Posts tagged My Pet Chicken
New Pocket Guide to Poultry Breeds
“Photography by © Adam Mastoon, from   Poultry Breeds  , © by Carol Ekarius, used with permission from Storey Publishing.”   

“Photography by © Adam Mastoon, from Poultry Breeds, © by Carol Ekarius, used with permission from Storey Publishing.”



This is a great time to scour your seed catalogs and make your "seed wish list" for this spring and summer. If you raise chickens, like I do, this is also a great time to check out online hatcheries for specialty breed day-old baby chick selections. Poultry Breeds by Carol Ekarius is a great new pocket size book that gives you a lot of information at your finger tips. Ekarius describes 104 essential poultry breeds and their attributes, along with beautiful photos.

As I mention in my book, Gardening with Free-Range Chickens for Dummies (Wiley 2013)chicken breeds are as diverse as dog breeds, so do your research on what types of chicken breeds will work best for your and your family's lifestyle, location, and specific desire for raising chickens.

I have two remaining hens, Copper Penny and Amelia, from my original flock of ten chicks in 2012. Some of my flock I gave away to good homes, and some passed on with shorter life spans. Copper Penny and Amelia have ended their egg drought recently, having molted and stopped laying for about 8 weeks. With increasing day lengths and turning 5 years old this May, it is really amazing. I won't get eggs everyday at this age, but their eggs are golden. My seasoned hens will help with my new pullets (young hens) this spring, showing them the ropes around the chicken coop and garden.

I am currently looking at some of the more uncommon poultry breeds, supporting the Heritage Poultry Conservancy. Lifestyle expert, P. Allen Smith, at his Moss Mountain Farm in Arkansas, is a great advocate and enthusiast for heritage poultry conservancy. Three great online hatcheries I recommend to order a variety of day-old baby chicks are: My Pet Chicken,  McMurray Hatcheryand Cackle Hatchery. Hurry, as I see many breed selections are sold out for the time being or have limited availability already this spring.

Remember, "Love Thy Chickens, and Keep on Clucking!"


New Hens at "Coop de Manion"

Dolly, Dahlia, and a Tail of Charley My dear friend, Poultry Princess Kathy Lafleur, so aptly penned by panache garden writer Debra Prinzing, gave me three young hens a few months ago from her billowing flock. All three young hens, Kathy raised from day-old chicks, from a baker's dozen purchased from My Pet Chicken, five months earlier.  All of the chicks turned out to be hens, to My Pet Chicken's credit. It is not easy to sex day-old chicks. It is an art. With that said, Kathy's coop "runneth" over as the chicks matured into young pullets (hens) and I was happy to adopt three of her beauties.

Two of my new hens are Silver Spangled Hamburgs, gorgeous, elegant black and white hens, that I named Dolly and Dahlia. The third is Charley, a White-Crested Blue Polish hen, whom you might have seen in her debut appearance, Chickens Dig Dirt Baths.

I was a little reluctant to blend these beautiful young hens in with my existing flock, for fear of not knowing the outcome.  I must confess, all went well, and introducing these young hens proved to be easy, nary a peck or a drawing of blood ocurred. Thank goodness, my elder hens, were on their best behavior.

Silver Spangled Hamburgs are small, almost bantam size, and very lively. In fact, after three months, I'm still trying to capture them together in a photo-worthy moment to no avail. I have noticed that when Silver Spangled Hamburgs are excited, they tend to fan their tail feathers, somewhat resembling a peacock.

Silver Spangled Hamburgs are an old traditional breed, whose origins date back hundreds of years to England and Holland. These hens exude elegance with their striking white feathers against black polka dot markings. Other stand-out features include a beautiful red rose-shaped comb, white ear lobes, and bluish legs. They are very quick, somewhat flighty, and not your "cuddly-lap" chickens for children. This breed is known for laying abundant ivory-colored dainty eggs, and a nice choice for "show competition."

Thank you, Kathy, for your lovely young hens. They are a joy, and a wonderful addition to our "Coop de Manion" flock.

Please share what factors have determined your personal chicken breed choices? Please share your motive for having, or wanting backyard chickens?

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