They, too, wait for spring when fresh greenery pushes through to be pecked at and enjoyed by the hens of Pumpkin Hollow Farm. I love chickens. And the thing we missed most when we were away from a farm was having chickens. They make a farm a home anywhere you can keep them. Their colorful feathers, changing in the sun, their strut through high weeds and the way they tilt their head to look at you with one eye. They are hilarious in demeanor and each one is as different as my cats.
Yogi and Hindi are Jersey Giants and we refer to them as the Jersey girls. They tend to stick together. Their large black feathers sparkle emerald in the sunlight. They lay large brown eggs. They were late bloomers but seem to be catching up with others.
Eloise was supposed to be a Marans but she lacks speckles and I think she is actually an Australorpe. She lays small tan eggs wherever she pleases; outside the coop door, near the chicken food-as if the egg popping out surprises her. She wants to be pet but then changes her mind. She sleeps by herself and is a little…um…special. But she is very sweet.
Buttercup is the tiny queen here. A clean, white egg can be found each day. Her breed is Buttercup which is what led to her name. She looks like a miniature leopard with a rose shaped crown. She wants nothing to do with us. Unless we have a bit of cracked corn.
Owlette is an Auracana. This lovely breed looks like an owl and lays blue-green eggs. I would like a few more of these ladies. They are sassy and good layers.
We have fallen for Salmon Favorelles. These girls are beautiful in their French finest and petticoats. They lay pink eggs regularly and are very friendly. Bubba is especially sweet. Our granddaughter named our chickens. Bubba and Chichi are cute names indeed.
We feed organic layer feed and organic scratch. They eat scraps from the kitchen as well. They have a large fenced in area that was likely a dog run in the past with seven foot fencing. They live in an adobe house with trumpet vine that climbs prettily up the side in the summer. We are all ready for a little color and for winter to pass! They are able to wander the yard on the days the puppy goes to the shop with me. I don’t trust his puppyness quite yet. Chickens are very easy to keep. They require little more than a straw strewn shed or chicken coop, fresh water, scratch, oyster shells, scraps, and feed. They love dirt baths and bugs and sunlight. They put themselves to bed in the evening at last light. All you have to do is open the door in the morning and close the door at night.
We are vegan but we do eat the eggs from our own chickens. Our chickens lead a very nice life with pets, treats, and lots of wandering adventures. They will live here their entire life and so in that way they are lucky. No factory farms, cages, enclosed barns, or slaughter for them.
So now as spring approaches we have the question to answer; do we “adopt” five more chicks even though the hatcheries are horrific and provide five chickens with a beautiful future or do we wait and see if we are sent five chickens that need rescuing? There are many moral decisions to be made on a small hobby farm. We do know that chickens make this mini-farm a happier place to live. A farm without chickens is not quite a home.