Why Keep Chickens, Part 3

Jan 6th

Todd poses with his short lived beard and Clover, one of our Lavender Orpingtons.

This past weekend I enjoyed a small gathering of friends to celebrate my graduation. A retired friend I met at work seven years ago lives just a couple miles away and has a wonderful old 70’s house with lots of custom built-inns and a great basement space for hosting movie viewings and small parties. He and his wife were very generous in allowing us to hold the celebration at their home – as our place is small and has little parking. We asked them to invite any friends they’d like, since I had only invited a handful of people. One couple that arrived I had met about two weeks before. They too were “chicken people” and for about an hour and a half we shared photos, stories and compared notes on chicken behavior. Our conclusion was that chickens were much more fun to own than most people think.

I’m no stranger to caring for animals. I grew up around them. My childhood home on Vashon Island included a pot belly pig, two pygmy goats, two geese, a handful of rabbits, a parrot, a iguana, a black lab and a herd of cats (seriously a herd – while 5 cats were “ours” we had another dozen or so feral cats that adopted us). Some of my fondest memories as a teenager is hiking in the adjoining woods to our property, with two energetic pygmy goats in tow. There was no use trying to keep them from following. They had learned how to jump onto the pig and then out of the pen. All of our efforts to raise the pen had only made the leap out more grand to watch. One thing I never had been around though was chickens. My husband shared stories with me of raising them when he was a kid, but that was many moons ago.

Since we received our chickens in the mail in May we’ve been surprised by the different personalities and development of each chicken. Buttercup, the red headed Buff Orpington has had an “attitude” since almost day one. But she lays the biggest eggs! and Sweet Pea, one of two Barred Rocks, was so named because of her initial shyness and demure attitude has become the most outgoing of the flock and will even walk right up to a stranger and give them a good peck to demand attention. Bluebell, our beautiful Blue Orpington, is a bit dimwitted and sometimes earns the name “dumb bell”. Bluebell is by far our biggest chicken, yet lays the dinkiest little eggs. Thistle and Clover are our pretty Lavender Orpingtons. We’ve been impressed by their very docile attitudes and consistently round, brown eggs. Blackberry, our other Barred Rock leads the pack and has a refined nature about her. Learning each personality has been a unique experience as well as highly educational for us. We set out to raise chickens for fresh eggs. And while we are enjoying dozens of wonderful eggs from our gals, we’ve also become endeared to them and enjoy having them for the sake of just having them.