Meet the Flock!

DSC_0016 Cluck Norris – Cluck is an easter egger rooster who was hatched sometime around the beginning of March 2014.  He’s ascended through the chicken ranks to the role of Head Rooster In-Charge.  In the morning he’s a total horny toad and drives the hens insane with his constant rooster dancing which he’s not all that good at.  He’s a very good protector of the flock, but has the tendency to be afraid of everything he sees.  Cluck hates his assistant rooster, Vinnie.  He’s made it his mission to obliterate Vinnie from the planet or at least chase him around the run several times a day and periodically beat the snot out of him.  Cluck’s really a nice guy. We just have to remind him every once in a while that he’s not King of the Universe by carrying him around and embarrassing him in front of the hens.  We call it Rooster Rehab.  Cluck calls it completely unnecessary.

DSC_0009Vincent Mortimer, Esq. (Vinnie) – Vinnie was hatched in early March. He thought he was a hen for the longest time and so did we.  We try not to have a favorite in the flock, but we’re miserable failures because Vinnie is clearly our chosen one.  Not because we want him to be, but he DEMANDS to be.  Vinnie is a little pushy, a little dim, and a lot goofy.  He has school bus yellow feet so we’ll never lose him in dense fog.  They come standard on barred Plymouth rocks which is Vinnie’s breed.  Vinnie talks constantly and seems to have an opinion about everything.  He annoys the feathers off of Cluck Norris.  Cluck made him second in-charge only because there was no one else for the job although a rock could do a better job.  Vinnie’s hobby is food and begging for snacks…and annoying Cluck…which he has down to an art form.   Cluck reluctantly gave Vinnie a couple of hens.  Roseanna, who has some sort of mental problem and Ruth, who beats up other hens just because she can.  Vinnie’s just happy to have his own little harem, although Roseanna scares the beak off of him.  Oh, our voice for Vinnie?  Sounds like Bullwinkle the Moose.

DSC_0039Opal – Opal is a darling Buff Orpington pullet who was also hatched in March 2014.  She’s the head hen and don’t you forget it because she’ll be happy to remind you.  She’s gentle and sweet unless you’re Cluck and then she’ll kick your butt until you run for the coop in terror.  She has won every single fight she has ever picked with Cluck.  One growl from Opal sends Cluck streaking to the other end of the run where he’ll hide out until Opal has forgotten she wants to kill him.  She really just wants his job.  The hens run to her when they’re afraid and she’s responsible for all major dustbath decisions.  In other words, if you’re the best dust hole and Opal tells you to beat it?  You’d better beat it.  Opal loves to free-range and begs at the fence to come out at night so that she can chase moths in the clover of the yard.  She’ll happily follow me around the yard and garden and will also happily eat the blossoms off of the pumpkin plants if I don’t scoot her on her way.   In the run she prefers to spend her time checking under rocks for beetles or standing on a log puffed up like a small yellow feathery ball.  I think that’s when she does most of her planning for the hostile takeover attempt she’s going to try during which Cluck will be overthrown and she could care less about Vinnie.  She’s one tough chick.

OprahOprah Wingfrey is a black star pullet hatched in March 2014.  She’s fairly high in the pecking order and seems to be next in line for important decision making and check signing after Opal.  Her special talents include being ridiculously sweet and friendly.  She also likes her wattles rubbed, which is weird, but whatever.  Oprah asked if she could have her own cable network and I pointed out that it’s not really working out all that well for the real Oprah.

DSC_0088Jessie is a black star pullet hatched in March 2014.  She is very timid, sweet and usually looks completely terrified about something.  She mostly hangs out with her sister, Oprah and so, she’s higher in the pecking order than she probably should be which is just fine with her.  Jessie’s hobbies include dust bathing, eating, dust bathing, preening, and dust bathing.  Oprah (the chicken, not the woman) told her that she could have her own show on her new cable network (that she’s not going to have).  It would be a talk show called “Not For Pullets Only”.  Jessie isn’t sure how she feels about that and talk show talks continue.  Jessie wants her own trailer dressing room and wants all watermelon on the craft services table.  I can hardly see that getting turned down by Oprah…except the trailer part.

