As most readers of this blog know, my flock of chickens, is, well, old. Senior citizens with feathers, as it were. I don't 'plan' (and we know how that goes) to get any new chickens until the Tough Old Birds finish out their lives here. In the meantime, I get enough eggs, most of the year, to keep me supplied, with an occasional overflow to family members.
In the distant future, when I start a new little flock, I might try something that is on the rare list, but I do like my Ameracuanas, which are most likely 'easter eggers', but I really don't give a hoot. They are such a tough little bird,lay consistently and come in a large variety of colors.
So, anyway, back 'in the day', about every other year I would buy a small batch of assorted breeds from the hatchery. Then there were a few years where a determined hen 'stole' a nest and tried to hatch out a few babies (usually with disastrous results, so that I would end up going to the hatchery anyway to supplement her hatch.) In the end, my flock was pretty diverse, but for the most part purebred---Dominiques, Production Reds, Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rock, Black sex-links, and a colorful assortment of the Ameracuanas.
Here is a picture of a Black Sex-link (these are very similar to Production Reds, in shape and production values, but can be sexed at birth as the hens are always black, if I remember correctly). They lay a large brown egg. I bought six of these little chicks in 1997--yep, 1997, so that makes her.... 11 and almost a half. She is the last of these girls. Really she has aged remarkably well, she isn't hunched up like her picture implies, (she thought there was a bit to eat there on the ground), and until she molted a few weeks ago she looked shiny and very healthy. She also crows. Quite well, in fact. Wing flapping and all. The rooster doesn't seem to mind, as she is one of his special ladies.
Next is one of the 'younger' generation. Her name is On'y (as in Only) as the broody hen who hatched her only managed to produce one live chick. Of course this resulted in me purchasing 13 day old Ameracuana chicks from the hatchery to 'keep her company'. Hatched in July of 2002, On'y is in her prime at just 6 years old. Her dad was a lovely russet colored Ameracauna, and her mom was, you guessed it--a black sex-link! She really is a pretty girl, and even has the full muff and beard of the Ameracuana. I think she lays brown eggs, but have never been able to catch her in the act to know for sure.
Lastly are two hens that are simply known as 'the twins'. They have been inseparable since hatching back in July of 2003, and are the youngest and last hatch on the farm. They did have two Ameracauna hatch mates, and I purchased some Buff Orpingtons to round out the hatch. I ended up selling all but these two and one silver Ameracauna hen (I suspected the ones I sold were all roosters). These girls are very petite and almost 'game -like' in their appearance. They are 'slick feathered' and have no muffs or beards. They are also very fast, and on the spooky side. Interestingly enough, they are also an Ameracuana and Black Sex-link cross, even though they look totally different from On'y. Again, I'm unsure what color eggs they lay.
That's it for today, from the hen house at Fairlight Farm!