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. kardan says:

    They are both gorgeous Karen. Mabel looks so soft and sweet. Josephine not so much, but she is beautiful.

  2. Danny says:

    It’s hard not to notice that I am one of the few dudes among your readership. Not sure why, I’ll leave that to a focus group. I know chickens are cuddly, and make great pets etc…..but I’m wondering, do you eat your chickens?

    • Karen says:

      There are a few dudes around here. According to my stats there are more than anyone thinks. They just don’t comment. They probably feel outnumbered so good for you for pushing your way in. I do not eat my chickens. Mainly because they are pets. They have names and personalities and I know them. I do on the other hand eat chickens whose names I do not know. And I just try very hard not to think about it. ~ karen!

  3. Marion says:

    Wow they are beautiful! Mabel sounds like a definite charmer, and I’m expecting a video of Josephine shakin’ her stuff!!!

  4. izzy says:

    I love your chicken updates! Please keep them up!

  5. peg says:

    love all the photos,but the butt pics are soooooooooooooooo cute :D

  6. Mindy says:

    I love Mabel. I don’t know what it is, but I love her.

  7. Gretchen Sexton says:

    I really can’t add anything new to the comments–but I just have to let you know that this fan of yours is simply blown away by the beauty of these birds and the spectacularness of your photos!

  8. Mike says:

    I came here to read about chickens, not centipedes in milk. Holy crud, please tell me that’s not something that has ever happened.

  9. Barbie says:

    Beautiful Chickens, Beautiful Eggs, Beautiful Asses! You had me at “I got another One”

    I smiled and giggled all through this one! So happy for you!

  10. Bernadette says:

    I must say, Mabel is a beauty. Even if her copper ruff is unsatisfactory. I hope she lays the shit out of her speckled eggs and shows that breeder what she’s missing. How is our Cuddles doing? I haven’t heard anything to indicate her health isn’t up to par. I’m glad she clucked through.

  11. Shauna says:

    They’re stunningly beautiful. LOVE! All three of my chickens are on strike. The two older ones (and by older I only mean 2 years old or so) are moulting, the third is much younger and should be laying quite well, but she lost her sister awhile back. I honestly don’t think that’s it anymore. I mean, c’mon, chickens aren’t that smart, they can’t remember months back that something bad happened. I think she’s just on strike because the others are too. I’m thinking about putting a plastic egg in the nesting box, just to remind them what they’re here for. I know the days are shorter and all that, but it’s not like it’s cold here, or even overcast. It’s sunny San Diego for heaven’s sake. They can lay an egg once a week at least! I haven’t had an egg in over a MONTH! We may have to, gasp, buy eggs!!!

    • Karen says:

      I have a light come on from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m., but it gets dark here at 5. 12 hours isn’t quite enough sunlight for them to lay so I’m thinking of extending it an hour or so into the night too. Just not so long that when the light goes out they’re stumbling around in the dark not being able to find their roost, lol. ~ karen!

  12. Ruth Vallejos says:

    Lovely girls both!

    I understand your compulsion about the butt fluff – I have the same problem with baby toes (SQUEEEEEEEE!). We both must endeavor to act within social norms. (Hah!, Like that’s gonna happen!)

  13. LazySusan says:

    Both Josephine and Mabel are absolutely gorgeous! Josephine, with her almost iridescent feathers, looks so regal, but so does Mabel with her storm-tossed coloring, and she DOES look sooooooo soft, you can almost feel it just looking at the photo! And the eggs she lays! Those are some pretty amazing eggs. They look HUGE, but part of that is probably you’re little hand size. Do you let them roam your property freely in nice weather? I can’t remember if you’ve ever said whether or not you do, but I do think the fence encloses the back yard, otherwise why have to heft that cabinet over it!

  14. Small Town Girl says:

    Your girls are so beautiful!! Seriously, how did you get them to pose?? They look like supermodels! I can’t wait to have chickens of my own!

  15. Angie S says:

    They are absolutely gorgeous, and I’m in complete agreement, both of your ladies have amazing butts!!!

  16. Meg says:

    Yeah part of my escape plan from the terrible grind and collapse of the VFX industry is definitely home in the country — with chickens. (Among other critters. Like a pony?) I’m curious – besides just hanging out with them for companionship, how much time do you actually spend on chicken “maintenance” generally?

  17. Elen Grey says:

    Josephine after Josephine Baker. Love that.

  18. Pat Kichinko says:

    I am a Crazy Cat Lady, born and bred. I’m down to just nine cats now, but I’m still a card-carrying C.C.L. However, after seeing these beautiful chickens, I have made a place in my heart for them. Notice: I said heart, not stomach. While I do like my chicken dinners, these beautiful ladies need only grace the earth with their presence.

    In other words, I love Mabel and Josephine.

  19. Mary Werner says:

    Those Eggs! Are they coppery dark brown with PURPLE spots or is it just my screen? The iridescent feather colors are mesmerizing! I miss my chickens so much. The soft cooing noises they make when searching for bugs and seeds are so beautiful to listen to. Makes up for the show off bragging squawk when they lay an egg.

  20. Stacy says:

    Left field question… Speaking of molting… Do you ever save some feathers? Would you ever mail them to readers/sponsors?

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