June 30, 2010

Chickens

Some towns across the country allow residents to keep 2 or 3 hens within the city limits, subject to certain rules and restrictions. Chickens are ideal homestead animals no matter where you live, providing eggs and entertainment for their owners.

We started out with some black australorp chicks when we lived in Michigan - we lived outside the city limits so there was no problem. I couldn't really decide between the australorps and buff orpingtons, but the fact that only the australorps were available when I ordered from the hatchery made my mind up for me. There was one cockeral in among the girls, a mean fellow who we named Spurs. He was sent to the local processor rather early in his life, with no tears on my part.

The hens that remained were named Blackie 1 through Blackie 6. I never could tell them apart anyway. When we moved to Oklahoma I gave my little flock to a friend, and started over with buff orpingtons.

The buff hens were named Goldie 1, Goldie 2, etc. They grew old and were eventually replaced by their daughters. The old girls were picked off by coyotes or other predators over time.

My current buff roo is named Trey. His father was Junior, and the original, show-quality roo was Senior. I couldn't name the young guy "III", so he became Trey.

Some of our other chickens had real names though - my son's easter egger was Chickmunk; my granddaughter's hen is Nemo; our step-grandson named the black hen Flower. We once had a polish rooster named Beethoven because he crowed the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Another roo was named George after "Chicken George" on the TV show "Survivor". George and Chickmunk ran away to Vegas together one summer (well, they disappeared two days apart, and it's a nicer explanation than a coyote got them).

Red stars, barred rocks, easter eggers and more still grace my chicken coop. I still think they are an ideal homestead project. Got chickens?

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