|The last photo of our happy flock, taken just hours before they died|
Back in October, a terrible thing happened at our house. While we were away for just a couple of hours, a stray dog got into our yard, tore down the chicken yard fence, and killed all but one of our beautiful flock of chickens. The lone survivor, Gina, never really recovered from the massacre and died yesterday.
Although I was overwhelmed, Bill just went to work to rebuild and reinforce the chicken yard fence. He permanently locked up the big perimeter gates for a second line of defense and set about gathering a new flock. He found some young hens, just coming into their first season of laying; then he found ten Rhode Island Red chicks from a farmer down the road; and someone at the feed store handed him a free box of straight-run (unsexed) mixed-breed farm-hatched baby chicks. The feed store guy said that we could bring back any that turned out to be roosters and he would find them a home.
Within days, we had an even larger flock of chickens than we had started with. The big hens were able to go straight into the coop and chicken yard where they happily settled in, but the two batches of young chicks were housed inside in the newly-refurbished guest room (sigh) under heat lamps until they were old enough to live outdoors in the cooling fall weather.
In addition to those mystery breed chicks from the free box, we have a Sex Link
, the Rhode Island Reds
, and some Turkens
--also known as Transylvanian Naked Necks. I've never been interested in having such peculiar-looking birds until I met ours. They are friendly, chatty, calm, and sweet. We just love them and they are happy living here. One even laid an egg in the car on her way home to us!
|The turkens (l to r: Barbidoux, Gloria, and Ruby) with the Sex-Link, Sadie,|
in the middle and an unidentified Rhode Island Red on the left
|Meet Gloria, who always greets us with happy conversation. |
After you get used to the naked neck, it seems quite elegant--almost as though she is
wearing a fancy off-the-shoulder ball gown
|The teenaged Rhode Island Red chicks roosting in the Big House|