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.
Want more STUFF like this?
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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