The first spring chicks of 2015 have arrived at the homestead. This year, since we have as many eggs as we really need on a daily basis, I got a bit more creative with the chicken breeds and ordered a few more exotic ones.
We’ve got two Brahmas in this batch of chicks – one bantam Buff Brahma and one standard size Dark Brahma. This chubby chicken breed has beautifully laced feathers around their neck, and the Dark variety has silver and lacing in all of her feathers. Even bantam Brahmas are usually fairly heavy weight, and they used to be raised for meat in Shanghai before becoming a backyard layer. Brahmas were first introduced to the West when one was gifted to Queen Victoria in 1874. Described online as “massive and stately”, they are a very calm bird that has a steady output of brown eggs and is distinguished when showing by its upright posture and highly feathered feet.
I also have a bantam Golden Laced Cochin which, like the Brahma, is a variety known for its calm disposition, motherly nature, and unruffled feathers. Cochins also originated in China and they have become one of the most popular show breeds of chicken in the US today. Known for being fairly pump, Cochins show excessive feathering, from their puffy tails to their delicate toes. I had a Buff Cochin when I was younger, and remember her fondly as the most friendly, cuddly chicken in the coop.
In addition to these notoriously laid back chickens, we also have received Modern Game chicks. Modern Games are a rare breed that is fairly hard to find, but if you’ve ever seen one you will remember it for its long legs and upright posture. Originally bred in England for cock fighting, they are light weight, friendly and very curious. The two we have received are the black red variety.
I do believe it is important to have chicken breeds that make you smile as well as provide you with food, and that was certainly part of my selecting chicks this year. While these tiny chicks are peeping away in their brooder, there is also a very dedicated mamma hen who is due to hatch some eggs in about three weeks. We have eighteen eggs under Ladybird, including Lavender d’Uccle x Silkie and Mottled Cochins. Hopefully we will be posting even more happy chick news very soon!