Chicken Breeds. My Ameraucana Sweetie.

Integrating backyard chickens can be a bit unsettling for all involved. But I had to come home with this Sweetie, a beautiful black Ameraucana when I saw her.  Look at that face. Here’s how the first week went.


Name – Sweetie

DOB – February 29th, 2016

Breed – Ameraucana



A few weeks ago when I went to pick up some fertilized eggs from chicken breeder Barb Dodington I picked up something else.  Sweetie.

And Sweetie’s been trying to kill herself ever since.  More on that in a moment.




The day I went to pick up my fertilized Olive Egger eggs I had  no idea what I was walking into.  It was barn after barn of chickens.  Some of them were romping through the yard, some of them in coops, some of them in cages … all of it carefully planned out according to breeding, hatching and playing.

I suspect there was also some sort of magic going on because I had my mind pretty much made up as I drove there.  I wasn’t coming  home with a chicken. Was NOT.  Only eggs.

I came home with a chicken.

And 3 more eggs than I meant to.

As an actual farmer I’d be a total failure.  I’d keep every chick, goat, horse, cow, worm, snail, or spider born.  I would keep no centipedes.  All centipedes would die from the globally accepted form of centipede murder … a shoe to the head.  Funeral proceedings would follow, which consist of picking up the now deceased, yet still writhing centipede, with half a roll of toilet paper with your arm stretched out as far as possible in front of you while making gagging sounds and hyperventilating just a little bit as you flush it’s still jerking legs down the toilet.


The Lineage and Genes

Black Split for lavender – this means even though Sweetie is black, she has the gene for lavender in her and if I were to breed her with a lavender rooster there would be a 50/50 chance she’d produce lavender chicks.  If I bred her with a black rooster with the lavender gene, there’d be a 25% chance she’d produce lavender chicks.

She has a pure black grandfather that came from Tom Kernan in New Jersey, who breeds championship Ameraucanas.

Her grandfather  was Champion AOSB at the Clinton Fair in 2016.

Her lavender roots come from Clif Redden in Kansas, current Ameraucana Breeders Club president



So Sweetie’s lineage is far more refined than my own. I come from the hardy stock of swingers and boozers.



I would have come  home with a Silkie as well but luckily Barb saw me sneaking out with one on my head like a hat and told me I couldn’t have it.  Apparently they weren’t old enough, or sexed yet or for sale, or blah, blah, blah. Whatever.

So all I made it out with, was Sweetie.

And 8 fertilized eggs of course.

The eggs didn’t need to be integrated much.  Really, I just stuck them under one of my broody hens and waited for them to hatch. Which they did and became what’s commonly  known as the cutest thing in the world … baby chicks.

You can learn how to get fertilized eggs and hatch them under a broody hen here.

Sweetie however, needed to be integrated with the other chickens. 



Sweetie will also be known as chicken 416 as per her ankle bracelet because she’s official.  And possibly under house arrest.



The second I got her home I knew Sweetie was the cutest thing in the world.  And like most cute things on this earth, she is made up of 25% cute, 74% rabid, freakish, devil-monster and 1% clown.



Within the first week Sweetie had jumped up and down on top of Josephine as she sat on her eggs, jumped up and down on Mabel as she sat on her *imaginary* eggs (Mabel is broody too), She also got stuck in the 3″ wide space between the coop hardware cloth and my fence, flattened like a pancake.  If you’re familiar with cooking terms she looked like a spatchcock.

In my moment of panic I tried to heave and move the chicken coop.  The entire thing.  Like I thought I was a tractor.     So, no, that didn’t work.

Instead I had to run around looking for a pair of wire cutters to literally cut her out of the spot, stick my hand under her and let her drop into it.


Now I have to repair that entire side of my coop so raccoons and skunks don’t get in to finish the job of killing herself that Sweetie started.



Look at her.  Just look at her.  That is the look of chicken remorse with a touch of … but look how cute I am … sucker.



So yes.  I just went out for some eggs and came home with all this.  Story of my life.  Once I went out for a snow shovel and came home with a car.  True story.

And you know what?  She’s Cuddly.

Post Update:  Sweetie has since died. Here’s how, what from, and how to spot it in one of your own chickens.

