Posts tagged Ameraucana chicken
Cluck for "The Chicken Encyclopedia"

VintageGardenGal is proud to be Day 2 of the fifteen-day Blog Book Tour celebrating Gail Damerow's "The Chicken Encyclopedia."  See below for a complete listing of the dates and chicken blogs participating. You may also visit, Storey's Blog for more information.

I'd like to share with you, Julia, one of my favorite poultry breeds, an Ameraucana hen. Ameraucana's are wonderful in so many ways. First, their feathers are a beautiful honey color, 2) they lay a blue-green egg--like a natural Easter egg, and 3) they are a large hen that is hardy and thrives in a backyard flock. Ameraucana's have a pea comb, beards and muffs, instead of wattles.

In Gail Damerow's just-released book, The Chicken Encyclopedia: An Illustrated Reference, Damerow describes the Ameraucana breed as originally from Chile, and one of only two breeds that lay this special blue-colored egg. She also writes the Ameraucanas breed has many many color varieties, and can be large or bantam in size. In Damerow's new book, she lists and describes many more poultry breeds at your finger tips.

The Chicken Encyclopedia: An Illustrated Reference is a concise A to Z reference book on chickens. This is a must have reference for those of you who have backyard chickens, and love everything about chickens.

My hen, Julia, would like to share with you all, the celebration of The Chicken Encyclopedia, and a contest that  Storey Publishing  has generously sponsored for a free book to one of VintageGardenGal's lucky readers.

Prize: One copy of the The Chicken Encyclopedia by Gaill Damerow. Entry Deadline: March 15, 2012 How to Enter: Post a comment below on this post about your favorite poultry breed, and why this breed is so special to you. Please note only U.S. residents only. Please include your e-mail address in your comment, to be able to contact you. One lucky winner will be chosen for the best response. Good luck! Quick update. Thank you everyone for participating and all of your comments. VintageGardenGal's lucky winner was Kim Rocha of San Antonio, Texas.

The celebration of Gail Deamerow's newly-released book, The Chicken Encyclopedia, kicks off with a blog tour. Please follow along as this blog tour unfolds, and you will be introduced to a clutch of interesting chicken blogs.  Here is the official schedule for you to follow:

2-Mar, For the Love of Chickens, For the Love of Chickens 3-Mar, VintageGardenGal, VintageGardenGal 4-Mar, The Garden Roof Coop, The Garden Roof Coop 5-Mar, Common Weeder, Common Weeder 6-Mar, Chickens in the Road, Chickens in the Road 7-Mar, Garden Rant, Garden Rant 8-Mar, Fresh Eggs Daily, Fresh Eggs Daily 9-Mar, My Pet Chicken Blog, My Pet Chicken 10-Mar, Coop Thoughts, Coop Thoughts 11-Mar, BoHo Farm and Home, Boho Farm and Home 12-Mar, Happy Chickens Lay Healthy Eggs, Happy Chickens Lay Healthy Eggs 13-Mar, A Charlotte Garden, A Charlotte Garden 14-Mar, Farm Fresh Fun, Farm Fresh Fun 15-Mar, The HenCam, HenCam 16-Mar, Life on a Southern Farm, Life on a Southern Farm 17-Mar, ADozenGirls, The Chicken Chick, ADozenGirls 18-Mar, North Coast Gardening, North Coast Gardening

Color My Eggs Beautiful

What Was In My Easter Basket On Easter, my hens laid four beautiful eggs for me, one egg from each breed I have.  They were so beautiful, I had to put them in a pastel Easter basket, and share them with you. There is something so special, and perfect about freshly laid eggs from your backyard flock. It is like Easter every day.

I currently have five hens in my flock, from four different chicken breeds. Each hen lays an egg, color and size specify to her breed. I knew, by looking at my hen's eggs, who had laid an egg. Please bear in mind, that my hens range in age from nearly 8 years old to six months.

If you recall, Julia, my  wonderful honey-feathered Ameraucana hen, surprised me last spring by laying a miracle pastel blue-green colored egg at nearly 7 years old. This spring at nearly 8 years old (in May), she once again started laying. It is a surprise, since she hasn't laid an egg in about a year. Julia laid a small "pullet" size egg the day before Easter, and then on Easter day laid this incredible full-size perfect pastel-blue egg. What a gift. Really, it is incredible for a hen to be laying at nearly 8 years old. She is such a sweetheart. She will lay a few eggs more this spring, and then drop off for the rest of the year.

