Saturday, June 16, 2012

What's in a Name?

Oh, what a week it's been!  Dozens of runs back and forth into the coop, all hours of the day and night.  Stressing over one case of pasty butt and one chick bullied into despondency.  It goes without saying, it's a major relief to say that all the chicks are alive and well!

I am also very pleased to announce our chicks have been breed identified, thanks to the help of Lisa Steele of  Fresh Eggs Daily (gratuitous blog/facebook/pinterest shout out!!!) and the knowledgeable Catherine Alderman.  Knowing who is who left the door wide open for the fun part: naming!

The last entry, I introduced you to Kevin; the White Crested Black Polish chick named after the girl-bird-first-believed-to-be-a-boy in the Disney/Pixar movie Up.  Kevin still remains very distinguishable, both in looks and personality.  She is a sweet, calm, timid girl.


Being that Kevin had a name associated with one of my daughter's (and admittedly, mine as well) favorite movies, we decided to make that a theme with naming the rest.  Hence, we ended up with a near dozen birds named from favorite Disney/Pixar movies.  Ready to officially meet the rest of the gang?

 White Leg Band

The tiny black colored chick with the white leg band has been identified as our Australorp.  She has proven herself to be quite spunky and, despite her size, a force to be reckoned with.  She makes sure others don't push her around and her little chirp has become distinguishable to me, almost reprimanding the rest of the group.  What better Disney name to give this soon to be very large sized black hen who has a controlling nature?  Meet Ursula, named after the sea witch in the Little Mermaid.

Yellow Leg Band

I suspected that this was our Barred Rock and the experts agreed!  From the first minute out of the box and into the brooder, she has shown herself to be a very cheerful and sweet natured girl.  One of the leaders, she is always right there in the thick of things, seeming to supervise and oversee the on goings of her sisters.  The name she earned needed to fit her kind spirit and her classic leader status.  Meet Minnie, after the iconic Minnie Mouse.

Black Leg Band

The colors on our little black leg bander were very striking, but offered me zero clues as to her breed.  Thankfully they made perfect sense to the trained eyes looking at her and she was identified as our Silver Laced Wyandotte.  Talk about a tiny powerhouse!  This little squirt has such an energy about her.  She isn't afraid to stand up for herself and scramble for treats, and runs around with the biggest chicks in the brooder.  She has been our slowest grower and still looks just as tiny as her first day home.  Anyone who's seen the Monster's Inc movie knows that the name Boo is a perfect fit for this energetic little gal!

Green Leg Band

Ah, one of the chipmunk girls!  These two have proved to be quite the challenge in determining who is who.  If not for the leg bands, I would probably still struggle to decide on them without a serious stare down!  Lo and behold, differences WERE distinguishable between the two by someone who knew what they were looking for.  This young one turns out to be our Speckled Sussex, who will feather out into a gorgeous reddish brown speckled (natch) with white spots and tips.  She carries herself with a quiet grace and seems to high step around the brooder like a supermodel with a leggy stride.  We couldn't resist naming her something fun and deserving of such a beautiful girl.  (try as I could, I couldn't justify naming her and her look alike Chipette and Dalene)  Meet Fifi, named after the charming and flirtatious feather duster in Beauty and the Beast.

Orange Leg Band

The second half of the puzzling duo has been identified as our Welsummer chick.  While she may be a doppelganger for the green banded chick, their personalities are night and day!  Bold, brave and a leader by nature, this one isn't afraid to be the first one to explore a new item in the brooder.  She's the first one to try a new treat, and much to my husband's chagrin, she was the first one to learn how to roost and hop up on top of the Eco Glow brooder.  I'm certain she'll mastermind a jailbreak from the brooder any day now.  Her never-can-be-tamed spirit deserves a name of a like minded heroine.  Meet Belle, named after the strong willed young woman from Beauty and the Beast.

Blue Leg Band

This dark little chick has been tiny, adorable and elusive from the get go.  Maybe it was her multiple cleanings (pasty butt) that made her learn how to scramble into corners unreachable or dart out of my closing hand at the last minute, but she's learned to be slippery as a fox!  That dark feathering showed our expert that this was the little Partridge Rock, who will mature to similar deep shades of reddish brown.  Given that, and her ability to skate away from impending danger (me, poised above her with warm water and a cotton ball) earned her the name Vixey.  The female fox from the movie Fox and the Hound seemed like a perfect fit for her.

