I haven’t forgotten that we’re halfway through a book tour here on the blog. Last week was crazy and it takes me a while to get back to a normal routine. So, we’ve been catching up on school and enjoying the warm weather. I promise we’ll pick up where we left off before the week is over.
But before I get back to the book tour, I have a confession to make.
I didn’t make it through chick season.
It was too hard.
I need chickens in my life.
I’m a farmer without a farm.
While operations won’t grow here at this exact place to what they were back in Georgia, we are doing a little farming. Just a smidge. Garden, honeybees, and baby chicks should all be up and running come April. We have a 5 year plan for the “real” farm but for now we’re just adding these 5 girls to the mix to scratch our farm animal itch.
I’ve learned a lot about chickens the past couple of years so I hand picked these girls based on my experiences and personal preferences.
Let’s meet the girls. (Or what the girls should look like when they grow up.)
Salmon Faverolles have wonderful beards, muffs, and feathered feet. My three favorite features on a chicken! Chickens with beards and feathered feet are my weak spot. Salmon Faverolles are also very heavy birds. I love a fluffy, full chicken. And, as an added bonus, they do well in confinement (which will be their life here since we don’t have a proper set-up for them to free range safely). They are also very calm and are generally wonderful with children. Win. Win. Win.
Plus their colors are gorgeous. As with any other bird, the males are much more decorated and showy. We won’t have a rooster here if we can help it but I’ll be sure to add one when we move to a bigger place. The Salmon Faverolles are quiet boys and very pretty.
While a lot of people (Mr. Thistle included) might think this bird looks a little ridiculous, I think she’s gorgeous. My attitude is that if I’m going to spend a significant amount of time looking at farm animals they might as well be interesting to look at. And the Silver Laced Polish definitely fits in the “interesting” category. Just look at that hat! Chickens with hats? Another weak spot of mine. These girls are also generally very tame and docile. Just what I’m looking for. I’ve never had a mean chicken in my life and I don’t intend to start now if I can help it. It took me 7 years to convince Mr. Thistle to let me have chickens because of a bad encounter with a chicken that terrorized him as a child. Gotta stick with the good girls here.
Speaking of hats. Check this girl out! This little collection of birds we’re getting reminds me of the ladies in the Red Hat Society or the gals at the Kentucky Derby. All very fancy. I also love that this girl, the Appenzeller Spitzhauben, has spots like a dalmation. So clever looking.
As common as they may be to many chicken owners, I still think the Buff Orpington looks very smart with her full feathers. She may not be the flashiest breed but I still think she’s a beautiful color and I love her full britches. She’s a tried and true breed that doesn’t disappoint in egg laying and friendliness.
And while the French Black Copper Maran might not look like much to write home about, she lays a GORGEOUS dark chocolate colored egg. Mind you, it doesn’t taste any different. And despite what many may think, the nutritional value of brown eggs (dark or light) compared to white eggs is no different. Now, grocery store egg nutritional value vs backyard egg nutritional value is another argument. It all comes down to feed. If you feed them like the commercial layers have been fed they’ll taste no different. When it comes to taste, it’s 99% feed, 1% breed in my opinion.
The Maran eggs are just pretty to look at. Really, I think all eggs from your own yard are pretty to look at but I’m weird like that.
Just look at those dark eggs! Beautiful!
We hope to add a couple more colored egg layers to our flock that weren’t available at the hatch times of our other girls. We’ll have to do some searching to find them around the same hatch date so that they’re all about the same age. It’s important that they are close in age because it limits issues with older birds picking on younger, smaller chicks. Because, while these might be “sweet” girls to us, a chicken can be extremely cannibalistic and ruthless to members of their flock if conditions aren’t right. They haven’t evolved much really. They’re still dinosaurs if you ask me. Highly un-evolved.
If I play my cards right perhaps adding an Ameraucana or Easter Egger or Cream Legbar will have my egg carton looking something like this by the end of the year:
So there you have it. We will be home to a fancy chicken society come April. Along with a Queen bee and her 12,000 attendants.
I love being a part of that club.
Mrs. Thistle is BACK!