DSC_0029Ruth was also hatched in March 2014 and is a gold laced Wyandotte pullet.   She thinks that fingers are food much to the dismay of anyone who tries to pet her.  She used to be higher in the pecking order until Oprah moved up and took Jessie with her.  Now, she’s sort of “Queen of the Wyandottes” which is a dubious distinction since there are only three of them in the whole flock.  Ruth has an insane hatred of Roseanna and will do anything she can to make sure Roseanna doesn’t get to hang out with the others.   She is also the roundest of all the hens and sort of looks like a bowling ball with feet and a head.  I told her she just has big bones and she tried to bite my finger.  I’m not taking that kind of attitude from a chicken, so I’m signing her up for Jenny Craig.  That’s what she gets for biting me when I try to make her feel better about being FAT.  Ruth would like to change society’s opinions about overweight chickens.  I told her that changing the society’s feelings about deep fried, round chickens is going to take more than a little bit of talking.

DSC_0100Nina is also a gold laced Wyandotte pullet hatched in March 2014.  When I bought the Wyandottes at the farm supply store, the beleaguered worker in the chicken section told me that they were black stars.  Not so much.  Nina is under Ruth in the pecking order with her sister Mary.  They all sort of hang out together and present a combined force with which they feel there is no reckoning with.  Nina is sweet, not nippy like Ruth, and loves to free-range.  After Cluck ruined free-ranging for everyone, Nina was upset and told Cluck she didn’t want to be one of his sister-wives anymore.  Cluck reminded her that her only other option was Vinnie.  Nina quickly changed her mind about the whole “not being a sister-wife” thing and continues to be one of Cluck’s girls.

DSC_0077Mary is a March 2014 pullet and also a gold laced Wyandotte.  She and her sisters, Nina and Ruth were named after three of my mother’s sisters.  Basically, I ran out of creative chicken names.  Mary spends much of her time with the other Wyandottes just scratching around in the run for snacks.  She’s sweet and gentle although occasionally thinks my finger is a snack, but that honestly could be Ruth because frankly I can’t tell the three of them apart on a good day.  She’s at the same level in the pecking order as Mary and Ruth because I don’t think the rest of the flock can tell them apart either, and it’s just easier to lump them all together.

Gloria, also named after one of my very favorite chicken-keeping aunts, is a March 2014 Easter-egger pullet.  I had no idea what breed she was when I bought her at the farm supply store because I said “just give me three of those ones that look like chipmunks”.  She’s also been sweet and docile.  She has beautiful coloring in shades of gold and chocolate brown with a slight rose tint to her breast feathers.  She is near the bottom of the pecking order for some reason that I can’t quite understand because she didn’t start there.  She’s a favorite of Cluck’s though, and often you’ll find them snuggled together on the roost.  Gloria prefers to keep a low profile and doesn’t ever cause trouble or peck anyone else.

DSC_0037Roseanna is also a March 2014 Easter-egger pullet…although she looks more like a falcon.  We’re not entirely sure that Roseanna is a chicken and neither is she.  Something must have happened while she was hatching because she’s completely insane.  The other chickens don’t like her at all.  She’s kind of hard to like because she’s always running over other members of the flock, tearing around the run at top speed and generally being annoying.  She is the very bottom of the pecking order in the big run.  She’s routinely beat up, pecked, chased and otherwise shunned from the group.  It’s really sort of sad, but if she wouldn’t behave like she’s HEADLESS, I think the other chickens would accept her.  She’s sort of a weird combination of gold, chalky brown and grey and her head feathers stick out like she’s wearing a helmet when she’s terrified…which is almost all the time.  She’s a big ball of weird.

lavenders on crate

 

Prince and Violet are lavender Orpingtons that hatched at the end of April.  I found them through a chicken group I belong to on Facebook.  They came all the way from central Texas to live in southern Indiana.  I can’t tell if they cluck with a twang yet.  I bought them in a parking lot in front of a farm supply store.  It didn’t look shady at all…car parks…I get out, hand a woman money and she hands me out of state chickens.  Totally legit.   Prince was supposed to be female but I’m pretty sure she’s a he.  He’s very curious and friendly, but gets absolutely spastic if you pick him up.  Violet is a professional food waster.  Her entire mission on this blue planet is to empty the feeder onto the ground EVERY SINGLE DAY.   After she throws the food on the ground, neither one of them wants to eat it and as a result, after a rain, their pen has big patches of squishy chicken food in it.  Wait till they move in with the flock in the big run.   Vinnie allows no crumb to go uneaten!  At least it won’t be wasted.  Little stinkers.

