Backyard Chickens: Meet the Newest Member

February 26, 2014


After we lost Olive Snook in January, we weren't sure how to proceed. Our options were to: A. Do nothing and hope the three remaining hens would provide enough eggs for the two of us this year, B. Purchase and raise a few more chicks in spring, or C. Find someone selling or giving away a pullet near the same age as our girls. For us, the choice was cut and dry.

With three hens left, our backyard flock was feeling lonely, so we scoured through local Craigslist ads and found a lady who was selling her seven-month-old Black Copper Marans pullets. These particular girls didn't meet breed showing standards for whatever reason, yet they were perfectly healthy, and were just starting to lay those beautiful, dark brown eggs the breed is famous for, so we sent her an e-mail, and came home with one of her girls two days later.


Her name is Milly, and after spending some time in isolation (to ensure minimal contamination of disease), and very slow and supervised integration, she is now one of the flock. From what I can tell, she ranks #2 in the pecking order (below Starbuck, our Buff Orpington, of course), even though she's a little younger and a little smaller than both Seven and Amelia. It'll be interesting to watch how the flock politics play out over the next few months.

Aside from the stress and anxiety that comes from introducing a new bird into the flock, I'm really happy with Milly. She has a quiet yet active personality, and she's getting more people-friendly by the day. And, as of Friday, she's laying eggs! I'm definitely a sucker for those dark brown, speckled eggs.


A couple nights ago, I went out and took a shot with my phone's camera of the girls sleeping on the roost. Milly is the small black bird on the right. She's squashed between my big Buff Orpington and my little Easter Egger. You can see she still has some growing to do.

I wanted to mention one thing I've noticed since losing my Welsummer: the flock is much quieter now, even with the addition of Milly. Welsummers make beautiful birds with beautiful eggs, and I was very fond of Olive Snook, but she was definitely the loudest of the flock, which is something people tend to say about the breed. It's something to keep in mind if you're worried about upsetting your neighbors.


  1. Oh man, I'm so excited to go get chicks next week! ♥
    Good job on integrating her in. That can be hard at times.

  2. If I had to limit myself to two breeds forevermore, it would be Marans and Buff's. Good personalities, good egg layers, and just all around happy little ladies!

  3. Welcome, Milly!!! Always good to hear how the ladies are doing.

  4. @Milla: Hurray for chicks! I miss having tiny little peepers running around. I hope we get to see them on your blog. :)

    @Meryl: I can totally see why. They're so docile and friendly, and they make hardly any noise. When they DO get loud, they sound like honking geese. So cute. :)

    @SDQuilter: Thank you! I'm always worried I'm boring people with my chicken posts, but this is the sort of thing I wanted to read about when I was first learning about them. :)

  5. Welcome, Milly! She's lovely, I'm glad your flock feels complete again and that the other three have accepted her.

  6. Oh my, this would be such a dream to have chicks! One day, one day...

    The last picture is hilarious :)

  7. Well now...a big welcome to Milly, she is very pretty!

    Love that 'rear' photo of all of the girls.

    Wishing you and Matt a lovely weekend. xo

  8. Hello fellow Oregonian! (Found your blog via Liesl Made) Really enjoying your blog and photography!

  9. @katrina: It was a little stressful at first with all the pecking order business, but everyone seems to like everyone else now. So relieved!

    @beijingmandarine: I highly recommend chickens. So entertaining and fun. :)

    @Sherri: I take sooo many 'chicken butt' shots. I should start posting them on here more often. ;-)

    @Lori: Hello! Welcome to my blog, and thanks for the comment. :)

  10. Congrats on the addition of Milly! She's a lovely gal, just like the rest of your flock. :)

  11. Having had chickies before (we eat chickens, raise chickies in our home - helps our 3 year old distinguish between food and pets) our three hens matured nicely and started laying lots of eggs ... then all of a sudden there were missing eggs. Like your Starbuck they lay eggs all over the place. I thought they were eating them too. I was told to put a golf ball in the nest to see if that helped. It didn't ... then I saw the thief. Two round ears, a long wirey tail, whiskers and that unmistakable body type - yup! a rat! So - you may have an unwanted visitor stealing your eggs. Just a thought. Milly looks very sweet - so happy her new sisters took her in. <3