Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chicken of the week: The Ladies

The Ladies were already two years old when we got them from a local farmer. This gave them two years' more "chicken experience" than us or the young pullets we got at the same time. People and pullets alike watched The Ladies carefully. But The Ladies disdained all this attention: they formed an instant clique with each other and established themselves solidly at the top of the pecking order. They are quick to peck other hens who might get in their way at the food trough. They even used to peck the Red Rooster, who was a jerk and deserved it.

Like all of our “named” chickens, The Ladies have more of a description than a name. I made a rule early on that we would not name any chickens, since at some point a few would probably get eaten by predators, or uncomfortable culling-type decisions would need to be made, etc. And yet we still notice their personalities and need to refer to them...and so these label-names like “The Ladies” evolved.

Here is one of The Ladies, and the other one looks just the same. They were sold as Ameraucanas, a breed that lays pastel green or blue eggs, but are no such thing. I guess they are some kind of barnyard mix. The Ladies are "ladies of a certain age"--they are our oldest hens--and they are a great favorite with our current rooster. He is an alert and chivalrous fellow, unlike the Red Rooster. They do not peck him.

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