Backyard Chickens: Meet the Newest Member
February 26, 2014
After we lost Olive Snook in January, we weren't sure how to proceed. Our options were to: A. Do nothing and hope the three remaining hens would provide enough eggs for the two of us this year, B. Purchase and raise a few more chicks in spring, or C. Find someone selling or giving away a pullet near the same age as our girls. For us, the choice was cut and dry.
With three hens left, our backyard flock was feeling lonely, so we scoured through local Craigslist ads and found a lady who was selling her seven-month-old Black Copper Marans pullets. These particular girls didn't meet breed showing standards for whatever reason, yet they were perfectly healthy, and were just starting to lay those beautiful, dark brown eggs the breed is famous for, so we sent her an e-mail, and came home with one of her girls two days later.
Her name is Milly, and after spending some time in isolation (to ensure minimal contamination of disease), and very slow and supervised integration, she is now one of the flock. From what I can tell, she ranks #2 in the pecking order (below Starbuck, our Buff Orpington, of course), even though she's a little younger and a little smaller than both Seven and Amelia. It'll be interesting to watch how the flock politics play out over the next few months.
Aside from the stress and anxiety that comes from introducing a new bird into the flock, I'm really happy with Milly. She has a quiet yet active personality, and she's getting more people-friendly by the day. And, as of Friday, she's laying eggs! I'm definitely a sucker for those dark brown, speckled eggs.
A couple nights ago, I went out and took a shot with my phone's camera of the girls sleeping on the roost. Milly is the small black bird on the right. She's squashed between my big Buff Orpington and my little Easter Egger. You can see she still has some growing to do.
I wanted to mention one thing I've noticed since losing my Welsummer: the flock is much quieter now, even with the addition of Milly. Welsummers make beautiful birds with beautiful eggs, and I was very fond of Olive Snook, but she was definitely the loudest of the flock, which is something people tend to say about the breed. It's something to keep in mind if you're worried about upsetting your neighbors.