Purple Leg Band

It was hard to imagine this vivid red feathered bird being any other breed.  I mean, truly - could her auburn plume really be that of any other?  I think not.  Our Rhode Island Red has made herself abundantly clear.  She is a wonderful little girl who is very sweet and likes to cuddle up with the others.  She is definitely a congenial bird!  What to name social redhead?  Meet Ariel, named after the ultra friendly mermaid in The Little Mermaid.

Pink Leg Band

Having no chicken experience, save reading a decent amount of books, blogs and gaining friendly facebook advice,  I knew enough to take a guess at her breed.  Really, who could deny those cheeks?  Our little Easter Egger had the adorable face fluffies that their mix is known for!  This fuzzy gal is really a hoot!  She often has a string of chicks following her around and they seem to come at her beck and, peep.  And let's not get started on that style of hers!  She is constantly preening and fluffing herself up, clearly proud of the sheer volume in her feathers that the others just cannot match.  A name for a girl who loves the spotlight, legions of followers and takes vanity to a whole new level?  Meet Georgette, named for the prissy poodle from the movie Oliver & Co.

Brown Leg Band

This little girl was easier for me to make a guess at her breed as well.  Why?  For starters, she was thankfully a solid color - no markings to throw me off.  Only one chick I ordered fit this description.  This had to be our Buff Orpington!  Turns out, I was right.  She has been a good girl, happy to flit around the brooder and run with all the little groups that formed.  Everyone seemed to like and respect her.  She never was pushed out of the feed or water.  And those blond locks sealed the deal on her name, most certainly.  Meet Tinkerbell, named after the fiesty fairy from the movie Peter Pan...and subsequently has spawned off several films of her own.  Go Tink!

Here is where things got tricky...

I had mentioned above that one chick had been bullied into despondency.  That would be our docile, simple but sweet natured girl Kevin.  She just didn't have much backbone to stick up for herself, so when the others got too pushy, she got spooked and secluded herself from the group.  No blood was shed in their pecking order struggle (I would have separated Kev from the bunch had it come to that).  All injuries were strictly pride and ego injuries.  I hated seeing her eating by herself, drinking by herself, exploring by herself, curled up by herself sleeping when all the others seemed to be fitting seamlessly into their newly established roles.  I had to do something.

After consulting with some trusted chicken-loving folks, I decided that Kev needed another polish friend.  (more shameless shout out's to Kristin Weismiller of Two Llamas and a Whole Lotta Drama and Jess at Meyer Hatchery, blog here!)  Another sweetheart who was happy to cuddle beside our fluffy headed girl and not be a busy body (like the rest of those crazy chicks fighting over nonsense!  Humpf!)  One week after our girls hatched, Jess at Meyer Hatchery worked tirelessly to help me secure another buddy and I am so grateful for her dedication!  Because of her, one week after the original 10 came home, we became an 11 bird family.

Meet Madame Mim (Mim for short) a Silver Laced Polish.  I had her named on the way home from the hatchery, thinking that the crazy silver-purple haired character from the movie The Sword in the Stone was a good fit.  I mean, come you not see a resemblance here?

I rest my case.

In any event, I feel I might have done her a grave injustice naming her after a mentally unstable villian.  From the moment she came out of her little transport box from the car drive back home from the hatchery, she was a little batty.  That little powder puff of grey hit the sawdust running - and I do mean running.  Lap after lap she tore around the brooder; ducking under the Eco Glow, jumping into the dust bath, zinging around the feeder.  The older chicks looked at her puzzled for a few minutes, wondering what was wrong with the new kid.  A few even began in her racing game because in their first week they had learned that if one chick runs away excitedly, that surely means that she has found a treat she doesn't want to share.  They soon learned that she was treat-less and their interest died out.

On my way home from the hatchery, I silently worried about what hardships Mim might face.  She was tiny, much smaller than I had remembered the 10 at home being on our trip last week.  (Were they really this shrimpy sized too just a short week ago?)  With her delicate size and being younger, she might become a target for bullying more so than Kevin ever was.  BOY, did she ever prove me wrong!  When her running fits slowed down, she sassily sauntered up to all the big birds and began pecking food right from their beaks.  She would follow them over to the feeder or to the hanging babycake supplement and just absolutely steal the food they had just pecked up.  Mim was unapologetic about it, even quick to run over to a bird who had picked off a larger chunk to "share" with her.