I determined what killed her by doing a necropsy, which is just another term for an autopsy. Yes it was awful to do, but if you want to know what killed your chicken and to help make sure it wasn’t something contagious, a necropsy can be a smart thing to do.

Here’s my post on performing a chicken necropsy.


  1. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    She is very pretty…But…I thought I was your sweetie… :-(

  2. Jody says:

    How have you kept this a secret for so long??? Do the other chickens get worried when you head off in the car wondering what /who you’ll you be bringing home? I think Sweetie could also be AKA Martha Stewart with the ankle bracelet.

  3. Sandy says:

    Oh we can beat that…our family went out one day and bought a new car…and…our first boat, a 28 footer. That was a day we all remember. Didn’t really plan on purchasing both…but enjoyed them both over the years.

  4. Jackie says:

    OMG!!!! She’s just beautiful. Can’t wait to hear all her stories.

  5. Sandy Zelinsky says:

    Went to replace dead car battery, traded in 2 vehicles, one in parked in Canada until mid-August, the other in the service bay & drove away in new 2016 CRV. Just gotta say “God Bless America”…and what a beautiful chicken Sweetie is!!

  6. Mary W says:

    She is the first chicken I’ve seen that doesn’t appear to frown and give you the stink eye. Is it because her nose/beak seems to stretch further up on her head thereby removing the offending eyebrows? Sweetie’s story is telling us what a perfect fit she is for your home. Can you give fake eggs to the other broody so she won’t feel so weird? From this story, it seems you may be letting a few roosters develop. From my experience (limited) the little roosters have a pecking order and the top cock develops and the others lay low. Then if the top cock gets gone, the next in line develops and so on, until there is only one left. A remarkable system but it happened to me, I mean my chickens. So you should be able to get one that will then produce purple. I would name it Prince of course.

  7. Ev Wilcox says:

    Congrats on obtaining a diva chicken! Two years ago I went out looking for a used Wrangler and ended up buying a new Wrangler Willis for $$$!, totally not meaning to. A diva chicken would have been a lot cheaper! She is very pretty-many happy hugs to you both!

  8. Mike says:

    While we in the United States are observing Independence Day, you, Karen, will be observing Sweetie to make sure she doesn’t jump up and down on the heads of Josephine and Mabel. If she does, it will be In-da-pen-dance Day in Canada. (Okay, so technically it’s a coop, but that’s crappy fodder for the joke.)

    Good luck!

  9. marilyn says:

    crazy cat ladies pale in comparison my friend..

  10. Julie says:

    No one can replace Cuddles, but I sure am glad you found Sweetie to help fill the hole in your heart and the space on your empty lap. Welcome, Sweetie!

  11. Robyn says:

    She is beautiful! I am so glad I can live vicariously through you with the chickens!

  12. monique says:

    You’ll have blue eggs?:)

    • Karen says:

      I will. I already have Cheez Whiz who lays a blueish/greenish egg, but these ones *should* be just plain blue. ~ karen!

  13. Teddee Grace says:

    She doesn’t look cuddly to me, or sweet, just p.o.’d. Do chickens get homesick? Maybe she needs a companion from her original home. Perhaps the Silkie would do.

  14. jainegayer says:

    You and Sweetie sound like a good match.

    PS- Maybe sometime you can fill us in on the snow shovel/car story. I’m sure it’s hilarious.

  15. Rose says:

    I like this girI. She’s beautiful and spirited……just like you. Happy 4TH from your Midwestern fan!

  16. Diane R. says:

    Sweetie is so pretty! Seems to me Ms.Karen, you will have to add a room onto your coop. How many can live in the coop now?
    Looking forward to seeing more pics of the new baby chics.

  17. Alexandra says:

    Your blog always makes my day. Thank you and smoochies to you and Sweetie.

  18. Maureen Locke says:

    She’s beautiful Karen… very regal looking. How is she making out with the others in the coop other than poor Josephine and Mabel. Do you suppose she jumped on them because they were stationary or because she was jealous ?? Interesting. Enjoy your new beauty and I’m so glad she’s a cuddler. :)

  19. Nancy W says:

    Centipedes, and slugs and snails, well here they get death by pecking.

  20. Catherine says:

    That is a very pretty chicken – so glad you have a cuddler!

  21. Alita says:

    You Sweetie is indeed a sweetie! Animals, who would be without them?

