The girls are working hard to prepare the yard for spring veggies. After a hard day of work, they like to bask in the sun and take dirt baths.
The girls at 4 months old enjoying some winter weather.
These are the future plans of my garden. There will be basil, tomatoes, swiss chard, strawberries, summer squash, winter squash, peppers, eggplants, carrots, spinach, onions, cilantro, pumpkins, and a boat load of kale!
Julia Roberts, the Rhode Island Red, was killed by a hawk in early December so I haven’t really wanted to document the girls too much. It’s a sad reminder every time I see only 6 chickens.
These pictures were just too great to not post. Maggie Marble is determined to get that marshmallow, and she does consistently.
Just hit play!
Are you in the mood to watch some chickens? Perhaps you wish to assist in providing security at the compound. Maybe you are bored of Facebook/Twitter and just figured there was nothing else better to do.
Watch my chickens and perhaps, help prevent a kidnapping or a murder!
The chicks all arrived safely and are growing up so fast. I am posting some Tumblr pictures for your enjoyment. I hope to have these girls outside before the end of the month because they are starting to get CRAZY!
My baby chicks are due to arrive any minute. In an effort to provide 24/7 monitoring and protection, I am installing this video cam in their brooder. I’m hoping that my internet friends will help watch the babies while I am asleep. I’m also taking suggestions on names!
This video can be accessed directly at http://ow.ly/en43g as well for those who want direct link access. Thank you all for your help and support.
It’s been a while since I took a panoramic of the garden. It’s starting to look like a spring garden again. Lots of green and not much colour. No colour until my red lettuce comes up. I also got a pic of my yellow squash and 2 grasshoppers doing the nasty!
The Dominique, or American Dominique, is a medium sized chicken and a great little forager. These little birds are very similar to the Barred Rocks, except they are smaller and slightly more aggressive with prey. From what I have read, they are very docile with owners and very affectionate if treated correctly from babies. They also have a different comb then the Barred Rock and eat about 25% the normal amount of feed a larger bird like a Barred Rock might eat.
Dominiques are also “mouser” chickens so they love to eat meat - bugs, mosquitoes, worms, mice, weasels, young raccoons, cats, small dogs, etc. The more meat a chicken eats, the better the eggs tend to taste so this hen’s eggs might be some of the tastiest, if not the biggest. These chickens are also on the tougher end of the spectrum and make great free range pets as they are smart enough to run from predators and call for help when needed.
The legend of the Dominique’s origins is almost as cool as the bird. One legend has it that the Pilgrims cross bred with local heath hens the few Sussex and Hamburg chickens they brought over from Holland and England. Another legend has it that they were crossed with wild jungle fowl in Haiti and thus garnered the moniker, Dominique. Though most of their origin is shrouded in mystery, we know for certain that the Dominique has existed as a distinct chicken breed since the late 1600’s and that it has existed only in the Americas. It is the chicken to have in any place north of the Mason-Dixie line.
As if being a champion forager, docile to humans, and a murderer to vermin wasn’t enough, this little bird was the favourite of the American colonialists. They were used extensively to make pillows because of their beautiful feathers and if you see any paintings of the era with chickens in it, that will be the chicken you will see. The cool little Dominique was American before there was an America so it will be nice to own a little piece of American history in my backyard.
The one with the waggly tail…
The question I ask myself everyday is what chicken breed should I get? Should I get a really docile chicken or a really good egg layer or a tough chicken or a smart chicken or a large chicken or a small bantam chicken or, or, or…
There are so many breeds to choose from and there are never any guarantees that a chicken breed known for being gentile and docile, won’t have some mean chickens in the breed. Likewise a breed known for aggressiveness can always end up being super docile and gentle. One never truly knows until one gets the wee creatures and raises them to young adulthood. Hmm, this sounds strangely like raising a kid, except a kid takes like 30 years to reach young adult hood and chickens take like 30 weeks so it’s not so bad if you mess up and raise them wrong. You can eat your chickens but you shouldn’t eat your kids!
As I touched on earlier, there are so many variables to choose from that one could (and I apparently already have) go crazy trying to decide. The most important traits for me were cold hardy, as I wanted my chicks to deal with New York winters. I also wanted eggs and lots of them. I also wanted forager birds or mousers, as they are called in chicken farmer lingo. I decided against small bantam chickens as they will be easy prey for the neighborhood cats, dogs, racoons, and opossums. Finally, I wanted docile chickens that would be somewhat pet like and would allow themselves to be handled easily.
Some of my desires were contradictory as docile chickens tend to not be the best mousers and good forager chickens tend to be smaller and lay less eggs. Fortunately there were still countless of cold hardy breeds that might fulfill my wishes. In subsequent posts I will go into greater detail at some of the breeds I am considering purchasing. I look forward to taking this journey together and hopefully learning a lot on the way.
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