown egg.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT (I just wanted to say that)  Here is our pair of geese.  They also came from the hoarder’s house.  I believe that they are also 4 years old.  I thought for a very long time (years, actually) that I had a male and female.  Well, they certainly ACTED like one was a male and one was a female.  Now we just call them Ellen and Portia, and sometimes, Oprah and Gayle.  You know, whatever.  All I know is that this year both geese are laying, so it’s twice the eggs for me.  I do feel sorry for them, though…they want a baby soooo bad.  I did let them hatch out a tiny duck once which they promptly squished. 

And here’s one of our broiler chickens.  We butchered them at 8 weeks (a couple of weeks ago now), so they have now gone to that big coop in the sky.  Actually, the deep freezer in my barn.  Anyhoo, they are delicious, let me tell you. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, like home-raised meat.

To finish, here is my little cutie pie, Abraham.  Abraham Lincoln, to be exact. The kids said it looked like Lincoln to them, so Lincoln it is.  I said I would never, ever get another Polish after the whole Wayward Jones saga (If you don’t know about Wayward, just do a search in my blog for her stories) I have no clue why I chose to torture myself with another Polish chicken.  I just couldn’t pass up that little face though, ya know?

Hope you enjoyed the pics.  This is certainly not all of my birds, but the select few.

Keep on cluckin’!

Take five, they’re small…

“We can see a thousand miracles around us every day. What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?” – S. Parkes Cadman

The other night we came home just after dark, and drove up to the chicken coop to lock up the chickens.  I noticed that there were only 3 chickens in the coop, which was really unusual, since chickens always return to their roost at night. So, I went into the pen and they were all crammed into the corner closest to their little doorway into their coop.  The little door was closed, so they couldn’t get int0 their coop.  Chickens, not being the absolute brightest sometimes, will all huddle together in a big ball when they are scared or, as in our situation, they wanted to roost and had nowhere to go.  Unfortuately, in both situations, it is not uncommon for them to crush one another (think: people crushing one another in those soccer matches overseas.  I guess people aren’t too bright, either)  Well, after I dispersed the pile, I found Dot, my daughter’s absolute favorite Bantam hen lifeless on the ground.  I attempted a feeble try at chicken resuscitation, no mouth to mouth, mind you, but she was already gone.  I did not tell our daughter that the turkeys likely crushed little Dot for fear that she would hate the turkeys, so the next day she assumed (as she does with all the animals that are not seen again) that ‘the coyotes’ had nabbed Dot.  So, of course, Dot had to be replaced by another ‘banty’.

We went to Atwood’s and, lo and behold, all of the baby chicks are now on clearance.  My daughter immediately picked out the chick that I had my eye on, which was a tan and black spotted little number, with fully feathered legs.  But, the most eye-catching thing about his appearance was that his bottom beak was at a 45 degree angle to his top beak.  The chicks were already a couple of weeks old, so it was apparent to me after checking out “Stanley’s” body condition, that even though he was a disabled chicken, he was doing just fine.  Yes, a disabled chicken.  So, as we were looking at the other chicks, another family (and I use that term loosely here) came by with about 3 kids and another on the way, and the smallest girl, who looked about two, wanted to touch the tiniest Bantam, whereupon her mother’s boyfriend/new husband/whatever told her, “No, you don’t want the runt.”  First of all, it isn’t as though they were buying chicks, they were just looking.  Second of all, it isn’t like being a runt is contagious, and thirdly, they were Bantam chicks, anyway! (that means miniature chicken, essentially) 

Naturally, I picked up the “runt” and I bought it, too, to save it from being the target of some other redneck’s comments.   Then, I picked up a baby chick for the little girl, who I was pitying at that moment, having to deal with a mother that was running around with an angry-looking redneck boyfriend who took every chance he got to make snappy comments at her, and she pet the chick ever so gently. (That woman really needs to listen to Dr. Laura)  So, then I picked out 3 more chicks that I am almost certain are Frizzles, and we left. 

My husband came home singing a song (we are always singing dumb, made-up songs) with some lyrics about, “Well, we went to get two, and we came home with five…”.  Oh, well. 

In farm life, we worked on the brick path yesterday, despite being 90 degrees with 400% humidity.  The weather has been so wacky lately, I’m surprised we haven’t yet been slammed with a tornado yet.  Today is hot, tonight will be cooler, tomorrow will be hotter, but then the next day we’re having a major cold front.  Go figure.  Anyway, we have completed enough of the path that it is now coming around the front of the house and we have gotten rid of two pallets of bricks that have been sitting in my front yard for about a year.  Yippee!  When Jason moved the last pallet, he found a snake for me, so of course I had to go outside and pick it up!  It looked like a Rough Earth snake to me, but I am not 100% sure on that.  But what I am positive about is that it wasn’t poisonous.  I don’t ‘do’ poisonous snakes.