Our Hen-formation OR “what the flock?”
We have a brood of about 20, composed of two larger communities with a few outlying pair-pens (pens that house only a pair). I will start with the blog’s namesake, living in the semi-permanent coop (we move it bi-annually) are:
- Dog (2009–2014), the scrappy, wily Silver-Laced Wyandotte, and one tough hen. She was purchased with Sonny our first year. They are the only survivors of that sad season (see Other Peoples’ Dogs), but they started to not get along. So, once it became clear that Lucky and Bear needed their own home, we added Dog. They have been relatively peaceful, as long as Lucky stays clear of Dog’s remonstrant peck.
- Lucky, whose name comes from overcoming a sickness as a chick, an Americauna of gentle temperament, dominated by Dog. She developed a sickness within the first week of getting her, and she had to be nursed back to health by the gentle hands of Becca and Tori.
- Bear, an Americauna Roo, he has become the gentlest of the flock. He is from our second season, where we were “blessed” with three roosters. As they reached maturity, their fighting for hens and territory prompted the building of the semi-permanent coop which we move about twice a year.
Our “large pen” (it is no bigger than the purple, but since the purple coop is new this year, it seems “smaller” somehow). Anyway, the large pen is the oldest, housing Sonny, the patriarch roo, and the hens from year 2, including our first duck, Melony. They are as follows:
- Sonny, the old man of the flock and a Rhode Island Red (sometimes relegated to a bachelor pad for his overly-aggressive attentions to both his hens and to his keepers–it is, really, bad form to bite the hand that feeds you, but there it is…), Sonny has lost his tail at least twice, each time defending his flock. The second time Papa was called out to evict the visiting possum. His encounters may be the cause of his sometimes aggressive temperament He loves to eat from the scoop. He demands to be first to eat from the scoop.
- Melonie, a Peking duck with lots to say…all the time…ceaselessly. She was bought with Penelope who, under circumstances yet to be explained, stuck her head underneath the dog pen and died. We will never know what prompted that move. Melonie grieved for a period (they were both about a year old), and then became a chicken.
- Sunshine, another Americauna with not so gentle a temperment. She could be Lucky’s twin, but they do not like each other. She is often picked on in the large coop. She is at the bottom of the order.
- Golden-laced 1, 2, 3, and 4–Tori has to help me with their names. I can’t, frankly, tell them apart.
Soon to come to the large pen:
- Three chicks hatched from Bear and Lucky
- One additional chick hatched from …
In a pen all his own:
- Coyote, an Americauna with a bad attitude and as our bachelor number 1 was, over last summer, introduced to Matilda, a Golden-laced Wyandotte and a rescue hen, brought home by Grammy from a friend at work. Her flock fell to a neighbor dog. The pair seem to calm each other nicely. She lays malformed eggs.
And new to us the last summer in the big, purple “chicken-tractor” coop with a dog pen all its own :
- Hollie, and Carlie, our feather-footed Faverolles, rescued from the local fair two summers ago from a young boy who really didn’t want them to be eaten–also referred to as the “i babies” (from their names)
- Mrs. Potts and <<>> a mini-flock of two Red Mixes who have been a wonderful treat…affectionate, prolific layers and overall charmingly curious: “Is that a button? I like to peck at buttons. I haven’t seen that button before. I think I need to peck your button. I like buttons…”
- Ruthie, <<Tori’s help is needed here as well>> a mini-flock of four Golden-laced Wyandotte
Coming soon to the purple coop:
- Six chicks hatched from Sonny (a Rhode Island Red) and Sunshine’s (an Americauna) eggs (Names here: but they have all turned out to be red based with highlights of blue)
- Penguin hatched from Bear and Lucky (both Americauna)–interestingly enough, both Bear and Lucky have full tails, hence the Americauna designation. However, Penguin lacks the tail which is a true Auricauna trait.
Our attempt to increase our flock of ducks, and their large eggs, failed last year. The attendant at Tractor Supply swore he could gender the ducks. He was wrong. As they have grown, they have become too territorial to stay with their cohorts, so they have, now, a pen all their own. Attempts to integrate Melony into their flock was not met with success
- Suzy/Bruno and Janie/Nero, our non-laying, Brown Runner drakes who were, we were assured upon purchase, going to be prolific layers–duck, duck, spoof.