New kids on the block

eggsOnce you have chickens (or at least once I do), it becomes tempting to want more exotic varieties. Four years ago I started out with six Ameraucanas, the friendly, puffy cheeked hens that lay pale green or olive eggs.

Now I have a wide variety, and often know which hen laid which egg by its size and color. Still, I wanted a couple of Cukoo Marans (rich, dark brown eggs) and Cream Legbars (turquioise eggs). When my Silkie (a small white puffball with feathered feet) got broody (sitting on eggs to hatch them), I arranged with a small breeder in Redding to ship a few baby chicks.  

They were due to arrive just at the time that the eggs I slipped under the Silkie would have hatched if they were fertile.  There were a few delays, but the hen kept patiently setting. Then the chicks were shipped by mail in a special box with food and a nutrient gel. But the postal service made their five-hour drive from Redding into a mysterious, two-day odyssey, including arrival in Oakland and shipment from there to Santa Rosa before they got to me.  Luckily everyone arrived in good spirits. I kept them inside under a warm light for the first day and made them an herb and garlic omelette to help them recover.

IMG_2142That night I slipped them under the hen, and by morning they had bonded.  Now mother and chicks are doing fine, and I should have an even greater selection of eggs this fall.



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