Adding new members to the family always causes something of a stir, but it’s a pleasant stir at that.
Friday, when I went to my feed store for layer’s pellets, I spotted these beauties, Beechwood Blue hens at point of lay, unusually glamorous with deep, vibrant plumage, and I knew I simply had to expand my little flock. With plans in place to rehome Nilla’s 2 remaining sisters, Skeletor and Gilda, with my daughter’s flock to assure good breeding (brother/sister matings are not sound), and with the recent loss of 2 hens, it was definitely time.
And then, I remembered what time of year it is… winter time. As my family will attest, this is always the time of year I tend to acquire new animals, fish, pets, furry things, scaly things, four legged, eight legged… it doesn’t matter, so long as it is a living creature. Yes, there is a dark and quite sad story behind my winter nesting urge that I will share in another post on another day, but for now, let’s just say this Mother Hen has been doomed to excess motherly instinct every winter for the past 27 years.
And so it goes with my new girls! I had only planned on taking 3 on, but once I had them boxed up, I decided I just could not leave the palest blue girl behind with her family flock. She was simply a little rock star, full of sass and attitude, and I decided quite last minute that she would come home as well. I am calling her Opal for the moment, but that may change.
Ok, it probably won’t… my chickens tend to keep what I hang around their necks. Just ask Skeletor… a monicker she earned by being the very last chick to lose her pinfeathers. At one point, she looked like a Hellraiser poster (never saw the movie, of course, but who could miss the posters? Ugh!). Since Pinhead was kind of an ugly name, the next best creepy name I could come up with was Skeletor, and thus she remains. My remaining blue babies will get their names over time, when I suss out their characters. Of course, you know I will keep you posted.
While all of this is very exciting for me, being uprooted and integrated into a new flock is extremely stressful for birds. Just imagine your first day of freshman gym class, stripping down in the locker room next to the popular girls in full plumage. My adult hens swan around with their lush, bright red crops, swaggering past the new girls with a worldly confidence. My blue girls (Opal excluded) are clinging to the corners of the run with their pale pink crops barely visible by comparison, looking all kind of weedy and hysterical, their feathers clamped tight to their bodies in self defense. Just think braces and a training bra, and you’ll get the feel for things. Poor girls. This will be a tough week.
Opal, on the other hand, is already flirting with Nilla, and even tried to pluck one of his tail feathers, the little minx! (I told you she was a rock star!)
Meanwhile, Nilla (as in Nilla Wafer) is checking out the new merchandise and flexing his captain-of-the-football-team muscles, alternately bowing and bullying, just to keep them on their toes. But he’s not striking out or pulling feathers, just mostly posturing and so I won’t worry too much for my babies. The older girls on the other hand? Well, let’s just say when they’re not gossiping behind their wings in cliquish clusters, they are taking casual runs at the newbies and delivering the odd authoritative peck to let them know who’s already made cheerleader, and who has control of the corn and the cockerel!
Bless ’em. Chickens are so funny…
Happy Tuesday, all! I’ll keep you posted… you know how I love talking chicken.
p.s. I wonder what colour babies I’ll get in the spring? Orange plus purple equals….? Oh dear. I’m set for the ugliest chicks on the planet! Gwahahahahaha!
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