Happy Birthday to the Girls

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we brought home four fluffy chicks.  A lung infection, an oviduct infection, a passel of eggs, and two roosters later, the pullets are graduating to hens.

We remain thoroughly and hopelessly in love with Petunia and Luma. Though I’ve made no official calculations, I can confidently say that keeping garden chickens has not been cost effective, but it has certainly enriched our lives and provided us with a (somewhat) consistent and bountiful supply of fresh organic eggs.

The girls never molted in the fall, and they never really stopped laying, aside from the week Luma took off at the beginning of October. Again without calculations in hand, I would say that Petunia, the Barred Leghorn, lays overall more consistently than Luma, the Barred Rock. That said, my main question is how well they will lay in years to come and how healthy they will be.

On an entertainment note, the girls decided in January that they were definitely above Pudy in the hierarchy of critters. They chase her down on sight and generally bully her to the point that she now hides whenever they are roaming the garden. I figure it’s indirect payback for all the times she has picked on wild birds.

Nothing quite compares to the deep bliss of a dust bath!

Nothing quite compares to the deep bliss of a dust bath!

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Petunia is our sweet, sensitive one. She never misses a chance to fly up to your shoulder ‘just because’, and she always wants to be part of the action.

 

Luma can't be bothered with human concerns, unless there's food involved!

Luma can’t be bothered with human concerns, unless there’s food involved! She is quite content to spend long periods alone scratching for bugs.

6 Responses to Happy Birthday to the Girls

  1. Sarah, please don’t worry about responding regularly…. I’m not the best at keeping up myself! More delightful photos, aren’t they lovely girls. It never ceases to amaze me that anyone would imagine hens couldn’t possess personalities or such diverse behaviour. My experience of moulting having purchased point of lay birds in the past is they rarely do in their first 12 months but seem to make up for it the following year by which time it’s probably as well they take a rest from egg laying. Also broody girls often shed their feathers soon after a spell sitting on a china egg in the nest box but if you’re lucky your girls may not be prone to broodiness, unless of course you want to raise more chicks. I managed to put a few photos into a photobucket file for you to see some of my girls as well as Jasper and Hebe, 2 of my 3 cats. The little hen by the catflap was in the house because she was unwell. I’d brought her into the warmth for a couple of days and she was soon on the mend again but Jasper wasn’t sure it was a good idea!
    http://smg.beta.photobucket.com/user/cornish_T/library/Menagerie%20and%20others

    By the way, Damson plums, a favourite in the UK because they are so sweet and make gorgeous jam, wine and puddings were brought across from Italy by the Romans after their invasion so you may find them in an Italian store but certainly look out for a jar of jam that will give you an idea of its flavour.

    Sadly my dear friend Terry who helped so much with my bees passed away last week. I loved his visits as he was always full of stories, advice and where to go to find wild fruit to pick for jams or alcoholic beverages, all with such a wicked sense of humour. My bees are beginning to take foraging flights now the temperature has risen above freezing and my neighbour and I are determined, in his memory, to keep Terry’s strain of bees thriving.

    • Hi Jackie,

      We’re so very sorry to learn of Terry’s passing. How meaningful that you have his strain of bees and will be able to maintain and nurture them in his honor. We’re thinking of you and wishing you well.

      Your pictures are fabulous and make me quite envious of your beautiful country setting. I edited the password out of your comment in case you want to keep it private, but am happy to put it back in, if you are comfortable with passing strangers having a look. With your permission, I’ll keep it and check back periodically in case you’ve posted more photos. I love the one of the chicken looking in the window!

      Kelly is trying to remember where she has seen Damson plums. I will keep my eyes peeled for any jams made with them, but I’d also love to find a tree and taste them fresh (or take a scion to graft). Hmmm… wish me luck.

      Thanks for your understanding about my tardy responses. I really fell off the blogging wagon in the fall when my life was so crazy. I actually had the nerve (!) to backdate several posts the other day so I could slip in our beekeeping retrospective that we started in December and never got around to finishing. Phew! I never knew blogging could be so stressful :).

  2. Good morning Sarah, Delighted you managed to get into my photobucket file as it’s not something I completely understand and also thank you for being concerned about the password. I don’t plan to post any photos that would compromise me (!!!) so will leave it up to you but will certainly pop a few more on over time as the season progresses. Millie is the hen eyeing my empty lunch bowl, an Amber Rock and a real character having survived a fox attack which left her with a large puncture wound. I heard the commotion as the chooks yelled their warnings and ran to the shrub under which the fox was hiding with her and luckily my loud shouting and clapping of hands scared it off, leaving Millie behind. Plenty of TLC brought her back from the brink and she’s been at my feet ever since. It’s a shame I can’t send you a Damson plum tree cutting but do understand about California’s strict laws on imported fruits having travelled there in my youth when I had to leave an apple set aside for lunch at the state border!

    I’m moving across to your asparagus blog as it’s something I too planted 3 years ago so am beginning to think we are living parallel lives!!

    • I will put your password back into that comment so that any passing gardeners can enjoy. I am still of the opinion that you should begin writing a blog:). I for one, would love to read about your exploits at more length.

      Yes, California is pretty strict about plant material crossing the borders. will see if I can hunt down some Damson plum cuttings to graft onto our Santa Rosa plum.

      …We do seem to have remarkably similar experiences and areas of interest in our gardens. How delightful! Have you ever tried splitting/dividing your hives? We did so for the first time today. I’ll try to put up a post about it soon.

  3. I think your two chickens are just about the cutest things I’ve ever seen! The more I see them, the more I think how much I would enjoy spending time w/ them!

    BTW, how did pudy get her name? (And why doesn’t she have two “d”s?)

    • Hi Todd,

      We’re pretty delighted with the hens, ourselves! I never realized how much personality chickens have. As for Pudy’s name, I should let Kelly respond with details. I believe the name was inspired by the size of Pudy’s feet when she was a kitten.

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