Monday, December 20, 2010

All I want for Christmas is a Chicken?

When the thought of  Christmas gifts come to mind some may think of diamonds, pearls, electronics or stylish clothes. Others might go for the whole package in one swoop and wish for stylish clothes emblazoned with diamonds and pearls, which electronically sing Christmas carols.

At any rate, I suppose a lot of people wish for those types of items, and for good reason. However, some of us are inspired by nostalgia, things rural--the farm. Born out of love for the aforementioned and necessity, we think of buckets with heaters, tractor supply gift cards, Carhartt clothing, muck boots--and  chickens. Chickens? Yep, that’s right. All I want for Christmas is chickens.
Snowball Silkie
We absolutely love our feathered fowl at Verde Farm. When we bought our first two chickens, "just for fun,” we bought two roosters, Mack and Bucky. We didn’t want to deal with eggs and by no circumstances did we want baby chicks. A few months after the roos came to live with us, we felt so sorry for them we bought them a pretty cream girl named Pearl. Verde had a population explosion. We started reading, buying poultry magazines and learning all we could about these interesting entertaining and hilariously fowl birds.
Some Mixed Bantam Roosters 
It didn’t take long to realize there are thousands of chicken breeds and variations. I started looking for unusual and fancy chickens and stumbled on some great resources. Silkies, Polish, Tolbunts, Red Combs, Mille Fleur, just to name a few, caught my eye.  We decided we really wanted to breed some beautiful birds and specialize in selling some of them in addition to our colorful, mixed bantams.
Fancy
Charlotte
Last year, we ordered a pair of Polish white crested black chickens. They were gorgeous and we named them Edgar and Betty. We’ve had them for a year and a half and never gotten one egg from Betty. Not one. Edgar has fathered a few mixed chicks, Brighty being one of them. Edgar’s affairs can only be interpreted as a lack of support for poor Betty’s barren ways. Shame on you Edgar.
On a side note, Edgar lost his beautiful white mane when Betty and the rest of the hens pulled out his head feathers, one by one, and pecked his head until he, in a daze, had to be removed from the chicken house. Poor Edgar.

Our first foray into chicken breeding obviously didn’t go well. Edgar and Betty are separated. We are back to square one.

Betty-alone
Henpecked Edgar
We were not deterred. Instead we decided it was time to jump in with both feet and get the varieties we wanted. In the fall, we ordered a beautiful trio of calico mille fleur from Nancy Krohn at Bluff Country Backyard Chickens. They are gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Chaucer and Lydia
Chaucer and his girls (Betty is visiting)
In November, we also ordered a group of polish, silkies and tolbunts from a wonderful place in Maryland called Bare Necessities Farm. Now, my friends, maybe I am biased, but we have some of the prettiest chickens you’ve ever seen--real beauties.  It may be difficult for some to imagine a beautiful chicken--unless accompanied by gravy and biscuits. All I can say is this: I’ve never seen an ugly one. To me, chickens are a lot like butterflies. They are flitting, flying, running bursts of color, decorating and brightening even the dreariest day.
The Silkie Gang
Pretty birds, pretty birds
With the arrival of 14 new chickens, we knew we had to house them. We ordered a chicken chalet, which was scheduled to be delivered this week but now has been pushed back because of the weather. The chalet is a link to spring when I’ll paint it, name it and plant flowers around it.
Foof
Smoke Silkie
If the good lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise, we’ll have these breeds for sale in 2011. I can’t wait to see what we get.  If you are thinking of adding or starting to raise chickens, you may want to pick one of ours in the spring. We do ship.
Lad and Blue
So, this Saturday, when you’re opening your felt covered jewelry boxes, packages wrapped in pretty papers and bows, just think of us. Our “fowl” packages may smell a little funny--but we will be just as excited.

Cockadoodledoo to you and yours this Christmas

45 comments:

Lisa Sall - Sall's Country Life said...

OMG, Amy, now you're getting me all excited about adding to our flock! All of those fancy breeds, I may change my Christmas list from laptop to Mille Fleur! What have you done?
Well, maybe we should think about remodeling the coop first. Have a great week!

Michelle said...

Awww...I love chickens and miss mine very much. We had such a problem with "varmits" that we haven't tried to get another flock. I had some Polish and loved them. Yours are all beauties!!

Sharon said...

What beautiful birds! I didn't realize they could be that unique! I would love chickens myself, but the boss says no, and he's pretty firm about it. Maybe when I am better....

TexWisGirl said...

They are all beautiful! Unique, colorful, funny, silly, gorgeous creatures! Sorry, I do eat them too. But may yours be fruitful and multiply and live good lives!

Leah said...

I have to say they are a bit handsome - never had any chicken babies here.... Merry Christmas!

