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Meet the Flock, Part 6 August 9, 2007

Posted by Laura in Farm.
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Russia and Psycho-Frizzle 

In this series of posts, I’ve tried to share the personalities and unique characteristics of some of our poultry.  Some readers are regular egg customers and like the idea of really knowing where their food is coming from.  Others that have requested more in this series just really enjoy hearing more about an aspect of farm living they will probably not experience themselves.  A few have met these critters and experienced their quirks first hand- they read with a wry grin.

 

This installment is a bit different than previous ones.  All the others have been about chickens we still have.  This one is more of a tribute or memorial, if you will.

 

Though I have mentioned these banty hens in previous posts, neither had ever gotten her due “15 minutes of fame.”  Both were favorites of mine.

 

 russiabadhair7-21-06.jpg 

(Russia on a “bad hair day,” shortly after a rain). 

Russia was a black Silkie, named for the fluffy “hat” that reminded me of the tall fur caps often pictured on men in Siberia.  She had shiny black eyes, 5 toes on each foot (instead of the usual 4), and had black skin under her fuzz (instead of the usual yellowish-white skin).  Silkies were called that because their feathers do not lie flat in overlapping layers, but rather feel like down.

 russiaturkeymama.jpg

(Russia hatched and raised a turkey.  This picture was taken when she was teaching the baby what to eat at about 2 days old.  A short time later, it was hilarious to see her try to usher the baby that was as big as she was under her wing). 

Russia was one of our best broodies, too.  She also volunteered to set any other eggs I gave her.  She was a great mom and lost her life defending her babies from a raccoon.

 

frizzlebantam1-08-07.jpg

 

PsychoFrizzle was a Cochin bantam that carried the frizzle gene.  That meant that her feathers were a bit kinky and also curled up and back toward her head.  She was a bit neurotic and tended to overreact with a great deal of squawking and running about over even small perceived infractions. 

 frizzlerussiai4-01-07.jpg 

At the time of this picture, both girls were broody.  Russia was patiently and obediently setting eggs in the brooding house I put her in.  PsychoFrizzle had a thing about being alone.  She’d gladly set eggs, but only if she had someone to talk to.  (I can’t say I really blame her- 3 weeks is a long time to entertain yourself).  I put her into her own house with her own eggs and she’d bolt to Russia’s house the first opportunity she had.  Finally, I just let her bunk with Russia since Russia had begrudgingly allowed it.

 

Both ladies hatched out a clutch of eggs, but Psycho had to finish raising both sets.  Shortly after the chicks had feathered out, she disappeared. 

PsychoFrizzle had had a brush with death right in front of my eyes about a year ago.  I was standing about 30 feet away when a hawk dove down and made a grab for her directly in front of the henhouse door.  Psycho’s fancy feathers made her look deceivingly larger than she actually was, so the hawk didn’t get a good grasp on her.  As I ran across the yard (pregnant body making me oh-so-graceful J) waving my arms and yelling at the top of my lungs, the hawk tried to carry her off.  All she got was a fistful of curly feathers and Psycho took cover in the coop.  (Bless her little heart- she didn’t come out from under the nesting boxes for 3 days!).  I don’t know for sure what happened to her recently, but I suspect the hawk got a better hold this time.

 

I debated about posting Russia and PsychoFrizzle’s stories, but I really liked them, miss them, and wanted to give a little tribute to the girls. 

More stories with happier endings to come.

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