Friday, November 7, 2008

Beat Bawking

I often go about bawk-bawk-bawking little ditties which Brian has dubbed "beat bawking". This is because I love chickens. They are the only pets that contribute more than just love to my family. Chickens are so relaxing to see pecking around in the yard. This activity also keeps away ticks. My own High On The Hog mascots at right are also the endless source of comic amusement.

Becky, the buff orpington recently started laying eggs and it's really wonderful to have fresh local eggs that I know are humane. Chickens are so easy to keep and their only need is to be protected from predators and a bit of scratch grain. For Søren's 30th birthday I made him a chicken ark complete with three chickens. It was fun to build and a thing of beauty, although their chicken population has outgrown it.

I realize many of you face local ordinances preventing you from keeping chickens, but if they are legal where you are I highly recommend checking out The City Chicken. This is where I got the idea for Søren's chicken tractor. The City Chickens recounts tales of keeping small chickens on an urban balcony. Small breeds of chickens are great alternatives to parrots for city dwellers. My own Japanese bantams are about the size of a pigeon.

Chickens, like dogs come in difference breeds which you make select base on your needs. The Feather Site is a great place to research the variety that's best for you. Here are some breeds I've raised and my thoughts of them.

Buff orpington – beautiful fat dual purpose chicken. Classic look, very sweet disposition, reliable layers.

Golden Comets – Sex linked. Lean birds are excellent for commercial egg production. They have wonderful tame personalities. I will be getting more of these in spring.

Silkie Bantams – Beautiful plumage, nice layers for their size and good temperaments.

(these three breeds above are the ones in the High on the Hog logo)

Barred Plymouth Rocks – Classic looking dual purpose, big birds. Unfriendly to people and aggressive to other chickens.

Japanese Bantams – exotic looking small birds. Aloof and skittish but very self sufficient.

Road Island Reds – Excellent for egg production but tend of be skittish and aggressive to each other.

Brown Leghorns – Excellent for egg production and self sufficient, aloof personalities.


Brian said...

"Silkie Bantams – Beautiful plumage, nice layers for their size and good temperaments."

I don't buy the whole good temperament thing. Every time I walk across the yard he attacks me. I have to take a stick and nudge him away when he starts to make his advance.

Lynnis said...

I have never seen this behavior you are always moaning about. When I wrote that I was thinking of my Pantaloones chicken who used to hop up in the hammock with me. She was a bantam, but not 100% silkie. She was something more like a mop top with big bloomers.

Brian said...

Pantaloones chicken was always nice. She'd let you sit and pet her and kinda make a "coo'ing" noise.

Gordon said...

Chrissy's Rhode Island reds are among the tamest, most content chickens I have ever seen. No fighting. Please take some of them. One of them is ruining equipment in the dome.

I recently read that the silky plumage is believed to be a hold over from dinosaur plumage. There is fossil evidence.

There is even hope of recreating dinosuars by starting with an emu and backtracking using the common genetic elements of most birds. There is no need to find fossil DNA, it is walking around live and the original sequence can be mostly deduced. Predictions are that dinosaurs will live again within a lot less than 100 years. I'm betting on less than 30 years from the start of the decision to do it.