    We had a tup (male sheep) many years ago. He appeared, as a lamb, out of nowhere in our field full of goats. We found him helping himself to milk from one of the nanny goats. None of the local farmers would own up to him which was probably a sign…

    He was incredibly stupid, even for a sheep. On one occasion, as an adult, he decided to investigate the two bird chicken ark, the sleeping quarters of which had just enough room for two chickens to roost. He managed to get himself into it, sort of folded himself up in the middle but, of course, could not get out again. Stupid sheep. We had to dismantle the coop to remove him.

  22. Stephanie Barnhart says:

    She’s beautiful! Why on earth would you keep her a secret?? I was going to say that she looks very intelligent, but then you shared about how she got herself stuck, so….. maybe not. Of course, she was smart enough to figure out how to get back there in the first place, so who knows?

  23. Jennie Lee says:

    Sweetie DOES look like an eagle. If you weren’t Canadian, I’d say you got her for a 4th of July decoration. I love the metallic blue feathers. And I like the lack of headgear. I never liked those frills anyway. And you already told us that other chickens attack that part. Sweetie won’t have that problem!

  24. Lois says:

    P.S. Your bird is gorgeous. Very photogenic.

  25. Lois says:

    “like most cute things on this earth, she is made up of 25% cute, 74% rabid, freakish, devil-monster and 1% clown.”

    Completely describes the kitten my daughter begged me to adopt after she (Kitten) was abandoned in her (daughter’s) care at college (it was supposed to be “just for the weekend”). Two years later, Kitten is demonstrating the same percentages.

    Kitten is a tortoiseshell, and now I believe all those stereotypes about calico/tortoiseshell cats. She NEVER runs out of energy and rascal-iness.

  26. Melissa says:

    I saw this email come in. Wasn’t gonna read it. I wanted to save it til morning, so I could have a hearty laugh to start my day. But, noooo, had to read it right away. Now, I’m laughing out loud, woke the dog and the husband (not necessarily in that order), and one of them isn’t happy. Damn dog.

  27. Laura Bee says:

    Oh my! Beautiful & psychotic. What a combo. She’s fantastic.
    We had a cat who, on his first time outside ran 10 feet down the side of the house & made a quick left into the lattice under the porch & got his head stuck.
    He sure was a pretty boy though.

  28. MrsChris SA says:

    Karen the chicken whisperer!!
    She is very cute but has a very cheeky glint in her little beady eyes!!

  29. Tijen says:

    I so enjoyed this story and yes, Sweetie is absolutely stunning. She’s also quite photogenic.

  30. Pam'a says:

    On top of everything else, in the second photo (the first one where she’s standing up), she looks like she has her feet on backwards. Probably a born centipede stomper! Have fun with her.

  31. Terry Montague says:

    The best chicken we ever had belongs to our neighbors. She, the chicken, comes up to our fence every morning and makes a purring noise, or maybe she’s clearing her throat. How can you ignore talent like that? Our little girls call her “the cluck-cluck”. So, now we have a bag of chicken food next to the fence.

  32. Kristy says:

    She’s beautiful. I have one like her. Won’t eat the mealworms off the ground, only out of my hand, but only if I am not looking at her. The others ignore her because she’s more beautiful than they are.

    P.S. I have to share – my duck – Howard the Duck – laid eggs today! My first eggs! Howard turned out to be a girl… I only just came to this conclusion 5 days ago and BOOM! Eggs!

  33. Kathy Hartzell says:

    Capi went out for ice cream and came home with a new car… that funnier than us going out for garden lights and coming home with a new car? I think a chicken and a few extra fertilized eggs would have been more practical.

  34. Paula says:

    Aww, congratulations she is lovely! My chicken, Poppy’s wing injury was caused in much the same way as Sweetie’s antics.

    Please share how you successfully integrated her with your other chickens?

  35. Capi says:

    If we went out for ice cream cones once and came home with a new car, does that beat a snow shovel?

  36. janni says:

    Ha! It sounds like you got the equivalent of what Arabians are in the horse world! After owning several horses growing up, I still yearned for an Arab. I always thought (and still do) they are the most beautiful breed. My sister always said “Go to any barn, stable, ask what what horse is the biggest pain in the ass, it will be an Arab!” Well, I bought one anyway. I broke her myself. She lived in my 3 acre front yard for 23 years. Hard to handle, accident prone but beauty in motion. I miss her everyday! I have no doubt you will enjoy your little problematic rebel. She’s just be a blessing in disguise!

