We said we wouldn’t get attached. We said we wouldn’t name our birds. We’d read in all the books before we brought home those fuzzy babies that if you ever plan to eat your chickens, you can’t name them. We bought dual purpose chickens so that we could use them as meat birds or layers. It took 7 months of feeding and care for us to start getting eggs out of them, so we figured, why not just let them be layers? We’ve spent all this money feeding them, we may as well let them feed us for awhile. I hadn’t planned to name any of them. It started so innocently. It’s all Little Carl’s fault.
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We had one little chick who stood out from the rest. She was the runt, and she was LOUD. She screamed about everything. If she didn’t have food, if she just got food, if she was sleepy, if someone else was in her spot, if you held her, if you didn’t hold her. She’s always been a stinker. We originally named all of our birds ‘Carl.’ I don’t know why, at the time it sounded good. Our little runt was dubbed ‘Little Carl’ and she has turned out to be the head hen, leader of the pack. Everyone follows her command and the scrappy little thing fights regularly with our rooster. Our Little Carl is living proof that a loud mouth will get you places!
Our little Bantam Silkie has always been one of my favorite birds. A bantam breed is like a miniature version of the regular breed. Mokey is about 1/3 the size of our other birds, and she lays teeny tiny little eggs. She’s sweet and quiet and gentle. When she was a baby she was about the size of my thumb. She got trampled easily and was so tiny she would get lost in the nesting material in the brooder box. She’s still on the bottom rung of the chicken hierarchy, but seems to like it that way. She uses cleverness to overcome adversity. Just last week I dumped a bunch of scraps in the run for the chooks to eat and whenever Mokey would try to eat the other hens would push her out of the way. Instead of trying to squeeze in with them, she grabbed the biggest piece of bread that her tiny beak could carry and hid under the ramp to eat it all herself. None of the others were phased by it and continued fighting over what was left. I named her Mokey because her hairstyle and personality reminded me so much of Mokey from Fraggle Rock, one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. Well, okay, it’s still one of my favorite TV shows.
Divan or ‘Dee Dee’
Dee is one of our Dominiques. She has beautiful black and white barred feathers and a funny looking comb. She’s chock full of personality. Most of the photos I get of her are from above as she’s always stuck to me like glue. My buddy, where ever I go, she goes too. Dee Dee talks to me constantly and is always underfoot. If I’m gardening, she’s right by my side, ‘helping’ me by picking at the plants and eating bugs. If I’m raking leaves or shoveling compost, she just has to be right in the way, making sure I’m doing it right. Dee Dee is also known as the escape artist in the flock. Twice now I’ve gone outside to count chickens and found one to be missing. A quick scan around the yard has found her on the other side of the fence, squawking frantically for me to get her. I have a soft spot in my heart for this goofy little lady.
We thought it would be funny to name the birds after famous chicken dishes, hence ‘Divan’ and here’s Frenchie, one of our Buff Orpingtons. She’s well loved by the whole flock but couldn’t give a damn about humans. She loves to get everyone all worked up while free ranging by running around frantically and then taking off flying into the yard while squawking loudly. The other 11 birds follow suit even though they don’t know what the excitement’s all about. She may look innocent enough, but she’s my little rabble-rouser.
Almost identical to her sister Dee, Daisy has much smaller comb and wattles, and isn’t quite as attached to me. She’s still one of the most friendly birds we have, but she’d much rather be out exploring the compost bin or chasing bugs than hanging out.
Sunny is our second Buff Orpington. I can’t tell them apart by looking at them, but can identify them by personality. She always makes an effort to come say hi when I hang out with the birds. She climbs the steps and stands next to me, watching me watch the flock. She’s fascinated by shiny things, especially my engagement ring, which she pecks at while she sits on my lap. In this photo she was admiring the zipper on my jacket.
Big Carl and Little Carl are both Buff Chanticleers. She was one of our favorites when she was a baby. Every time we would visit the brooder box and put our hand in, she would jump up and cheep loudly at us while perching on our arm. We dubbed her ‘Big Carl’ because she was our fastest grower. Even though she came from the same hatching as Little Carl and was the same breed, she grew twice as fast. We were convinced for a long time that she was a rooster and were pleasantly surprised to see her laying eggs! She’s no longer attached to us in anyway, in fact she’s always the hardest to catch when I’ve decided free range time is over.
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum
We can’t tell them apart so they don’t get individual names. These guys are inseparable. They came from the same batch and they seem to know it too. They are Leghorns. Just like Sir Foghorn Leghorn, except without the accent. They follow each other everywhere and can’t be bothered to befriend any of the other birds. They are very shy, panicky birds, and they move like lightening. Seriously, practically every photo I have of these two is just a giant blur because they don’t ever sit still. They may not be friendly, but they’re great at their job. These ladies lay at least one egg every single day, sometimes two! The Leghorn is known as the most prolific layer in chickendom. In fact, in 1979 a Leghorn set the world record for most eggs laid in a year by laying 371 eggs in 364 days!
Completing the series of chicken dinner names, here’s chicken Taco. She’s our third Chantecleer. My little trouble maker. Unlike the other chickens, she’s very independent, and loves to explore the yard on her own. I often find her in very strange places, and when I try to catch her or herd her back to the run, she bolts. I’m sure my neighbors have a good laugh watching me try to catch this rascal!
Frankie’s name used to be Francesca. Frankie is our second foster bird, who came to us as a youngling. We thought ‘she’ would get along great with our flock, and the extra eggs would be nice. How wrong we were. It didn’t take long before a huge comb and wattle formed, and the once tiny bird was out weighing everyone else. We were in denial for a long time. We hadn’t heard any crowing and thought, ‘oh maybe she’s just big boned.’ Big boned, yes, but not in that sense. When Frankie started mounting his own mother and the rest of the flock we knew we had a roo on our hands. The name was changed and a date was set for chicken dinner. The date was cancelled for chicken dinner when I came down with a sinus infection and bronchitis, and Frankie remains to this day. Since he’s still not crowing (knock on wood), we’re planning to use him to sire some little chickies in the spring.
I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting our flock!
Happy trails to you…