Coco, my French Wheaten Maran hen is just two years old, and laid the massive "chocolate-colored" egg on Easter. French Marans, typically are a very large hen. Coco weighs nearly 7 pounds. Her eggs are very desirable for their size, and tinting of dark chocolate color.

It is hard to tell the difference in the photo, but Charley, my White-Crested Blue Polish hen laid the slightly "bone colored" egg in the foreground. She lays a smaller egg, in ratio to her smaller body size. She is just six months old, and laying well. Needless to say, she is the "clown" in the flock with her "tossled" plume of feathers and personality.

The "cream-colored" egg behind Charley's is an egg laid from one of my Silver Spangled Hamburgs, Dolly and Dahlia. Silver Spangled Hamburgs are elegant faithful layers, with smaller eggs, and a smaller body type. An old breed, originating in Europe, they were at one time called "the Dutch every day layer."

What a wonderful Easter gift from my hens. These eggs are so fresh and tasty, it is hard really to describe them. They are so beautiful visually, it is hard to think of eating them. Yet, that is the best part. There is no comparison for cooking and baking with fresh eggs, making perhaps a spring frittata, and the delight in raising your own hens.

Please share if you have multiple chicken breeds in your flock. Please comment on your experience using fresh eggs from your own flock.

In case you missed it last week, Martha Stewart did a show on chickens, and offered quite a few interesting links and information on chickens on her website, Martha Stewart Show.

Miracle in the Chicken Coop

Miracle in the Chicken Coop Yesterday morning, I was opening up the shutters and door of the chicken coop for my hens to start their day, and I spotted a "miracle egg" in one of their nesting boxes. Miracle, because it was simply perfect in shape, size, and shell. Miracle, because it was a beautiful pastel blue-green colored egg, laid by Julia, my honey-colored Ameraucana hen. Miracle, because eggs are more of a rarity than the norm in our flock these days. Miracle, because Julia is a six-year old hen, hopelessly past her egg-laying prime, and please don't tell her. Miracle, because it is yet another sign of spring approaching, with increasing daylight lengths stimulating Julia to lay a perfect egg.

Fresh laid eggs are an incredible joy. One of the last things a hen does before she lays her egg is put a thin protective transparent coating over the egg. This locks in freshness, and you should never wash fresh eggs, except if they have gotten dirty with a manure dropping, mud, or something. This is nature's organic way of keeping the egg fresh. Once you gather your fresh laid eggs, you will want to put them in your refrigerator.

Fresh laid eggs, can still be warm from a hen's body, and warm in your hand. This is surely one of life's simple pleasures to experience, and reinforces my bliss in raising and growing your own food.

Some hens cackle a bit when laying an egg, confirming it is an in depth process for them. Hens laying eggs regularly, usually lay their eggs in the morning to early afternoon. When you provide nesting boxes for your hens, with fresh pine shavings or straw, hens instinctively know where to lay their eggs. Sometimes hens will lay all their eggs together in one nesting box, as if it were a party. More often, they use separate nesting boxes. Your eggs will keep fresh, and unharmed, until you collect and gather them.

Each chicken breed lays an egg of a particular eggshell color, that remains constant to that breed. For instance, a Rhode Island Red hen will only lay brown eggs. What a hen eats is the big difference in eggs, and determines the amazing color of their egg yolks and taste of their eggs.

There is such a dramatic difference in cooking, baking, and eating with fresh eggs, I am astounded. I have to smile at friends and family reactions when I cook them breakfast for the first time with our fresh eggs, or give a friend a dozen fresh eggs as a hostess gift.

Happy backyard hens who eat a protein laying mash*, enjoy fresh fruit and vegetable treats, as well as the pickings of a yard or garden for bugs and worms, will lay truly incredible "golden" eggs for you, your family, and friends to enjoy.


*Laying Mash, complete diet for laying chickens, usually made up of cracked corn, soybean meal, oyster shell pieces, and other nutrients.