Saturday, February 2, 2008

More exotic chickens

Bringing in two new pullets caused more excitement than the Polish girls have experienced since their first jumbo meal worms. They ran back and forth, caterwauling and bok-bok-boking. The new girls are an Americauna and a Modern Game fowl (photos below). For those who don’t know, an Americauna is an Araucana crossed with a good laying breed to produce a hen that will lay green eggs on a more consistent basis than the purebred Araucana. The Modern is the mini version of the English Game Fowl that was used for fighting and is now strictly ornamental—or should be. With their long legs and necks and sleek heads, the banties hardly look like chickens.

Naturally I had set out to buy just one hen but couldn’t resist the Modern, who looks smaller than an Amazon parrot. Both birds are four months old and come with a no rooster guarantee. If a pullet turns out to be a rooster, Bruce the chicken guy will exchange it as long as it’s OK with you that the rooster ends up on somebody’s dinner table. I really REALLY wanted to get one of the banty roosters but this isn’t the time.

And on this farm he had some piglets, grown-up pigs, and turkeys. The turkey cocks strutted around, displaying their wings and tails and puffing out their chests for the turkey hens. Best of all, Bruce had two Airedales--one adult male getting shoulder-deep in mud and one female puppy who hovered at the edge of the mud field. The puppy was three or four months old and absolutely friendly as most puppies are. She had excellent coloring, very black coat and deep rust-colored markings. As she followed me a few feet up the driveway, I wanted to scoop her up and take her home, too, because she was chicken-proofed like the adult dog with no interest in chasing chickens.

On the way home I stopped at the feed store for supplies, looking like one of the guys in my muddy boots and dried mud up my jeans to the hem of my parka (Airedales love to jump up on people). Then I went to the grocery store where I looked a bit out of place among all the well-washed people. At least I checked my boots before going in to make sure I wouldn’t be tracking chicken poo around.

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