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.




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.






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




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.



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.




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.




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




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.





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.



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 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.




She’s a beaut this one.




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.




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




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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  1. Kim C. says:

    Beautiful gals! Brings to mind that ZZ Top song…She’s Got Legs. :-)

  2. Debbie D says:

    Both girls are gorgeous! Can’t wait for more chicken updates!

  3. Jaime says:

    Well…I guess that answers my question about whether you regret getting chickens. Enjoy!

  4. Maura says:


  5. Jenny W says:

    Hi Karen, I’m in Looove with Fuzzy Chicken Butt Now :) I have a couple of questions for you – I live in the Maritime Provinces, and we have Really Rotten Winters. What do your girls do in the cold, snowy, “Polar Vortex” months? Do they roost all day? How cold is too cold to go outdoors, and what kind of heater do you use in the coop? Silly questions, but a girl with Chicken Dreams needs to know!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny! There are two things that are really bad for chickens. Dampness and heat. The cold they can deal with. In fact they prefer the cold to heat. They actually like to leave the coop and romp in the snow in the winter. Last year was the first year I decided I had better get a small heater for their roosting area so they wouldn’t get frostbite. It was the most brutal winter in memory. So I got a small ceramic, wall mounted heater for their roost that comes on automatically. I don’t have it set to very warm, in fact I only have it set to keep the coop above freezing. The other important thing is to make sure, no matter how cold it is outside, to have ventilation in their sleeping area. Like I said, humid/damp air is what will kill them. I have narrow windows across the front and sides of their roost. Their respiratory systems can’t take it humidity and they’ll get sick if they don’t have ventilation. Dream away chicken girl. ~ karen!

  6. Grammy says:

    Mabel is beautiful, as are her eggs. So happy that you got a replacement for the three roosters.

    Josephine is exquisite. I have no doubt that Josephine Baker would be very pleased at such a gorgeous creature being named for her. Really, every inch of that hen reminds me of the beauty, strength and grace that human black beauty was.

    I never realized how adorable chickens asses are. Now I do. Thanks.

  7. Catherine says:

    Beautiful chickens. I’m getting chicken envy too. When I move house I will have room for chickens……. Especially pretty ones.

  8. Penley says:

    I think they’re both equally as beautiful! I’ve got chook-envy. We’re not in a position to really get any chickens just yet, we’ll be demolishing and building a new house soon-ish so it’s not really feasible just now – which TEARS ME UP – so I have to live vicariously by your wonderful chickens. Sigh…

  9. Jay says:

    Lovely looking chickens, Karen!

    My eldest hen, Rita, will be 7 this winter. Although she’s slipped down the pecking order from queen bee to a mid-level dowager duchess and is in her post-menopausal years she’s still a much loved pet.
    I hope Chuckles and co have a similarly long life

    • Pati Gulat says:

      Her name is Cuddles… ;) And she is probably the only chicken in existence that, at one time, had the whole world praying for her health… :)

  10. dana says:

    They are both beautiful! I love the speckled eggs Mabel lays. Lies? Whatever. That gray color is really pretty. I learned a couple of things from this post. One is that chicken butts are spotless and fluffy. The second is that I enjoy looking at chicken butts. We all have our things. :0

  11. Denise Leavens says:

    I AM enjoying the beauty of Mable! Wow. She is beautiful. As are her eggs. Scrumptious color, speckles and shape. (Don’t ya love the way hen eggs just nestle in the palm of your hand?) Mable’s propensity to snuggle into you when scared is just adorable. I have a 17 pound black cat that does the same!

    And my, oh my! Josephine is absolutely regal looking. Thank you so much for the lovely pictures, my dear.

  12. Hazel says:

    Mabel is the best chicken name ever. My first two hens were Maude and Mabel. Maude was feisty (aka Marauding Maude) but Mabel was like the hen in Chicken Run that just keeps knitting.
    I like the name so much that one of my dogs is now called Mabel. I’m not allowed to use Josephine as it’s the name of one of my daughter’s friends.

  13. Christy says:

    Mabel is perfect and sounds precious. Josephine, she’s gorgeous and pretty sure she knows it. Can you tell I have a soft spot for the under dog, the runt of the litter, etc? Glad they are all blending together. The mix of eggs is very pretty.

  14. Tracie says:

    I almost did not read this post, as I don’t have chickens. I have to say though, that Josephine is a looker! My Granny’s name was Olga Josephine, and oddly enough, I’ve always loved it. She also, was a looker! The colours on that chicken, wow! As for Mabel, she is pretty too, just not spectacular like my Granny. I mean, like your chicken. Wow, that was awkward.

  15. amanda says:

    you and Mabel just made me want a chicken. I (we) (my parents) had them when I was growing up, but now my husband and I live in a tiny beach house, and it’s probably not practical at all, but I wannnt one.

  16. Anne says:

    When I was about 5, we had chickens, just plain white ones. I have two memories of the chickens. I would catch a hen and feel her butt feathers, she would go to sleep and I would carry her around for a big part of the day. You are right, those feathers are so very soft. I still like to feel fur; dog, cat or rabbit. I had to quit with the chickens as my father sold them – said he knew there was money in chickens ’cause he put it there in feed. My other memory: I went bare foot all summer and chicken poop does squish between the toes. Thanks for the memories, both soft and squishy!

  17. Kat says:

    I am awestruck… that is the only thing I can come up with to describe those 2 beauties!

  18. Lisa Thomas says:

    So very beautiful! I’m jealous. I need some. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Janet says:

    Mabel and Josephine are beautiful and so are their eggs ! I have to say, I’ve never really wanted chickens until I started reading about yours. Unfortunately, because of this house having allergy sufferers, and the stuffy up- tight neighbors….I’ll just have to continue checking yours out. Thanks for sharing. They really are beautiful.

  20. Dana says:

    Anyone else notice that the hens are posing on a chopping block?
    They’re gorgeous.

  21. I wanted to be the first to congratulate you on your latest article, Mabel. I am sure hanging out with Leigh has nothing to do with more chickens either. She is adorable. Copper is a great color and would be a great name for another chicken too.

  22. Becky says:

    How many picture did it take to get the right shot of the behinds??? My chickens will NOT hold still long enough to get good pics….. I have about 9000 pictures of blurry chickens.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Becky! I never have a problem with the bum shots. If you’re getting blurry photos, try taking the pictures in the lightest area of the yard possible. Full sun. Full sun doesn’t produce the nicest shots, but they’ll be the sharpest. The darker the surroundings, the blurrier the photo because the camera has to keep it’s little hole open longer to expose the subject properly. When it’s brighter out the hole opens and closes faster creating less opportunity for blur from movement in the subject. ~ karen!

  23. Terri says:

    Just beautiful! I thought Mabel was so pretty, then you show Josephine! I think that Mabel’s silvery feathers are so pretty, outlined in a darker grey… Josephine’s feathers are so pretty too, the dark teal is amazing! And the copper on their necks… I never thought chickens could be so pretty! And the eggs, awesome…. I bet they taste amazing!

  24. Marsha Jean says:

    You have yourself a couple of real pretty gals! And, pretty eggs to boot…

  25. Kimberley says:

    Both Marans are just stunning. Congrats on the new addition! I’m glad Mabel was accepted. We’re still dealing with bully hens and it’s been months. I’m guessing at this point, there will never really be peace. Ah well. Enjoy the new egg bounty!

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