    • Karen says:

      Arabians ARE beautiful and yup, nuts, lol. HIGH strung but such pretty gaits. Sweetie is far more clumsy than that, lol. ~ karen!

  37. Kathleen says:

    This – “I come from the hearty stock of swingers and boozers.” almost made me snort coffee through my nose!
    She is a beauty, your Cutie.

    I’m afraid our dogs would eat the chickens, but your posts are bring back very fond childhood memories of when my parents kept chickens and ducks. Thank you for that.

    What a lovely way to start my week.

  38. Kat says:

    She is by far the strangest looking chicken I have ever seen! But I haven’t really seen all that many. Why doesn’t she have a comb or flappy things on her head? If she is young will she grow some? She just looks bald or something I can’t explain because I do not know a damn thing about chickens unless you have wrote about it.

    • Karen says:

      Ameraucanas don’t generally have combs or wattles. Actually they can have a small comb, very small and that might happen with her. But generally no wattles. They usually have “muffs and beards”. Those are the fluffy feathers around her face. And trust me, she is FAR from the strangest looking chicken out there, lol. I know, because I plan on getting them all. ;) ~ karen!

  39. Shirley says:

    she hasn’t got the usual accutrements that chickens come with! Things like combs and wattles! I have to say she did make me blink trying to figure that one out! I can’t decide if the lack is a good thing or not.
    P.S. Your fluff balls (aka baby chicks) are the sweetest things ever!
    P.P.S. There is usually nothing left to dispose of when I find a centipede as I spend significant time tap dancing on them!

  40. j says:

    I’m happy for you that you’re happy-my kids have fur-so I don’t quite get the feathers on kids thing,,,
    So what does a LAVENDER CHICKEN look like?? And when do we get to see the snuggle ability of this particular chicken?

  41. Tigersmom says:

    So glad you have a cuddly girl.

  42. Edith says:

    Oh, she’s beautiful. Aristocratic. Refined. Hi maintenance!

  43. Judy DeLacy says:

    Oh Sweetie is adorable, that’s for sure. But she’s got that mischievous look about her. I’m looking forward to reading many stories about her zany behavior.

    BTW, I received a notice over a week ago that the chicken swing has shipped. Maybe Sweetie will become an acrobatic chick. :-)


  44. Jan says:

    She isssss pretty, but, unfortunately for you, she knows it.
    She will be a PIA!

  45. Anne says:

    Really, a shoe to the head!? Sweetie would be more than happy to have a juicy centipede for breakfast/dinner. My 18 mo. old daughter would walk around the yard with the chicken(s) and chicks following her as she lifted every rock, log or what have you, so the chickens could have a feast of ‘bugs’.

    • Dale says:

      While my daughter raised two hens in our back yard, earwigs were nearly extinct from the lightening fast peck-peck. They would grab up every earwig in sight. Now, with no chickens, I have earwigs invading my milkweed buds.
      Have fun with Sweetie!!

      PS We had our first Monarch floating around our milkweed plantation.

  46. Peggy G says:

    My niece had a cat named Sweetie who was kind of crazy too. Crazy in that she would run up and attack people who came over to feed her when her people were out of town. People being me wearing shorts and her with claws out and my bare legs in sight. I had to carry a rolled up newspaper with me everytime I went in her house. And I’m the aunt that likes cats. Sweetie the cat didn’t have grand genes though. You can’t blame craziness just on fancy genes.

  47. Kirsten says:

    Omg, my insomnia has made me first??? Sweetie is definitely a beauty, and as with all beautiful women expect some difficulties.

  48. robert says:

    She looks more like a falcon or an eagle than a chicken. Obviously now you make me want to have one so I might need to stop reading your post about chickens or I might indeed end with dead chickens because of my inability to actually care about them after a while

  49. Michelle says:

    Just awesome. You made me snot. Because you are spot on in your description of all cuties on earth. Mine are adorable but spend most of their time trying to self destruct or kill each other. It takes all my energy to keep them upright and breathing. Your chickens are glossy and gorgeous! Your good care is apparent.

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