Lissa’s Favaucanas – Good news and bad December 6, 2013 22 Comments
We have some good and bad news about our Salmon and Blue Salmon Favaucanas.
We’ve had nearly 400 people (at the time of this writing) sign up to be notified about when our Salmon Favaucanas—our new “designer cross”—will be available to order. Those of you who have been following the blog will remember this is a cross breed I started hatching at my WV farm, and which I promptly fell in love with. They’re beautiful and calm, social and friendly, hardy and productive. They lay beautiful sage green eggs in copious amounts, and are great foragers.
And friendly. Did I say friendly? Did I say sage green eggs? Did I say lots of them? Read the rest of this entry »
Chicken Facebook Status–what would your chickens say? November 29, 2013 4 Comments
Chicken Facebook status: what would your chickens say? Chickens are such social creatures—much like humans—that I’m sometimes reminded of the interactions of my chickens when I read Facebook statuses, especially in November when many people are expressing thankfulness.
Some hens are pretty amiably happy when they have food, water, shelter and companionship. Most are. But then there are a few bossy hens, like my hen Bunny, who spends her time making demands of others, pecking them to gain compliance, and bullying them away from feeders and waterers.
Poor Bunny. It’s not just that she wants “her spot” on the roost, for instance. It’s that she doesn’t even want Henrietta to have Henrietta’s spot. To anthropomorphize a little, Bunny just seems put out by the idea that other hens ALSO want food, water, shelter and companionship. She can’t wrap her chicken-y little head around it. Even though there are plenty of resources and space, Bunny is defensive and demanding. And she always seems a little unhappy because of it. Read the rest of this entry »
Black Friday Flock November 26, 2013 2 Comments
It’s that time of year! Baby chick ordering for 2014 has begun at My Pet Chicken. Before you leave for Black Friday shopping, you may want to reserve your Black Friday Flock.
Some of the rarer breeds (or preferred colors) of baby chicks sell out fast! Black Copper Marans, for example, are often all reserved within just a few weeks of being made available. For instance, as I check this morning, I see that they’re already sold out until MID-MAY of 2014. That will change quickly, too, so if there are any special breeds you’re just dying for, you’ll want to place your order soon.
Maybe you shouldn’t even wait until Black Friday to reserve your Black Friday Flock. Consider this a friendly suggestion to get a, um… a sort of Greyish Tuesday Flock reserved.
Here’s a quick list of the Top Ten Breeds that tend to sell out fast. If the breed you want is on this list, be sure to make your reservation soon:
- Silkies of all colors, but particularly White Silkies
- Blue and Wheaten Ameraucanas
- Salmon Faverolles
- Speckled Sussex
- White Sultans
- Frizzle bantams
- Mille Fleur bantams
Black Friday Flock–do you really want to wait that long? Place your baby chick order today to guarantee you get the flock you want next year!
Are you officially a “Chicken Lady” or “Chicken Man” November 22, 2013 14 Comments
It’s probably a little self-evident that I can be classified as a “Chicken Lady.” After all, it’s what I do professionally. I write about chickens. I write about them on the My Pet Chicken website, on our blog, and we even have a book coming out—The My Pet Chicken Handbook—something our Chief Eggsecutive Officer Traci and I created together. (It’s actually going to the printers today–woo-hoo!)
So, I’m not only a Chicken Lady; I’m actually a professional Chicken Lady, and I love it!
Below, you’ll find a quiz to help you determine how far along the path you are to being an official Chicken Lady, or—let’s not be sexist—a Chicken Man. Scroll down for the quiz! Read the rest of this entry »
Backyard egg French toast for the kids November 15, 2013 2 Comments
It is one of the sorrows of my life that my husband doesn’t much care for French toast, even though we’re fortunate enough to be able to have backyard egg French toast. I can make French toast from our own homemade bread, with our own backyard eggs, and top it with our own home canned jams.
I’m just not that crazy about syrup, not when there’s homemade jam! I love it. Specifically, I love it with jam or fruit. That got me to thinking that I might be able to win my husband over of I could find the right toppings.
First of course, I do get not liking French toast, even backyard egg French toast. It’s okay to not like a thing. For instance, don’t hate me, but I just don’t care for chocolate that much… but that’s not to say I don’t enjoy it, occasionally. However, chances are that if I have a choice between a chocolate something and a fruit something, I’ll probably choose the fruit. That’s where my husband is on French toast, a decided “meh!”
