In the coming weeks and months I’ll probably be writing a lot about chickens – why I love them, why they’re awesome additions to any [veg*n] backyard farm, and why I could never imagine eating them, ever again.
But before all that, I wanted to take a moment and introduce you all to my two little beauties: Miss Petunia Blue, and Miss Princess SweetPea.
Petunia Blue was our first little darling. I got her during a feverish fit of ‘nesting-mode’ madness – an unexpected side affect of quitting smoking. Something had to be done, and it was either getting my hands on a chick, or it was time to consider getting pregnant. Luckily, I chose the former, and we brought home baby Petunia. Although I know better now, and would never again support the poultry industry, she sure was a fun little wee one. She was 1 week old:
Petunia (or ‘tunes, as we call her) is a Leghorn, that classic and quintessential American chicken. She is small and white, slender with good wingspan and proud tail feathers, with a mighty scarlet-colored crown and waddle. Of course, she didn’t look like that when she was just few weeks old. This is her trademark bugeye glare:
Leghorns are also a particularly chatty breed (her nickname is very appropriate), so we were quite relieved when it was time to move Camp Chicken out of the bathroom and into the backyard. ‘Tunes was a few months old in this picture, and having a blast exploring the new world of the great big outdoors:
That was in late spring, and it was right around that time that we brought home Princess SweetPea. Princess is a furry-footed Light Brahma, an Asiatic breed that is closely related to Indian Jungle Fowl. We rescued her off Craigslist from a family that was paring down its flock. Apparently, the father had decided that he would become a producer of the perfect fancy chicken, and was on a quest to manipulate the ideal breed. Poor Sweet Pea was one of the many byproducts of his experimentations. She was half of Petunia’s age and weighed nearly twice as much:
These days the girls rule the backyard, where they reside in their little red henhouse. At night they roost in ‘trees’ made of old lumbar, safe in their enclosed run. By day, they free range the backyard, much to the dismay of neighborhood cats (who are equal their size and can’t do anything but stare) and pesky garden slugs. They fertilize our plants, they mow our lawn, but most of all, they are just plain fabulous friends.
Chickens are delightful, independent, unique, and sassy creatures, and I look forward to sharing my adoration and understanding of them, as this project unfolds.