Friday, May 21, 2010

Chicken chat.

Pull up a stool and grab a cuppa, friends. Today the topic is next years big project.

Chicks, dude. Chicks.

The topic is in the front of my mind because yesterday I wasted half the day watching a chick-cam someone Tsu works with set up to watch her new chickies. SOOOOOO CUUUTE!!!! Not sure what kind they are, it looks like maybe a few different kinds, since there were a couple of lighter coloured ones in with the darker ones. Anyway, it got me planning again. And in between times of reading my current brainy book ("The Sociopath Next Door: the ruthless versus the rest of us" by martha stout) I am reading this charming little tome called "Chicken Tractor: The Gardener's Guide to Happy Hens and Healthy Soil" by Andy Lee. I want to build me some chicken tractors now. lol.

Anyway. What i want out of my chickens: eggs (obviously) and meat. And replacement chickens. Now, i am not an egg eater any more than I am a milk drinker. Eggs and milk gross me out. I mean... you know where they come from, right? *shudder* But I find that the idea of eating (or drinking) something that was produced by my own animals and processed by my own two hands doesn't gross me out. It seems that what grosses me out the most is eating what came out of a stranger's cloaca or teat. If I have a personal relationship with them it doesn't disgust me. I know, I'm not entirely normal. But that is the fact.

My secondary needs out of chickens are that they make me smile, which means that, dad-gum it, I want multicoloured eggs and some pretty hens. So this topic will be the breeds i am considering... next topic will be coop related.

OK, so short list (pictures scavenged from the internet, because otherwise I'd have to hand sketch them all, lol):

eggs, meat, broody and coloured eggs. To get everything I want I plan to have a mixed flock. My choices have narrowed down to three breeds.

Breed Number One (WILL HAVE!):


they come in a lot of random colours, some with butts


and some without, lol.


Easter Egg Chickens. They lay eggs of varying shades of green and blue. After a couple of generations mixing with brown egg layers you can end up with eggs of almost every shade of blue, green, pink and brown. *jumps up and down clapping like a little kid* They are supposed to be calm and non-aggressive. My rooster will probably be an Araucana.

Breed Number Two (WILL HAVE):

Buff Orpington.


Big, gentle, good egg layers, and broody. they will sit on their eggs and raise their own babies. Also supposed to be calm and non-aggressive (you will note a trend here). also, pretty, IMO.

Breed Number Three:

Black Australorps.


Because they are REALLY pretty. Do I need another reason? *grin* OK, same reasons as the Buff Orpingtons, basically. These were started using Black Orpingtons so they have similar stats. I just want a couple. Because they are pretty.

Others Of Interest:

I may get one or two Cuckoo Marans just because they lay super dark eggs.


But I have heard they tend to be a bit more high strung than my other choice and i don't want jerkish chickens, lol. However they are supposedly almost obnoxiously broody (remember, being good moms is a high priority) so that may make their attitude worthwhile.

Also might get one or two Golden Polish.


...because they lay white eggs and i have no white egg layers on my list, plus they look hysterical but still pretty. They are NOT broody and are supposedly a bit more flighty so they would be more for entertainment and less for adding into my muck up of a mixed breed flock.


  1. A few comments and/or suggestions pertaining to chickens.

    True Araucanas are not "Easter Egg Chickens". Public hatcheries are mislabeling birds. True Araucanas also contain a genetic defect that causes mid-term abortion in their embryos. They're extremely difficult to raise and breed. Trust me.
    Now, hatcheries are also mislabeling "Ameraucanas" for Easter Eggers as well. Easter Eggers are their own breed entirely. These three separate breeds all produce blue and green eggs, so they're being lumped together and sold to the masses under *easier* terms.
    True Arauacans and Ameraucanas will need to be purchased from a breeder, since you will not find these in a hatchery, despite what they're calling their birds. They're also flighty and known for aggression. I've owned several, I won't own anymore.

    Now, Buff Orpingtons I can rave about for hours. They're cold tolerant, excellent broodies, good layers and equally good table birds.

    Australorps will get the same job done for you since they're an Orpington strain.

    While the Polish are stunning birds to look at, they're white eggs are tiny. Not as small as a true bantam, but small regardless. If you're looking for a white egg layer that's still colorful, I'd suggest Brown Leghorns.

    Also, just for a pretty flock, you could look into some Barred Rocks or Cochins. They're really gorgeous, especially when free ranging.

