Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chicken Politics

You might guess when I decided to bring home chickens, I started getting lots of questions.  "Where do you live that you can keep chickens?  Are you going to eat them?" etc.  But shockingly, I get this one question a lot that I have no idea where it comes from: "Are the chickens some kind of political statement?"

I always just say "no, i just wanted chickens" but afterward i like to think, what kind of political statement does a chicken make?

I guess that could be their statement, thanks Google images.  But i doubt it, these are Arizona chickens. i am pretty sure they have no interest in Nevada politics...

Its interesting though that chickens might be political.  I suppose it has to do with animal rights and food safety concerns etc but i am pretty sure those things cross the aisle both ways.  I don't know many people who like to think of their breakfast as having been manufactured in a horror show cage factory no mater who they voted for in the 2008 election.

But just for the record: No the chickens aren't a political statement.  I don't even refuse to buy normal non-cage free eggs at the grocery store.  Generally i just go for what is cheapest!  I just like the idea of raising some of my own food and free range back yard chickens are a cool way to do that. Plus they are cute, and its going to be a blast for Maggie to go out to the coop and find green and blue eggs.  I like taking care of them and hanging out with them.  The whole thing is just really cool and fun.  Sorta the opposite of politics actually!

So while my intention in buying them isn't political, there certainly is no lack of politics among them!  You've heard the term "pecking order" i assume?  Do you realize that it comes from a very real chicken concept?  Chickens, hens in particular, develop a pecking order, to determine who is the queen hen and which of the rest are lesser hens.  Who can get away with pecking whom is really the thing here.

So far, my ladies have not worked out who is the top chicken.  It seems to be a tie between Dorothy and Esther.

Esther (pinky brown eggs)
Dorothy (green/blue eggs)
These two ladies are the bravest, most likely to come up to me when i come in in the morning.  Dorothy is an obvious favorite for Top Chick because shes the biggest.  Physically, shes just the dominant girl.  But Esther is probably one of the smaller chicks.  She still has fuzz on her head, where most of the others have feathers coming in.

How did she end up being so brave?  Well that's a great question.  Esther has been handled more than any of the others.  She isn't afraid of anything because for the first two weeks we had her, i held her every day.  And just to give her some chick love.  No no no.  Every single day, for two weeks i spent 5 min a day wiping Esther's butt.

Ya you read that right.

Esther had Pasty Butt.  When i first got her, she had no feathers on her booty and it was constantly being pecked at by herself and the other chicks.  I took an ipad picture:

 See? it was so embarrassing that Tululah was ashamed to look. Her little booty was out there to be seen by God and everybody!  And that brave little chick sole sat with me every day while I wiped her little heiner clean and put vaseline on it.  Thats real love i tell ya.

See Esther on the right there?  She has no fear of the flailing one year old.
So as a result of her excessive handling, and apparent favoritism, she is now not afraid of me, or anything for that matter.  That means she gets all the treats first, and she gets let outside first, she gets cuddled more etc.  So in spite of her small size, she seems to be co-captain with Ms. "Check out my fancy head feathers" Dorothy.

So the bottom of the pecking order seems to be a toss up between Polish and Betsy.

Betsy (green/blue eggs)

Crazy Polish (white eggs)
Polish is low girl on the totem pole for obvious reasons. Although since shes so crazy they usually ignore her.  Betsy however is still pretty unfeathered and pretty wimpy.  I am confident shes on the bottom cause i've watched Ruth peck her head until she dropped the spinach she was carrying so that Ruth could take it. So Ruthie is in the middle somewhere but she's certainly higher than Bets
Ruth: spinach thief (pinky brown eggs)

Other White Chicken (probably green/blue eggs)

The other two are Tululah and Other White Chicken.
 They are pretty middle of the pack.  They also happen to be Maggie's favorites.  She wakes up in the morning and says "I can go get my white chicken!" like shes offering to help you somehow!

Other White Chicken came to us at the same time as Polish, a little later than the other girls.  I wanted another chick just like Tululah (an Ideal 236) because Tululah will lay large white eggs 300 days a year.  However as they get bigger I'm pretty sure that Other White Chicken is the same breed as Bets and Dorothy (easter eggers. they lay green and blue eggs).  So OWC will give us about a third less eggs than Tululah but shes still pretty cute.

Tululah (white eggs) and Esther, not being afraid of Maggie either
How can i tell they aren't the same? Tululah has a single comb and orange legs, OWC has a pea comb and greenish legs.

So, that is an exhaustive guide to the ladies and their politics. And now, speaking of exhausted, i will head off to roost.  i mean sleep. =)


  1. I already know all of this stuff and I still enjoyed reading it! Keep it up!

  2. BTW, is Esther's butt better?

  3. Yes, Esther's butt now looks just like any other chicken's butt. =)