Angela said...

Wow Amy! You have some beautiful chickens! I love the exotic looking ones! Can't wait to see more of them in future posts!

Merry Christmas!
Angela

Chris at Red Gate Farm said...

Amy what a great bunch you have. Foof is my favorite. When we got our chickens I really wanted one of the "lace" variety. Their feathers are sooo pretty. We went with the basics, for egg laying -Rhode Island Reds, White Leghorns and Aracauna. No roosters :( But at least I don't have to feel sorry for one like Edgar!

Happy Holidays,
Chris

Tete said...

Oh Amy- I wish I was getting chickens! We can't have them in town or I would have a dozen rhoade island reds out here for their xl eggs! It would keep down the bug population, too!
Chickens are the dumbest, but I love them!
I hope you have a major explosion there!
Poor Edgar looked pretty sorry hen pecked. Poor guy. Those girls do stick together!

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

In the first pic, does that snowball silkie have beautiful blue eyes like in the picture? I'm not really familiar with chickens, but that's a really pretty one. I've never seen eyes like that.

Pondside said...

They are all gorgeous! Perhaps I'll be in touch in the spring. We have to sort things out with our country neighbour (the one who gets so upset at the sound of a rooster) before we go any further with our chicken buying!

connie said...

Those are some interesting chicken breeds.I look forward to seeing the babies in the spring..

Rural Rambler said...

Love this post! Love all your chickens pictured but gotta tell you Charlotte is a hoot and darling! Where would we all be without Tractor Supply?!

Merry Christmas Amy to You and Yours and all of Verde Farm in case I don't get another chance!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Amy, my dream is to have hens in the spring time. I don't remember if I had told you that. Our property is small so my coop will only be big enough to hold at most 8 hens. I have read 3 books already on chicken keeping. I even went to a meeting about raising chickens last year. Terry Golson spoke and she is this wonderful woman who has so much knowledge where chickens are concerned and a hencam. I put a link to her web site on my sidebar. Your chickens are beautiful!!!

Nancy C said...

Chickens are indeed addictive. So many beautiful breeds -- it's difficult to choose. I just love the varieties you have. Gorgeous!

No diamonds, pearls or rubies on my Christmas list. I asked for homemade bird feeders and suet cakes. :)

Judy said...

I love your birds. We had to separate a hen from the others because she was hen-pecked. It's not a fun thing for them or us :)

Lisa said...

Wow Amy, you have some pretty ones. I too think it would be fun to have some but my husband says no. I don't hear that too often from him....Just when it comes to another dog our chickens. lol. Sooooooo. I guess I will just have to enjoy yours. Have a good day.

Mary said...

How funny, I also posted about chickens today! I love all your chickens, from Snowball to Poof. Aren't they fun?

And you will be shipping chickens? Woot, I can't wait. Sign me up for some of Chaucer's babies! :)

-Mary

Carla said...

More beautiful than diamonds any day!

Kim said...

Amy,
Sign me up! I want some of chickens. They are gorgeous! We are adding around 15 in the spring and would love to get some from an individual breeder instead of a huge hatchery. Will you send out and update on when you will be selling? Seriously, let me know.
And by the way, you are not alone wanting farm animals for Christmas ~ I secretly have been wishing for a milking goat. Maybe Santa will bring me one.

Country Whispers said...

I never really thought of chickens being pretty but those fancy ones sure are!
Oh, and I would take your Christmas list any ol' day over diamonds and pearls. Chickens, buckets and such have much more meaning and usefullness than that fancy stuff.

Farm Girl said...

I love, love chicken posts and you have some beautiful chickens. I think though, If I get any chickens this year, I will have to live with them. I would love to have some more silkies since I only have one now.
Oh well, we will see. :)

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I envy anyone that has chickens and live vicariously through them--And ones like these that are 'stylin' are that much more interesting to me!!

Hope your week is going well!!

Flat Creek Farm said...

Your chickens are beautiful!! Don't even get me started. I'm trying to contain myself and stick with my 17 original Ameraucanas - yes I am :) But, I'd also love a couple of Polish, and those Mille Fleurs (oh my!), and.. and..! {must stop my chicken dreaming now.. lol!} Thanks for sharing your gorgeous birds with us!! And a Happy Christmas to all!! -Tammy

jp@A Green Ridge said...

I love that fuzzy white one!!! It looks so soft and fluffy...:)JP

Lisa@Pickles and Cheese said...

They really are pretty! I know next to nothing about Chickens but am always amazed at all the beautiful varieties out there. Loved your post today. Have a Merry Christmas!

