My hens are here!!!

When my loving husband started pestering me to go get some chickens, I knew it was finally time. Our coop has been finished for months, and we got our city license in late October. It really was time to get them.

I was going to San Diego today, so I called the farmer I contacted last year when I started this project. Back then, he had Buff Orpingtons, which is the breed I wanted. But now he had only Black Sex-linked, a cross between Rhode Island Reds and Barred Plymouth Rocks, two of my favorite chicken breeds. He also had Black Australorps, so I got two Black Sex-linked and one Black Australorp.

My three new hens in their new surroundings.

The first thing they did was form an escape committee and begin tunneling out of the coop. Fortunately for me, they’re easily distracted by the bugs and seeds that they kept turning up in the litter that I spread on the dirt run.

Here are my new girls happily scratching in the dirt. They’re pretty easy to tell apart.

Henny Penny has a lot of red on her chest and seems to be a docile hen, but also seems to be dominant.

Henrietta has less red on her chest, and is a higher energy chicken than the other two.

Chicken Little is the Black Australorp, but she also has a bit of red in her feathers. I suspect that she may not be purebred, but I’m no expert. She’s only six months old, while the Black Sex-linked hens are 13 months old. Like Henny Penny, she seems quite docile and adjusted to the small coop just fine. They had the run of the farm where they came from, so living in the city will be an adjustment for them. But the coop had food, water, and lots of litter to scratch in, so two out of three seemed pretty happy. Henrietta kept trying to fly the coop, literally.

Henrietta was the first to “go to bed,” but couldn’t get the hang of the ramp. Chicken Little and Henny Penny went into the coop without a whimper (or cluck, as the case may be), and eventually Henrietta followed.

Now let’s see how long it takes to get my first egg. I can hardly wait.

(To read more of Lou Murray’s environmental writing, see her weekly column, Natural Perspectives, in the Huntington Beach Independent at www.hbindependent.com /blogs_and_columns

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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2 Responses to My hens are here!!!

  1. Nell Jean says:

    I found the hens! Clicking on your name on my comments took me to a blogger blog now static.

    I look at the baby chicks at Tractor Supply every year, but we’ve never bought any. Maybe grown up hens would be a better plan.

    • Hi Nell Jean. I’ve heard that you can buy pullets or laying hens at some feed stores. Our local feed store sells only day old (or week old if they’ve been there a while) chicks. I got my hens from a farmer I know in San Diego County. They cost a whopping $25 apiece, so it’s probably cheaper to raise them from chicks. However, I’m in to instant gratification, so I bought hens. Also, I didn’t want to invest in a brooder, which you need if you’re raising chicks. Glad you found me. I must have made a typo when I entered my blog address on your blog. Sorry.

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