Thursday, June 09, 2011


My brother, Bill, called yesterday. We had a nice catch-up. The weather. The kids. The chickens.

The chickens?!


Oh, yes. I have another convert! Welcome to the flock, Bill.
(insert maniacal cackle here)

Just kidding.

Bill heard Zoltar crowing while we were on the phone. A few cocka-doodles from this tiny dude, is enough to convince anyone that they do not need to keep a rooster around. I can hold Zoltar in one hand, he is that small, but when he crows he is a manly rooster, four sizes bigger than his otherwise tiny frame. When he gets going, I half expect to see Zoltar deflate, circling around the yard, like a loose balloon.

Rooster, Mini-bot with split single comb. Cocky little dude.

While we are on the subject of roosters, it is time for a fond farewell to three Mini-bots, who it turns out are Robot Roosters!

It's hard to believe that the chicks, hatched from Puff and Zelda's eggs, have already grown and matured. Kamen and the Mini-bots, so tiny, so cute. I feel so fortunate to have enjoyed the experience, watching a hen hatch eggs, care for her young, and seeing them grow.

Rooster, Mini-bot with a raspberry comb, darker gray. Cocky little dude.

As usual with keeping chicks, the big question was: which ones are roosters? We watched every change in feathers, and behavior, and we listened for the tell tale crowing. We really, really hoped that out of five chicks, we would be blessed with many more chicas than chicos, and everyone was especially eager for Kamen to be a chica, a pretty little hen who could stay with us here at the Bird House.

Rooster, Mini-bot with a raspberry comb, lighter gray. Cocky little dude.

Final count: Kamen and one Mini-bot are hens, and are here for keeps. Three Mini-bots are roosters, and are living the good life, somewhere else.

What has not been usual, for us, about these home-hatched chicks, has been the bonding. All other resident chicas were brought home from the feed store and raised by us. We kept them under a heat lamp, fed them, held them, pretended to dig and scratch at the ground to show them how it's done. The chicks we raised know us, connect with us. The chicks raised by Zelda have been amazing to watch, and fun to keep, but they do not care one cracked corn about any of us. They do not come or follow or listen or nuthin'. At least it made it slightly easier to give them up.

And we are so happy we did not have to give up Kamen. She is the softest little henny-penny chickie baby ever I have held. I think we will hold her every day, and maybe she won't be quite so indifferent to our affection, after a few years. Actually, once she got over the initial indignation of being scooped up, she mellowed out a lot. I believe she is a Polish Silkie, daughter of Edison and Puff.

And here is our Mini-she-bot, who maybe we can call She-bot or Sheba. I am guessing she is also a Polish Silkie, daughter of Edison and Zelda.

Both Kamen and Shebot are happy and adjusting well. I think everyone is enjoying the quieter mornings. Four roosters - three roosters = quieter mornings. Amen.

So, Bill. For your yard, I recommend about three hens. And if you can raise them from chicks, it is worthwhile and fun. I love the Silkies... small and mild, they would fit in nicely in your home.

Of course, a nice big, clucky hen, like Lady Betty Orpington, is great fun. She is a real sweetie pie, quite the social butterfly.

Puff and Zelda are not pictured in today's post, because their pictures were too blurry. They are pretty girls, but do not cooperate for the camera.


judy in ky said...

Your chicas and chicos are very entertaining. I don't know much about them, so I find this so interesting. I like that the chicas you raise follow you around and seem bonded to you. Also, I find Lady Betty Orpington charming.

Kim said...

I want to raise chickens badly! but have not yet grown the cajones to take it on. Someday, someday, my friend.

Rois said...

The chicks one of our hens hatched last summer ended up being three Roosters too,bummer.
We took our time getting rid of them but kept their Daddy.One rooster is a million times better than four crowing at dawn.

Thank goodness we have mellow neighbors.

Miriam said...

Those are remarkable looking chicks! The rooster Mini-Bots are so fierce looking, and Miss She-Bot looks like she spent the morning at the beauty parlour. I don't think I'll show your blog to our chickies - they are very plain, and might get a complex...

Anonymous said...

Your chica and bunny photos are always my favorite posts. They make me smile every time. I have to ask, what are your camera settings to blur the background, especially when Maria is "thisclose" to the mini-bots. I've been trying to blur backgrounds in close-up shots for years. Please don't tell me you just point and shoot - I'll be sooo envious.


Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Judy... thank you. LBO is classy, and sweet. It is a riot to see them run across the lawn when I call.

Kim... you can do it! You'll know when you are ready, and I promise you: it is easier than you think.

Rois... gotta love mellow neighbors! You and I share the same rooster magnetism! lol

Zan... thank you. My new Cannon will tell me the settings, so I am going to look it up for you. But, the truth is, I am a point and shoot woman. I am trying to learn the *pro* way, but in the end I just want to jump in and catch the shot. My camera was set to portrait, which gives a 'shallow depth of field (?)... I think that's what's happening.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Okay... here's what the camera says about the shot of Maria holding the Raspberry Comb Mini-Bot:

ISO: 1250
And this is with a Canon EOS 60D (Yes. Yes, I am a lucky ducky) The shot is sooc... no touch-ups, and I do not shoot in RAW.

Irish Zan said...

I'm so inspired by your close-up photos that I took an Intro to Photography class last week and now I understand how you take such awesome photos. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.