July 29, 2013

our backyard flock

Allow me to introduce you to our chickens. Most of the breeds we know for sure are correct, a few are good guesses, and a couple are mixed, or we think are mixed.

Look at what I've become. A crazy person introducing her chickens to the internet.
More about the kinds, incase you're pondering a flock of your own. Gathered from various Internet sources and a little observation and while I think most of this is correct, it's also pretty sweeping and general.

White Leghorns are super good egg layers. Their egg to feed ratio is really good and they aren't very broody, so they're quite popular with folks looking for high productivity. Apparently they are supposed to be skittish, but Lulu is quite friendly and inquisitive, and will run right over to you when she sees you.

Black Sex Links are a cross of a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Barred Rock Hen, and when they hatch they are easily sexed because the males have a patch of white feathers on their head while the females are all black. They are also good layers and tend to be fairly hardy. Of our bunch, Cinder is the friendliest and easiest to catch, and likes to be pet.

Barred Rocks are a dual-purpose breed, so they're good layers and are good for eating due to their size/build. They're quite adaptable and do fine in confinement as well as free-ranging, and they bear the cold well, which is nice for our Maine winters. Ghost Rider is at the top of the pecking order and is a tricky one to catch, but she's sweet and non-aggressive.

Australorps are also good at the egg laying, and are also good mothers. They're pretty low key and friendly. MC is very mellow and just kind of just goes about her own business  As chicks they're patchy black and yellow, and they grow up to be solid black with a really pretty green undersheen type of thing. They do well in the heat and the cold and are a solid choice for an easy bird that lays well.

Silkies are an ornamental bantam breed. Apparently they are known for being super sweet and friendly, though ours are pretty standoffish. Penelope and Daisy are also crossed with something, we're not sure what. They're quite pretty, and come in a range of colors. They lay tiny eggs, and they're not the most prolific layers. They also sometimes can't see because their feathers are in their eyes, so you have to keep an eye out and make sure they're not being bullied. Ours also have some trouble getting up on the roost at night, so we made sure to have a ladder.

Crested Black Polishes are another ornamental breed and these days are mostly used for show. They, like the Silkies, are not the best layers and tend to go quite broody. Ariel and Franklin are fearless birds. They'll run right up to you if they think you have a treat for them, and they are super good flyers - ours actually sometimes fly up on top of the coop at night and we have to grab 'em down before we lock up.

Bantam Frizzle Cochins are sweet and fluffy, but again, not great layers when compared to Leghorns or Australorps. The "frizzle" part is reference to the crazy way that their feathers grow up and out, instead of curving against their body. You can also find full-size, non-frizzle Cochins. Kramer is a little skittish, but super cool to look at. We also think he may be a dude, due to some errant crowing we heard the other day...

Ameraucanas are really pretty, and come in a variety of colors. They lay blue eggs, and like some of our others they do well in the cold and are easily kept. They generally tend to be friendly; ours are a little shy but non-aggressive. They have thick necks and a feathery muff type of thing going on. And they're really, really pretty. Really. Cool colors.

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