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

So cute! One of my readers alerted me to this post. I got chickens 6 weeks ago and am totally addicted. I love mine but they are kind of silly - they will NOT go outside now that it's cold out - even on a "warm" day. But they sure have provided LOTS of eggy meals. What a lifesaver during this baking season too!
Angela
ParisienneFarmgirl.com

Terry said...

Your chickens are just beautiful. My Christmas wish list is all about things for the barn, and Carhartts!!!

Staci said...

Amy, your story made me smile, then laugh out loud, then nod in agreement. Loved it.
Have a very Merry Christmas!!
Staci

Bee Lady said...

Your chickens are beautiful. And wanting chickens for Christmas reminds me of the year we wanted a fence! Our "farm" (we don't live there yet, we're building a home now) needed a new fence and we decided that would be our Christmas present that year. Another year we bought trees. A far cry from that Baby First Step I had to have as a child!

Cindy

PS-I think I'll call Edgar, Greg. Named after my first husband ;-)

Sharon said...

Amy,

I love your chicken pictures. I have a friend on Facebook who showed pictures of her "chocolate eggs" this week. All of this is fascinating to me. When I was growing up, our chickens were not at all fancy like these.

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such nice comments!

Merry Christmas from "Corgis in My
Garden!"

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

I'm right there with ya on the wish list! 'Cept mine also includes more goats! Your pictures are lovely tho and make me think maybe we too need to expand our flock... I hope that whatever you find under your tree (or strolling through your barn), your Christmas is full of JOY!
hugs,
Leslie

John Going Gently said...

amy
my common girls would peck the tuft off something like little charlotte!
she's quite a stunner
x

Janice Grinyer said...

I have an area picked out for our chicken palace. And now I know when the time comes, I will be ordering some polish hen chicks from you!

And you are the first person that I know of that atually SEEKED roosters rather then chickens in the beginning. You are one of those rare bird ladies arent you :D? Like my sister who runs a chicken rescue! You read that right - she is known for having a retirement village for hens, where people take their birds that cant lay anymore rather then killing them. She once took a very sick hen to the vet to be put down - she was horrified when the vet said, "now you know you cant eat this bird, right?" She told me "I would never go back again, but darn it hes the only bird vet in a 40 mile radius"...

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Oh my goodness glory girl, I've been a farm chick all my born days but I haven't ever seen such a variety of chickens in all my life!!! You do have a beautiful bunch of fowl there.

God bless ya and have a most blessed and Merry Christmas sweetie!!!

Teresa said...

Okay Amy, I am now officially obsessed. I have always wanted chickens, fresh eggs and that extra little touch of official farmyness. Oh man, I already get myself in trouble every spring by building more garden beds...just the thought of another thing whose life depends on me? Yikes. Are you embracing the egg part of it all now?
Oh, and I LOVE Charlotte. I see her kind every year at the fair. Can she see? Are there really eyes in there?
See! Obsessed, I'm telling you!

Joe said...

Beautiful birds. I like all of the different colors.

Deb said...

can't wait to see your new flock...

Maura @ Kisiwa Creek Photography said...

LOL that was an awesome post Amy!! I'm with you...chickens are beautiful and cute and fun to watch. Simple entertainment. We don't have any really pretty ones like your silkies but after reading your post I'm thinking it would be really fun to get a few so I'm going to do some reading over the holidays. Enjoy your chickens! Have a fun Christmas Eve my friend. Maura :)

Rainy Day Farm said...

Love all you beautiful chicken. I know what you mean about asking for farm items. I would be so excited to get a new pair of romeos or a feed bucket. Love the ountry life. My two baby goats are going to be in a church nativity tomorrow night.

Nancy K. said...

Wow! I had no idea you have so many beautiful chickens, Amy! I'm glad that you're happy with your Mille Fleur Cochins. You may want to let people know that they are cochins ~ not mille fleur d'uccles. ;-)

I hope that Santa was good to you!

Mrs. Cherry Heart said...

I miss my girls.
We had chickens for many years until we moved back into the village!
I want some silkies when yours hatch in the spring!
I love the fancy breeds too!
Before we moved I ordered a bunch and they had babies and babies and we had to find homes for them....they were all so beautiful and unique!
I miss their company and sweet lil noises!

For now I will enjoy yours thru your blog posts!

Hugs, Dolly

Janet, said...

Those chickens are something else. Not the kind of chickens we had when I was growing up!

Comeca Jones said...

In love!!! The ones with the fluffy tops are tooo cute! Are they hard to take care of? Ok I haven't spilled the beans yet but we may be moving again(:(my sweeties job) and if it is a rural setting I MUST have one cross fingers with me.

Anonymous said...

I just added your blog site to my blogroll, I pray you would give some thought to doing the same.

The Vintage Farmhouse said...

Will you be posting when chicks start hatching? I might order from you!
You have even more fancy chickens I hadn't heard of yet!