Spring in the Garden

Spring in the Garden

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Introducing 'the girls'

If you aren't interested in chickens you might like to come back next week, when the novelty may have worn off, at least a bit.

I thought it was time to introduce our young ladies. They are three ordinary little brown hybrid chickens, although one is much darker than the other two. They are meant to be docile, hardy and good layers, so good birds for beginners like us.

This is the darker, reddish one. Our daughter decided she should be called Robin. You can see one of the others behind her with much lighter, gingery feathers. She seems the quieter, most timid one so far.

We have decided to call this one Betsy. She seems to be the pushy one. If she wants it she'll get it and the other two get out of her way.

Currently she has more of a comb than the other two, which suggests she is a bit more mature. I don't think her comb is as red as it could be, though, and it might still need to grow a bit more. Apart from that temporary physical difference she is hard to tell apart from Amber just to look at. However my daughter has spotted that Amber is darker on the back of the head and neck.

Here is Amber if you want to compare her. Amber seems to be the most inquisitive and was first to have a nose around upstairs when they first arrived.

Wire netting isn't the best window, but if you click on the pictures to enlarge them you can see a bit better.

We were told that our chickens were about 18 to 20 weeks old when they arrived. They are what is called 'point of lay' birds as they should start laying in a few weeks. As only one has a comb so far we expect she will be the first to lay, but don't know how long we'll have to wait. However, we certainly hope to have our own eggs by Easter. Young hens are called pullets, presumably from the French 'poulette', or 'little female chicken'.

When they first arrived they kept together in a huddle and stayed away from us. Now if they see us coming they come towards us to see what we've got for them, which isn't anything half the time, but they are obviously optimists.

They flinch every time a bird flies overhead, even if it is only a blackbird or pigeon. On the other hand, a chaffinch who thought to land on top of their run took one look at the size of them and thought better of it, doing an about turn onto the rockery.


  1. They are lovely looking ladies, I never tire of chickens so your posts will be of interest to me. Another sign of a hen 'in lay' (apart from a red comb) is she may squat when you go near her, or if you put your hand on her back.

    Ours were also scared of overhead bird flight and planes etc but they soon came round. Now they trip us up for hanging around our ankles!

  2. Thank you for the compliment. I'm glad you like them. They do seem pretty healthy. I'll have to see if Betsy's comb is any redder than it was after what she did today. It was too dark too tell when I got home, although not quite dark enough for them to go to bed, which they did about 10 minutes later.


I look forward to reading your comments, it's always good to hear encouraging words or relevant hints and tips.