 

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TC (Tiny Chicken) was, again, supposed to be a pullet.  See, there was this chicken swap and I was bent on getting two bantam cochin pullets and I was SURE this one was  girl.  It’s not.  I’m totally bad at guessing chicken sexes.  TC has feathery feet and looks like a muppet when he walks.  He’s absolutely adorable and I’m going to keep him and make baby bantam Cochins…I don’t know what I’ll do with them after that, but what the heck.  I’ve got a boy and a girl, let’s see what happens.

 

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Ivy is also a bantam Cochin.  See, there was this chicken swap…  Oh, I already  mentioned that?  Anyway, I sort of grabbed her on a whim on that day when I picked out TC.  She’s definitely a girl.  I think.   Well, she’s going to be TC’s wife and have his chicks so she’d better be a girl.  That’s the plan and I’m sticking to it.  Ivy is the fastest chicken I’ve ever seen.  I swear under those feathery feet are two small NOS powered rockets.   I don’t even know if there is such a thing, but believe me she’s the whizziest little chicken you’ve ever seen.  If she gets out, she sticks around, but if I try to catch her? HAHAHAHA…call an ambulance because you can bet I’ll be needing oxygen from sprinting around the backyard trying to catch her.  I’ve finally got them trained to hop into their crate when I sing “BEDTIME!” at the top of my screechy chicken voice lungs.   You’re welcome, Neighbors.

 

 

 

 

11 comments

  1. Leah Clement says:

    Oh my! Rosanna sounds like my Punkin. We call her punkin because she’s a punk. She acts life a chicken hawk and tried to dive bomb the other ladies. She’s also an EE. We ask refer to her like she’s the local crack head…

  2. Pam R. says:

    Have you tried gently rubbing your fingers and thumb on either side of Prince’s breast the instant you pick him up? This is one way to “hypnotize” chickens and keep them calm when holding or working on them. It doesn’t always work on all chickens, but if it does work, it makes life more pleasant for the birds.

    Regarding feed waste, it got mighty expensive here, with organic feed. We found using feeders like this cut the feed bills by more than 1/2:

    http://www.premier1supplies.com/detail.php?prod_id=83118&cat_id=143

    The idea is that they can’t fling their heads and knock what they’ve determined undesirable sized feed out of the feeder. Also setting the feeder height so it’s level with their backs will help, and keep feed cleaner.

    • theeggsandi says:

      I’ve got a similar feeder! I didn’t realize that they were looking for a certain size crumble! Should I try a different feed? I can’t find starter/grower organic stuff locally. I think I might have to order some. I can find it for the layers and they love it.

  3. Nicole Bouch says:

    Hi Chris!
    I’m also a mom, RN, photographer, and now chicken lover. We started our flock at just about the same time, and I’ve dearly enjoyed your posts. We also lost some of ours to a raccoon and then owl this year. I may have eased my pain by tripling our flock…ahhhh!
    May God bless you and the adventure!

  4. John Bugni says:

    I love your writing. Your piece had me laughing, on the verge of hysterically. I am a new backyard chicken guy, on a 1/2 of yard. Built a really nice coop my wife found online that had blue prints, which she fully painted. Added 24ft x 48ft run but let the ladies free range often. Got my first 3 girls locally as 1 year olds on Nov 1 and couldn’t help but add 4 more a week ago, also a year old. I love eggs. I love the way you describe your birds and the unique personalities they have. I have found that to be true with mine and it is so much fun do interact with them.I love your description of your roosters. They sound like quite an addition to the dynamic. I’m reluctant to consider it for fear of annoying my 2 neighbors who are to this point very supportive. Maybe I can get them on board. Does seem like the roosters would take the backyard chicken concept to a much higher level.

  5. Heather says:

    Just found your blog and I love it. We are in the final stages of deciding to get chickens (who am I kidding…we are getting them…just need to get everything ready for next spring). Anywho…wondering if you can share if you built or bought your coop and run? We are still figuring out what we want to do and would love to know what an experienced chicken-er (is that a word) has done. Even pictures would be awesome. Thanks for sharing your world of chickens for us newbies!!!

    • theeggsandi says:

      I have lots of photos of my coops on my Facebook page, but I would recommend looking up Urban Coop Company. Their coops are the best! I have the round-top backyard coop and I love it. It holds 6-8 chickens.

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