    Good luck with your chicken adventure! If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me. I've been in chickens since I could crawl lol

  2. I have it on good authority you are looking at:
    1 Buff Chantecler male,
    3 Spangled Russian Orlof (2 pull, 1 male),
    2 welsummer pullets,
    2 ameraucana pullets,
    2 black sumatra pullets,
    1 silver spangled spitzhauben pullet,
    4 broad breasted bronze turkeys (2 of each),
    6 pied guineas (st run)

  3. Hi, I'm the co-worker. :) My husband also posted a comment but I have some links for you.

    Our criteria this year were mostly cold hardiness and docility, although we threw in Welsummers for dark eggs (sounded a little more cold-hardy than Marans) and Sumatras because they seemed interesting. Also turkeys and guineas. -> some videos of the new chicks -> chicken pics and videos


    We've had very good luck with Ameraucanas (we've had chickens 4 years now). We're not doing meat, just eggs, so our needs might be different from yours.

    We're thinking of trying goats next. We have a lot of brush on the property. :/

  4. Thanks for the info, Shell! Yeah, I'm not interested in flighty difficult to breed birds, lol. I'm sure the ones i have seen being called Araucanas must be the other ones... I know a couple of people who talk about their Orpingtons and Australorps with the same fondness that they talk about their house dog, lol. The Polish are just for fun, they will earn their keep by reminding me of my dog rather than on egg laying ability, lol.

    Pee, thanks for the rundown. hehe! i spent most of the day yesterday watching chickies and going "awwwwww!!!!"

  5. Also, yeah, when we say 'Ameraucana' we really mean 'Easter Eggers' because we're buying from a hatchery. Ours have been fairly docile, but I think our first batch was much friendlier because we spent more time with them.

    We also have had Rhode Island Reds, which are pretty boring but good layers, and a couple of black sex links (good layers of HUGE eggs)--those last ones were a hatchery mistake when we ordered Jersey Giants. :/

    Best broody we ever had was a little silver phoenix bantam (we think--it was an unidentified mixed batch). She was *desperate* to sit on eggs and raise chicks.

  6. epe, I was thinking about the Welsummers myself. They were on my list, I just have a much longer list than I want to cram into a blog post so i picked the top ones, lol.

    What hatchery to you get yours from?

    If you are seriously considering goats, first read my entry a few posts back called "So you think you really want goats? REALLY?" *snicker*

    To learn about goats (which is important to do before you get attached to the idea of goats, for the sake of your own sanity, lol) I HIGHLY recommend spending a lot of time at and reading their information pages. I can also recommend the forum as a place with a lot of really helpful people and a very nice friendly atmosphere.

  7. We order from Ideal Poultry because there's no minimum number of birds, just a minimum money amount and it usually works out to less than the 25 birds other places usually require (we have ordered as few as 12 without a problem). Also their minimums include all birds together on the order, not just ones of a particular type or species and they have a fairly good selection.

    Yeah, saw the post about goats. I know, I know. We do have more research to do, not to mention fences and shelters to build, so it probably won't be this year. Thanks for the links!

  8. Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch has some of the coolest chickens I've ever seen:

    My experience with chickens.. well.. Mr. Rooster became dinner

  9. Jen!! The rooster in those pictures is the kind of Polish i want!!! He is gorgeous! he reminds me of a Vegas showgirl, lol.

    I find the most interesting blogs thanks to you, lol.

  10. LOL Lisa calls that rooster "SidVicious" cracks me up!

    Oh 'n the blogs.. well I get around! *giggle*

  11. I have 3 buff orpingtons, 3 black australorps, two Americaunas (not EEs), and a silkie. The buffs are the friendliest, followed by the 'Lorps. The 'Canas are a bit skittish, but they're beautiful and give me bluegreen eggs, so I don't mind that they're not begging for neck scritches and constantly getting underfoot. The silkie is downright cuddly.

    I saw pictures of buff frizzled polish the other day. They looked like Big Bird! must. have.

  12. Jen, the name fits him perfectly, hahaha!!!

    Rin, it looks like you have the same basic idea i have, hehe!

    Oh, man that picture is hysterical. lol.

  13. I'd also go with a Welsummer over a Maran. Purely because a) they're usually cheaper and b) they're cold tolerant. Plus, who doesn't love milk chocolate colored eggs?

    I will say that out of the 10 Buff Orpington hens that I have this year, 6 have gone broody on me. They're excellent mothers, really. My Black Ameraucanas, however, are another story. I did have one sit on eggs... for about 15 days, then she gave up and walked away.

    I think given the mix you're considering, you'll have just enough equality for eggs, meat and broodiness.

    Good luck :)