Buffy

Good morning, dah-links!  Just out of curiosity, how old is your oldest chicken?

IMG_20160219_152017836.jpg

This is Buffy, the Buff Orpington. Very original name, I know. We bought her with a group of 25 other Buffies in 2009 when we raised them for a friend. So, she is now 7.5 years old. Now I know many people butcher old hens, but you have to realize that Buffy isn’t a hen. At least, SHE doesn’t think so. As a young pullet, she hated to be with the flock. Wherever the flock was, Buffy was not. She stayed as far away from everyone as she possibly could.

One morning, before we had good chicken fences, I heard a knock at the front door. I peered out of the door window. No one was there. Another tiny knock. Again, no one could be seen. Suddenly, at the window, there appeared a little golden chicken head and she knocked on the glass. Of course, we had to let her in at that point. Here was a hen who knew what she wanted in life.

Several times at dusk, when I went to close up the coop, Buffy was missing. I always dreaded the thought of finding handfuls of golden feathers and Buffy bits scattered on the lawn. But no, there she was, roosting in a woodpile. Or on a truck. Or in our shop. Buffy is not one for conventionality.

In March of 2015, she decided she wanted to become a mother. Never before had she wanted to set eggs or even become broody. Mind you, this was at 6 years of age, which is ancient for a chicken. I agreed to let her hatch a single egg to help her achieve her motherhood goal. And a single egg she did hatch! Of course, it turned out to be a rooster (it always is a rooster…), but he did turn out to be gorgeous and she loved mothering him very much. After that, she has yet to become broody again. I guess a single child was all Buffy ever wanted.

img_20160307_180411697

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’!