What had I gotten in to?!  This little spitfire was clearly uninhibited and unhinged, when all I wanted was a cuddle buddy for Kevin.  Somehow, things seemed to have worked out though.  I think the bigger chicks have banded together in moral support, making some sort of coping group for "Chicks Living with Unstable Babies".  Kevin now is accepted to eat, sleep and play with the others.  

Mim doesn't even ask for permission and immediately invites herself into the group.  They are getting used to her erratic actions now and I think she is starting to calm down a little.  (That, or I'm getting used to her actions too)  She is now taking cues from the girls on how to get her own food, though sometimes in frustration she'll still take a swipe from their beaks.  I'm not sure if she has some sort of impairment mentally or if she is just that bold 24/7.  Regardless, as long as she is healthy and happy, she will have a forever home here with us.  How could we dare disclude any Disney favorite?

*I want to take another opportunity to thank the wonderful people I listed here as helping me out.  I am grateful for their patience with me and for them taking time from their lives to share their experiences and advice with me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Name that Chick

It's no secret that I'm new to chickens...

so the fact that I'm at a loss for which chick is which shouldn't be much of a surprise.  I'm hoping that some seasoned keepers will chime in and help me predict who is who.

 Here are the following breeds (all pullets) that I ordered:
  • Silver Laced Wyandotte
  • Red Speckled Sussex
  • Welsummer
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Partridge Rock
  • Barred Rock
  • Buff Orpington
  • Easter Egger
  • Australorp 
  • White Crested Black Polish

Of the 10 ordered, I can only 100% identify the polish.  Her name is now Kevin, after the female-assumed-to-be-male bird from the Disney/Pixar movie "Up".  She doesn't have a leg band, as we can spot her easily in the crowd.  Here she is and her namesake Kevin...

As for the rest, I'm still taking predictions/guesses/expert testimony.  Care to weigh in?  My apologies for the blurry photos.  Surprisingly enough, after being subjected to spiral banding, they didn't feel very photogenic!  Here's the line up...

White Leg Band:

  •  Black chick 
  • Yellow belly 
  •  Black beak 
  • Yellow wing tips 
  •  Black legs with yellow feet

Yellow Leg Band:

  • Black chick 
  • Yellow dot on head 
  •  Yellow spots by eyes 
  • Yellow belly 
  • Mostly yellow legs 
  •  Yellow beak 
  • Tiny yellow wing tips

Black Leg Band:

  • Black chick 
  • Lots of yellow and brown markings on face 
  • Grey skunk stripes on butt 
  • Yellow beak
  • Yellow legs
  • Yellow wing tips
  • Grey and brown markings through body

*These next two really stump me, as they look nearly identical.  I'll show their individual photos, then a few of them side by side*

Green Leg Band:

  •  Chipmunk coloring
  •  Dark, large eye stripes 
  •  Yellow legs 
  •  Yellow-red beak 
  •  Black wing tips 
  •  Dark brown stripe
  • Yellow belly

Orange Leg Band:

  • Chipmunk coloring
  • Yellow legs 
  •  Yellow beak
  • Yellow belly 
  •  Smaller dark eye stripes
  • Dark brown stripe

Side by Side :

*Left Side is Orange Leg Band

*Right Side is Green Leg Band

Blue Leg Band:

  • Darkest red chick
  • Yellow feet 
  • Tiny yellow wing tips 
  • Tan belly 
  • Dark head and butt 
  •  Brown beak

 Purple Leg Band:

  • Light red chick 
  • Yellow feet 
  • Yellow beak 
  • Small yellow wing tips
  • Yellow belly

 Pink Leg Band:
My guess is this little lady is our Easter Egger, but that is all it is - a guess!

  • Yellow with black spots
  • Yellow beak 
  • Yellow legs 
  • Black wing tips 
  • Puffy face - muff?
  • Fuzzy feathers
  • Yellow belly

 Brown Leg Band:

  • Yellow chick
  • Yellow beak
  • Yellow legs
  • No markings

Well, that's the gang.  What do you think?  Have any idea's as to the identity of these chicks?  Are the two chipmunk looking chicks different breeds?  Help me out if you can!  Many thanks in advance for any and all advice!