Tag / Australorp

Chickens

Tilly

Tilly, the Australorp, is our head hen.  As a day old chick, she was the largest and the smartest.  She was also one of the hardiest girls.  Today, she is not the biggest, but she definitely rules the roost.  She has a very sweet nature about her.  She loves to be held and will even nestle into your neckline between your shoulder and your ear.  I love it when they do that!

She also loves to talk.  It seems as though she is constantly talking.  In fact, I recognize her voice from the other hens and often talk to her when I am on the other side of the yard.  She has a very low sweet song that she sings.  The chorus is always the same and she mixes up the verses.   She is especially talkative as she lays her eggs.  From the coop, she provides all those around with a play by play account of the entire process.  I try my best to talk chicken back to her.  She cocks her head from side to side like a puppy.  Her wattles swing back and forth.  O, how I do wish we truly could understand each other.

She is obedient.  She recognizes me as the chicken mom.  When I need to pick her up, she never runs away from me.  She may not feel like going in, but always remains calm in my arms.  She understands the hierarchy.  She also knows that when I am not around, she is in charge.  She rules a tight ship.  She constantly ensure that everyone is in line and knows that she is the boss.  I imagine it must get tiring for her. Though, she seems to love it.  As she is the boss, she always gets first dibs at the treats.  I purposefully scatter treats over the entire run, but she always gets the prime pieces.  If someone else has something that she wants, she gets it and typically without much of a squabble. 

Finally, I find that she is the one that everyone wants to sleep next to at night.  Usually, she is sandwiched between the two Buff Orpingtons.  She tells the flock when it is time to roost.  However, the most interesting thing that I read and can tell you to be true of Tilly, is that when she free-ranges, she never ventures too far from the coop.    Apparently, Australorps don’t like to be too far from home.  As the head hen, the girls follow Tilly’s lead.  This is very nice as I never have to look to far to find them.

Photo credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Eggs

Earlobes and Eggs

Did you know that chickens have earlobes?  Well they do and some are very colorful!  You might also find it interesting that chickens will lay a certain color egg based on the color of their earlobes.  This is one of the most remarkable facts about chickens that I know.  Chickens have tiny holes in the side of their head covered by feathers.  Below, dangle their earlobes.

My Sikie Bantams have blue earlobes.  You can admire them hanging down in all their glory in the family portraits to the right side of my blog.  My silkies lay rose colored eggs.  The Buff Orpingtons and the Australorp all have red earlobes and their eggs are various shades of brown.  Here are some lovely pictures of chicken earlobes up close and personal.  Now you can say, that you know what chicken earlobes look like.   Yet another great topic to discuss at your next cocktail party conversation courtesy of the chickens!
 
        

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Crossing the Road

Today I did a major clean out of the garage.  While I was doing this, I figured that the flock could get a little extra time free ranging this morning and early afternoon.  As I was cleaning, I checked on the chickens now and then. 

Tilly, the Australorp, is the head hen.  Wherever Tilly goes, the flock follows.  It is so adorable now to see Tilly and Chocolate dominate the flock’s whereabouts.  Through my research, I have learned when chickens free range, they allow the head hen to lead them to new places.  Australorps apparently like to remain close to their coop, never wandering too far.  I thought that this would be a good thing.

Since I have had them, they have never been more than 15 feet from their coop.  They typically are content using the driveway as their barrier and remaining on one side with their coop and run.  Despite all my efforts of coaxing and chicken talk they have never strayed from their usual favorite spots.  However, today something changed.

The flock today stepped onto the pea stone gravel in the driveway.  They were having so much fun picking up stones and throwing them down.  I watched as they picked up their feet staring curiously at the bottoms.  The rocks must have felt different from the the grass, woods and mulch that they typically roamed through.  This lasted for about 20 minutes.  What fun they had!

Then I went over to the lush green lawn, virgin chicken territory.   I squatted down and pretended to be a chicken.  Curious about my actions, they looked up.  Suddenly as if walking across molten lava, they came to me.  The chickens crossed the metaphorical road over the driveway and into the lawn.  It did not last long.  Their time was brief.  When they decided to return closer to home, they fled as if a coyote was chasing them.  They hopped and flew back with poor little Feathers trailing behind.  I wonder if and when they will do it again?  I’m glad that they crossed over the driveway.  It opened up a potentially whole new world for them.

Chickens Coop Care DIY Projects Eggs Health Issues Predators Seasonal Care

So You Want to Raise Backyard Chickens: 1 of a 5 Part Series

So, how do I go about this, you ask? Well if you’re like me you read everything you can get your hands on, check the internet and dive head first into something figuring you’ll just troubleshoot along the way.  However, there is some planning to optimize your chicken experiences that will make life easier.  So, lets start at the beginning.  How do I get the chickens?