Chickens! I got another one.

When last we met to talk about chickens I had just got rid of 3 of the 4 chicks I bought in the spring.  Because 3 of 4 of chicks turned out to be roosters.  I blame all of this on the fact that, until I was 25 years old, my favourite food to order in restaurants was chicken fingers.

It’s your basic Rooster revenge I’m dealing with here.  You know, poultry karma.

It was such a struggle, to raise the chicks and then end up with a bunch of cockerels,  that the woman who sold me the chicks (she breeds a variety of heritage breeds mainly for their kaleidoscope of egg colours) told me she’d give me one of the pullets she raised this spring.

So a few weeks ago, I drove 45 minutes straight into the country to fetch Mabel.

 

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Mabel is a Blue Copper Marans.  What that means is she’s a Marans (breed) chicken, and her colour is Blue Copper.  So her feathers are a blue hued gray with a ring of copper around her neck.  Only she’s missing most of her copper, which is why the breeder let me have her.  It’s the copper in the Marans neck that a lot of people think attributes to their very dark eggs.  Marans are known for laying dark, dark brown eggs, with some colours producing much darker eggs than others.

 

The Black Copper Marans (which is the type I bought in the spring) is known to lay the darkest of the Marans eggs.  And the Blue Copper Marans lays a slightly lighter, but sometimes speckled egg.  Speckles are pretty.  I’m O.K. with speckles. Unless they’re floating in my milk. And upon further inspection prove to be centipedes.

Please enjoy the beauty of Mabel.

 

Mabel

 

 

 

In case you were wondering, Mabel is as soft as a kitten.

 

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Her comb has healed nicely.  When she was first fully introduced to the other hens they tried to kill her.  It happens.  They chewed her comb.  It bled.  I put Wonderdust on it (stops the bleeding and masks the colour of blood) and after a few days they stopped picking on her and now she’s one of the gang.

 

You can see that hint of copper around her neck.

 

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This is my very favourite part of every chicken.  The butt fluff.  I swear to God I could mash my face in there if it didn’t think it were so socially frowned upon.  And gross.

 

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Marans have orange eyes.

 

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Mabel is a softie.  You can pick her up and walk around with her.  When she gets scared she’ll smash her head under your arm.  I like this.  I think it’s fun.  Unfortunately for Mabel because of this I do my best to scare her on a daily basis.

 

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Like other Marans, Mable, my Blue Copper Marans has feathery legs and feet.  Just her outer toe actually.  Which is standard for the breed.

 

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The day after I brought Mabel home she started laying eggs.  Always a good sign because it means she’s relaxed into her surroundings.  And it means I get eggs. The rest of the hens are moulting and not feeling like laying many eggs and the young hen I got in the spring (who you’ll be re-introduced to momentarily) won’t be laying for another month or so.

 

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Because I took the egg photos outside they appear lighter in the photo than they do in real life. They’re a dark brown with speckles.

 

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They’re good lookin’.

 

Speaking of good lookin’ it’s about time I introduced you (by name) to the one, single, Black Copper Marans spring chick that I got to keep.

 

Josephine-Feature

 

Josephine is black and french.  Hence the name Josephine.  Partly for Napoleon and Josephine, but mostly for Josephine Baker.  Yes, I know Josephine Baker wasn’t French but France is where she became famous for being a world class ass shaker.

I believe that my Josephine will also become famous.  Also because of her great ass.

 

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She’s a beaut this one.

 

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Here you can see the beautiful copper ring around her neck.  This is what the ring around Mabel’s neck is supposed to be like, but isn’t.

 

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And like Mabel (but hopefully not like Josephine Baker) Josephine has fluffy feet.

 

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That brings my total chickens up to 5.  Two of them (Mabel and Josephine) will be my main egg layers, with the older chickens, Walnut, Cuddles and Cheez Whiz pulling up the slack with the few eggs they produce.  At 3 years old my original gals are moulting more and laying less.  In the first year, a hen lays almost every day.  By  year 3 they may go on a laying rampage of laying every other day for a couple of weeks and then close up shop for a couple of months without warning or reason.

In another year or two they’ll get a bit crankier, might not lay any eggs and will generally just lay around and eat lots of food.

In other words … they’ll pretty much become Roosters.

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121 Comments

  1. Diana Ernst says:

    My No Copper Blue and Splash Marans lay darker than my Black Copper Marans.
    It is how they were bred. Black Coppers have been bred to only pick out the darkest layers than breed together them with a rooster that you know hatched from darkest eggs.
    Do the same with your Blue and Splash to increase egg color with every generation.
    Sadly you got rid of your top Black Copper breeding stock roosters that you could have put with your Blue Copper Hen and increased the egg color in her offspring.
    Can’t reproduce without a rooster. 👍

  2. Karen says:

    I totally relate with your angst. I have nine chickens, I had ten but one hung herself, not sure if it was assisted by other members of the flock or not?, and decided to get a few more. I usually get a few every couple years so that I always have different ages, and I REALLY wanted some Blue Marans. I paid a fortune for them and got talked into a lavender tailless Araucana. Two weeks later and it looks like the Marans are all Roo’s and the Araucana is the most rooster like of all of them, but I have to wait five + more weeks to see if it actually is. Now I spend my days thinking of ways to give these roosters to unsuspecting people;)

  3. Jennie Lee says:

    Your chicken, Josephine (Baker) reminded me of my pet turtle, Etta (James) and the hamster I used to have, Isadora (Duncan). Finding just the right name for a pet is such fun!

  4. Lucie says:

    I love chickens with fur pants.

  5. june2 says:

    Not sure if it’s true but have heard that introducing a new hen to the coop works best if you slip them into their own new nest at night when it’s dark and the other hens are already in their nests. When the flock wakes up the next day, they accept her as if she’d always been there. Might be worth a try. Got that tip out of chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir: Blood, Bones and Butter, a great book!

    • Karen says:

      Hi June2. I’ve read that too (both the book and the tip) and I don’t really think it’s true, lol. Chickens aren’t stupid and if they wake up and there’s an extra one they’re gonna know it and they’re gonna attack her. Mine integration lasted about 2 weeks, starting with just keeping the new hen within sight of the older hens. As they got used to each other I exposed them to each other for longer and longer periods. If I had just stuck her in the coop one night I’m sure she would have been nothing more than a carcass by the time I found her in the morning! Chickens are pretty vicious. Loved that book btw. ~ karen!

  6. Paula Thomas says:

    She’s a beautiful girl congrats! And a bonus that she’s already laying. Is your other marans chick laying eggs yet? I’m hoping my black copper marans start laying eggs this Spring. I’ve been documenting their and my easter eggers growth since Day 1 https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/115541572952609738763/albums/6066129026680848753

    • Karen says:

      Mabel (the blue Marans) stopped laying after about 2 weeks, lol. As soon as the days got shorter and the other chickens went into yet another moult she closed up shop. The black one should have started a couple of weeks ago, but coming into lay at this time of year probably screwed things up for us a bit. I’m doing my best to make sure they have full crops by the time they go to bed so they have more energy for feathering an laying. I’ll have a look at your girls later! ~ karen

    • Karen says:

      Just took a quick look. GREAT photos of the chicks Paula. I for one know how hard they are to get, lol. ~ karen!

  7. Michele says:

    Thank you for the introductions to your newest chickens. They are beautiful. I, too, think that the fluffy butts are gorgeous!

  8. Korrine Johnson says:

    They are absolute stunners.

  9. Cussot says:

    I just love how their feet look like tarnished silverware.

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