On June 3, 82 baby chickens arrived via the local post office where their exuberant peeps resounded off the walls. We were instantly in love. Although indistinguishable in the early weeks, the chickens were 3 kinds, 2 old varieties which are heavy breeds (Buff Orpingtons and White Plymouth Rocks) plus a freebie described as a rare and unusual breed. About 50-some were roosters (birds we intended to eat); the remaining hens and a few roosters were to become the laying flock. In early September, Richard harvested the roosters, thanking each and every one.
The chickens are now 7 months old. The Buff Orpingtons are much easier to tell apart because of distinct variations in color patterns and combs. Most are named and they have distinct personalities. A few White Rocks have names but mostly we call them the "Rockettes" because they are harder to tell apart. They are all a joy. The following write-up introduces you to the chickens of Butterfly Hill Farm.
Glinda named Lacey because of the lacy pattern of her feathers. She was the first to lay eggs. She is a sweetheart of chicken. Now, she is very broody, which means that she is ready to hatch some eggs. Since this is the middle of the winter season, this is not a good idea for her or for baby chicks. We continue to pull her off the nest 3 or 4 times a day to make sure she eats or drinks. When we pull her off, she is none too pleased and fluffs up like a porcupine.
Tupelo is so named because she is the color of honey, not because she is from Mississippi. As she matured, Melanie noted that she had something wrong with vision. She would always eat 1/4 inch down from where the food was, so Melanie would often feed her from her hand. Needless to say, she is quite a spoiled chicken and likes to be around her humans. Tupelo stays in the upper left hand corner nest box.
Freddie, or Sir Squish-A-Lot, is the squishiest rooster ever. He is a lover, not a fighter. He is the chicken we get out when the kids and the big people come around. He just sits there. He loves the attention.
Penny is so named because of her distinctive voice which sounds as if the sky is falling. She is probably the biggest hennie we have.
Melanie named Kayte after Melanie's cousin who had her golden birthday on August 11. A lot of folks around here do not know about golden birthdays. Kayte turned 11 on the 11th. In honor of this occasion, we named a golden hennie after Kayte. Kayte (the hen) is probably the smallest of the Buffs and she has a distinctive inquisitive voice. Whenever Melanie gets down low at chicken level, she will come up to her and you can almost here her say: "Whatchya doing?"
Melanie got the name Marshmallow from Kayte, the human.
Pinchy pinches. 'Nuff said.Twisty is a White Rock. When she was younger, another chicken pinched her comb, resulting in some damage to one of the points. Pinchy perhaps? As her comb healed, it has a distinctive twist.
We could write a book about Etta and maybe we will. Etta was the freebie; he is the rare and unusual breed which we now know as a Silver Spangeled Hamburg. We really wanted Etta to be a hen, as excess roosters were about to receive a different fate than hens. Etta's full name is Henni-Etta. And then one day, he crowed. In fact, he crowed first of all the 50 some roosters. We did consider possible name changes: Edda, Otto, Eddie. But Etta stuck and he responds to Etta. Etta is a very good rooster. He takes very good care of his hennies and is always on the lookout for danger. He and Freddie are quite chivalrous, offering food first to the hennies. Although approximately half the weight of Freddie, he is dominant. His only vice is that about every 2 weeks, he needs to be reminded he is in charge of the hennies, not the humans.
Shy Sally was pretty shy at one point.
Butterscotch became Blackberry at her own request.
Helen was named after someone Melanie knew in college. She is such a sweet henny. She is very stately in her carriage. She is one of the larger hennies. Melanie wonders if she and Penny are sisters. She is one of the 3 hennies whose voice Melanie can distinguish.
When Brownie was younger, she was the brownest of the bunch. She started off with a brown beak. In fact her first name was Brown Beak. Then we noticed she had brown feet and that her feathers were the brownest of all the Buffs. So her name became Brownie.
Black Tail was so named because she has a black tail, although you cannot see it in this picture.
These are some of our stories of the chickens. We wonder what kind of stories they would tell of their human friends. So far, we have not been able to find the address of their blog.