International Residents Arrive!

No more strictly “garden variety” chickens for us.  We loved our Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks, but this time…

We’ve expanded our clientele!

Off of a craigslist ad (where you can seriously trade almost anything – in this case we traded money for pullets), we bought 4 young hens to re-start our “chicks in a bucket” project.

Halley, a Golden Comet breed, is the most adventurous of the 4, and one of only 2 who would come out for a picture.

Golden Comet Chicken

We haven’t named our Silver-Laced Wyandotte yet, although the breed hails from New York state, so we’ll be on the lookout for a good name when we go visit the Niagara Falls next weekend.

Silver laced Wyandotte

We’ve named one of the secretive Araucanas Arborio.  We believe this breed, sometimes called Americaunas or Easter Eggers, was first raised by the Incans and lay either blue-, green-, or pinkish-shelled eggs.  Which explains their shy nature – they are used to hiding in or around mountains, and since we don’t have any in the coop, they are just staying hidden under the low boards of the coop.

The jury is still out on what killed our other hens.  I have a live trap set – two nights running the critter has eaten the bait food and not sprung the trap.

And the little hens are in the coop all the time now.  We will let them roam the yard when they are bigger, and no sooner than when we get back from our trip to New York and Canada.  We just don’t want to worry about them while we aren’t home, no matter how far away we are.

Welcome, little friends! Bienvenido al cul-de-sac!

Death Comes to the Cul-de-Sac

Early this morning, our three hens lost a battle with some wild animal.  Killed for some visceral reason, yet left mostly intact.  I found two of them outside both the fenced in chicken yard and outside our 6 foot cedar fence, too.  Whatever killed them dragged two of them over a 4 foot wire fence, and either over the wooden privacy fence or out the gate that was open only a few inches.

I only noticed after I had gotten the grass trimmer out of the shed and looked over to see a chicken on her back.  She wasn’t moving.  They often take dirt baths so this wasn’t an odd position to see them in, but it was odd that she wasn’t moving.  I said, “Hey!”, because maybe they hadn’t heard me come out.  No such luck.

I had been leaving the door to the coop open overnight so they could enjoy the long evenings and the early mornings.  I don’t get up nearly as early as the sunrise these days, and I hated to make them stay cooped up.  I guess that’s where we get that expression from, isn’t it?

I guess cooped up, in the big picture, would have been better for them.  I don’t pretend to understand the pitiless nature of the wild, but I really should have believed Jack London – he was ALWAYS writing about the relentless pursuit of predators.  I just didn’t think it would reach all the way into our patch of land.

Even so, “It was not judgment day; only morning, excellent and fair.”  William Styron, from “Sophie’s Choice”.