On New Year’s Eve, we had to say goodbye to our sweet hen, Alberta. She started having trouble with one of her legs 2 weeks earlier which degenerated into full lower body paralysis, and even after 2 visits to the avian vet, we’re still not entirely sure what caused it. She apparently had a kidney infection, and a sizable tapeworm, either of which could have contributed to nerve / spinal damage, or it could have been something else entirely. We will miss cuddling her and admiring her gorgeous stained glass feathers.
This tragic event left us in a lone hen situation once again. We decided to get 3 new girls (2 backups this time!) 4 months old, so they would be old enough and big enough to join Frances right away… the nights (and some days) have been dipping into freezing temperatures, and we’ve even had a bit of snow.
They are all beautiful, sweet Easter Egger pullets, so we are looking forward to blue or green eggs in March.. just in time for Easter! We’ve given them them all old-fashioned lady names to go with Frances… all starting with “A” in homage to Alberta. And they have middle / nick names to match their head colors: Agatha Blackberry, Alma Raspberry, and Annette Goldie.
Frances, understandably, is not entirely thrilled with her territory being invaded by strangers. They have had relatively peaceful nights together, although there have been some skirmishes about roosting positions, and she pecks at them and chases them occasionally… especially when she feels her resources are being threatened. So mostly they’ve been keeping their distance from her and banding together.
But so far this integration process is going more quickly and easily than our last one with Gloria… and hopefully nobody will be completely traumatized or chased out of our backyard before peace has truly been established.
The new girls are still a bit shy with us, but Agatha Blackberry (the most daring and inquisitive) will jump in my lap, or on my head or shoulder if she’s feeling especially threatened (just like Alberta did), and once we are holding any of them, they settle right in for a cuddle, so they must have been used to being handled by humans.
Aren’t Agatha’s random grey feathers cool? She looks like an abstract artist took an airbrush to her back.
Annette Goldie (the most graceful and no-nonsense) has such a lovely gradient from her gold head to her black tail.
And Alma Raspberry’s sweet red head won us over at first sight. She is the most shy and probably will be lowest in the pecking order. But she and Annette seem to be besties.
Welcome to our backyard, little girls! May your lives here be long and happy!