That won’t stop me from trying to get him hooked, though! For kids, you can make fun shapes:
This did not fool my husband. His powers of observation are such that somehow he still figured out it was French toast. Sacrebleu! Read the rest of this entry »
The best chicken breed for your personality November 8, 2013 12 Comments
People are always asking us which is the best chicken breed–which breed should they get? Of course, we have to explain that it all depends on what you’re looking for in a chicken! We often point them toward our “Chicken Chooser” Breed Selection Tool, an online “quiz” where you can input your criteria, and then receive a list of birds that would work for your situation.
But when you get a list of breeds that would work for your criteria, how do you choose the best chicken breed for your personality? We usually suggest reading the breed descriptions and looking at the photos, just to see if you find one more striking than the others.
The best chicken breed on your list may be the prettiest, or the best layer, or the most cold hardy, for example, depending on your personality.
For that reason, we’ve made this short list. If you’ve looked at the online tool and need more help choosing between breeds, this post could help you! Read the rest of this entry »
Egg color: 3 myths busted November 1, 2013 3 Comments
Egg color in general—and chicken egg color in particular—is often a mystery, even to people who have kept chickens for years. Where does the egg color come from? Is egg color related to ear lobe color? Does egg color have any effect on nutrition? Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting myths about egg color here.
1. MYTH: Blue eggs are more nutritious than white or brown eggs.
False. Blue eggs are not inherently more nutritious than white or brown eggs by virtue of their color. Read the rest of this entry »
Chicken quilt from Aunt Lyndell October 25, 2013 3 Comments
My Aunt Lyndell is a quilting genius. A few years ago, she created a quilt for me and my husband that was covered with–of course–chickens. She made us the most beautiful chicken quilt!
I consider myself to be fairly crafty. For instance, I made this Mama Hen and Chicks crochet pattern. And I knit, too. Heck, I even make my own beer. And my chickens help! But quilting is something I’ve just never learned to do. Take a look at the detail of her beautiful project: Read the rest of this entry »
Sunrise chicken skunk encounter October 18, 2013 3 Comments
Have your chickens ever encountered a skunk? The other morning I had a chicken skunk encounter–yikes!
It happened quite early in the morning when I was out taking sunrise photos. I especially love those rosy mornings in spring and fall, where the light casts everything as pink. Our silvery old barn is always a little picturesque, but in the light of a pink sunrise, it’s even prettier.
Uusally, I resist taking pictures of the chickens in the morning. Pink light doesn’t especially make them any prettier than they are normally. Plus, the low light that makes a sunrise sky photo lovely also makes chickens that don’t hold still blurry and grainy. (And chickens don’t especially like to hold very still for photos.)
Notwithstanding, I thought I might share a few photos of my recent chicken skunk experience. Read the rest of this entry »
Do chickens have accents? October 11, 2013 1 Comment
I often find myself wishing for research grants so science could affirm the answers to weird questions that pop up in my mind. Maybe that’s what a chicken nerd is supposed to do: come up with weird questions. For instance, do chickens have accents? I think they do.
It doesn’t take a sensitive ear to recognize that different breeds sound different from one another. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that basic differences in body size, shape, syrinx, etc., between the breed would physically produce different sounds. After all, dog breed have different sounds. A Beagle bays. A Basenji yodels or baroos. Chihuahuas yip. You wouldn’t expect the bark of an English Bulldog to sound the same as the bark of a Greyhound, so it’s no surprise that skinny leghorns sound different than fat cochins.
But when I wonder if chickens have accents, I’m not talking about the breed differences between the squawks of a Rhode Island Red, the warbling chattiness of a Faverolles, or the matronly clucks of a Brahma.
I’m also not talking about the fact that human languages reflect different words for both chicken sounds and rooster crows in particular. The English cockadoodle-doo is cocorico in French and kuckeliku in Swedish. English bok bok is gack gack in German and tok tok in Dutch. Those are, essentially, onomatopoetic accents, but not chicken accents.
What I mean by “chickens have accents” is this: Science tells us that chickens have their own language, a language they speak to one another. “The chicken world is predominantly a social one and sounds, gestures and postures are all critical in communication within the group,” according to Dr Rafael Freire. So, we know chickens have a language. This is also a subject discussed in our upcoming book, the My Pet Chicken Handbook. For those of you who do keep chickens, this idea is probably no surprise —you may well have noticed that chickens have different calls meaning different things, even when you probably haven’t conducted your own studies to prove it.
But, that led me to wondering about, well, regional accents. Do chickens have accents that vary with their location? In other words, do the Sussex in my flock speak in a different accent than the Sussex in yours, much like anyone who isn’t from West Virginia (like I am) are all pronouncing things wrong? (Just kidding. Sorta.) Read the rest of this entry »