True stories of a small flock of remarkable individuals -- and other critters.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Four Nuggets


Born May 5 --- 

I raised them in the living room for the first two weeks. Not because I especially wanted to raise them indoors, but because they'd been vaccinated for Marek's Disease, and they needed a little time for their immune systems to kick in.  

Marek's Disease is a virus that thrives in my yard. I lost both Pigeon and Fern to the disease. Lucy has suffered from it, but she is a strong survivor so far.  I'm hopeful that the vaccine will protect the new little flock members. 

There was no shortage of fun activities for the chicks indoors.

They met THE HAND... 
---pretty darn exciting.

Then they met THE PAPER PLATE, with watermelon slices. 
 --- a little too scary.

They played a variety of sports.
Phoebe showed natural athletic potential... Jenny, not so much. 

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

Dorrie, the Barred Plymouth Rock, warmed right up to The Hand. 

I was alarmed that Dorrie sported a tiny comb on her little noggin from day one.  And from day one I was sick with worry. Was she a "he"?  I read that the boys are the most personable chicks.  Dorrie was by far the most personable. She was uniquely endearing.
I struggled to keep my heart in check while I searched the chicken sites for information on the sexing of Barred Rock chicks.
I posted the above photo on Facebook, asking knowledgeable chicken-friends whether Dorrie was a pullet or a roo. 

Many opinions and educated speculations were offered, but the response was pretty much 50-50.   So I continued to wring my hands over Dorrie and I tried not to fall in love with her.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

Meanwhile, Jenny the Australorp, who we named after our first Jenny, 
 sported no comb at all, thank goodness. 

Instead, Jenny had a curiously enormous head. I wondered about the size and complexity of the brain inside her huge chickie skull.  
Jenny grew twice as quickly as the others-- perhaps her body was trying to catch up to her hat size.
It occurred to me that she might actually be an ostrich.
Or an albatross?

. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

Now, Scarlett - she's my little Buckeye.  She's named after a flowering tree: the Scarlet Buckeye, and her adult feathering will be a deep red.
Her breed is supposed to be good at catching mice.
What they do with the mice once they catch them, I'm not sure.
Scarlett is a bit shy, so I don't know much about her personality yet.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

Phoebe, a Speckled Sussex,  
 is elegant and vivacious.    
And very photogenic.
Here's Phoebe at nine weeks:

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

And here's great big Jenny at nine weeks, with her friends Phoebe and Scarlett:
Jenny's still the largest.  She's a respectable and level-headed lady, and has accepted the leadership role of her young flock.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  

After nine weeks of worry, I can now officially declare Dorrie a GIRL.

I can tell by her stance, and by the shape and color of her feathers.  Thank goodness. Now I can sleep at night. 

Except now Dorrie is showing herself to be a spitfire and a daredevil.

She rushes to greet Marky, fearlessly.  
She taunts Daisy.... 
very foolishly.  

If we can keep her alive to adulthood despite her reckless tendencies, she may turn out okay. 

After all,  
she is quite handy with power tools, 

and she's an avid reader. 

So with a bit of luck, some smarts and wisdom may eventually displace the lunacy in that little head of hers.

....we'll see.


  1. They are so cute and are lucky to have you and Marky as family. Thanks for sharing - you have made my day!

  2. I feel as though these chicks are partly mine. XD They're such a precious pack of nuggets, lol. Thanks for sharing them with us, L.

  3. They are too cute for words and I want to gobble them up. I'm very glad to hear that Dorrie is a pullet. There is still an outside chance that our Agnes (Agnew) could be a pullet but I'm guessing not. I already brought home New Agnes just to hedge my bets. Your little flock is precious!!!

  4. Lauren, I just love your girls! Thank you for sharing them with us! ♥

  5. Just adorable! glad to hear that Dorrie is a girl, I was one of the one who had pegged her as a roo. It only goes to show you that where roos are concerned, it ain't over till the fat boy sings.


  6. Dorrie the Daredevil! S ort of like Pippi Longstockings

  7. I love the way you share about your love for your chickens, family, pets, and nature! May the Lord bless you richly! (^_^) Your cartoons are so cute and addictive! I'm so thankful for you! Love your book and blog! Keep up the good work!

    Sophie from California

  8. Love the new girls! What a bunch of sweeties!

  9. I love your blog and drawings, can't wait for your book to arrive today via Amazon! I was so disappointed when one of our Sicilian Buttercups (Cinnamon) turned out to be "Cinna-Man"! He's quite a crower but so far the neighbors in our country setting say they like him. One even leaves her window open a bit so she can hear the morning call...

  10. Love your posts! They just make me smile!

  11. I'm so glad Dorrie is a girl! Woohoo! They are all so beautiful. I have a favorite Speckled Sussex, so I am a bit partial to your Phoebe :) I can't believe how big Jenny is in comparison to all the other chicks. I love her black feathers! And that video of them on the playing field is so darn cute!

  12. the power tools pictures cracked me up! what a cute little flock of nuggets you have - i'm excited to read more about them!

  13. Lauren...

    Thanks for so many wonderful drawings and photos of the four nuggets and how they grew. Your posts are always a delight.

    xo, Rosemary

  14. love your new group of girls. I'm starting a new little flock also after a tragedy with my first flock. It's so easy to become attached to them. I really enjoy your blog. Check out mine sometime. Keep up the interesting stories. God Bless.

  15. They are so sweet, Lauren! I just love your illustrations and the way you tell their stories! Phoebe is soooo pretty! Love Speckled Sussex. I need some, don't you think?!

  16. I suspect I lost my little Melvin to Marek's, so when I get the courage to get a few new babies, I must check their vaccination records. I was going to wait, but your little nuggets are too cute, I might just need to take the plunge... They are so adorable!

  17. I have five different breeds of chickens and my barred rocks are by far the sweetest and most curious. Great post - love the video!

  18. I have been doing the same with 4 new make it look like fun having chickens, some sites are all gloom, it can't be that hard to have healthy chickens, they have been around forever, thanks, very delightful! ;)

  19. At last, hurrah! I have been checking in with you every day to see if there is news of your new flock and how wonderful they are.I know there will be many lovely stories to come and can't wait to see them. They are adorable and the video is so funny.What a wonderful flock you have.Can't wait to see more.

  20. Our two newest RI Reds are one week older. We have joined them to the flock last week. Very interesting how close they are to each other. The Ladies (Cinnamon, Jubilee, and Pepper) have not been to happy with our newest additions. Every day they bond and less chasing and squawking.

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  22. You certainly got birds of a different feather. Wise to get them immunised. Love the illustrations where Dorrie could go either way. We have an Ancona we were sure was a rooster until she started laying eggs in April.

  23. Loved your book and so enjoy your chicken blog.
    I have 5 girls, 4 are cochin bantams and one a reg easter egger. I love to watch them interact and get a kick out of their antics. People call me the Chicken Lady and probably think I'm nuts but they don't know what they are missing.
    Keep up your posts,

  24. Little Coop on the PrairieSeptember 16, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    I love your chickens!! Phoebe is my favorite. You should write another book. Starring Dorrie, Scarlet, Jenny, and Phoebe! :)

  25. I have a question. What chickens have you lost/gained since the book.

    1. Sadly, I had to put Lucy down this past October at the age of six and a half --- that's a ripe old age for a chicken. Wicked Lil'White is the only remaining lady from the original flock. I'll be writing about her soon, because she has undergone a miraculous transformation in the past six months. :)

  26. Love this! So cute!