Edith, the biggest of the three, was the first one selected. That's Edith, perched on the edge of the baby chicken bin. I took off the wire top to pour in fresh food, and she saw an escape route. She was so surprised to land on a narrow ledge that she teetered back and forth barely long enough for a blurry photo before hopping back in again.
Edith is a Silver Weyendotte and is probably a week, or maybe even two weeks older than the other two, smaller chicks. We selected her first having loved the coloring of our previous Silver Weyendotte, Georgette, who I have been mourning and still miss terribly. Once we managed to catch Edith from one big bin at Wilco (Farm and Feed Store) we looked into another bin at other varieties and spied our next chick, Dorothy.
Dorothy is a Golden Weyendotte, and while Edith will be black and white, Dorothy should be warm shades of Brown and Gold in the same eventually speckled pattern. Once they were both in the store's cardboard carrier box, it was readily apparent that one was considerably smaller than the other. The store has a rotating selection of breeds among a number of large tubs, and catching the one you think you like, is more like you choose the one you manage to catch! And once you have them, you know they are the ones you are meant to have and so I wasn't about to put either of them back to choose sizes again!
Edith and Dorothy came home and had the luxury of not only feeder, waterer, and light selections, we went through many choices for best fit in their space, and easiest usage, but several....ok, I went through 4.... different quilt auditions, for keeping their bin free of nightime chills or drafts. We keep a thermometer inside and try to keep it warm as they are still tiny and would otherwise be under their mama to keep them warm.
We weren't happy with the pine shavings we'd put at the bottom of their chick bin so after another day of adjustments, off we went back to Silverton, Oregon and the Wilco store to buy some nest pellets made of compressed wood particles instead of the wood shavings. The shavings were going every where! Into their food, into their water, and onto them! Turns out, everything does all of that no matter what we tried.
But off to Wilco in Silverton, again. And...there they all were! More chicks to choose from. We looked at all all kinds of typica,l and not so typical varieties, looking each one up one by one. Not wanted broody chickens that would never get off their eggs, not wanting ones that were too loud as we may live in the country, but we still have nearby neighbors. And then we saw ...
The Cukoo Marans. Cukoo Marans were bred in France, and brought to the United States in the 1930's. They come in several colors and we didn't know what these would end up being but had to have one, since I'm half French and my married last name is French meaning whether he knows it or not, so is my husband somewhere down the line.
Kind of liking figuring out Weyendottes, which were bred into their variety, here in the United States, and Cuckoo Marans. So, we scooped up a tiny one who was holding fairly still and brought her home. And oh, the noise she made during our 30 minute car ride. We were so worried that the Cuckoo part of her name would quickly become part of ours! Ever bring a terrified cat to the vet? Imagine a terrified chicken.
But once we got home and put her in with the others, she was as happy as a lark, and chirping as sweetly as a nightingale. Welcome, Little Nell!
Little Nell from Charles Dickens and in honor of my completely French, mama, Nell, who had an Audabon clock that made all of the bird sounds and when it got to the Cuckoo, we laughed and laughed and readily admitted we were both cuckoo from life's challenges!
Edith, Dorothy, and Little Nell. One of these days when they are considerably larger, they won't be living in our house but their own. And then they can meet their sisters, Penelope and Matilda and boy, oh boy will that fun then begin!
And yes, Dorothy is named after my husband's mother, and Edith we realized ended up being named after a friend's mother. With a Penelope and a Matilda, old names seem like the best names. We knew our mothers would have laughed and laughed and my mom, especially, would have loved having a little french chicken named after her.
Quilts and Chickens, they just go together as crazy, busy fun!
Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes. Help us change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!