Meet Silver, the least imaginatively named of all our chickens. As the title suggests she is a silver-laced wyandotte. I have tried hard not to allow the chickens to end up with names like Brownie and Blackie and Whitey and Goldie, but sometimes things just happen. Kids call them what they want to call them or they don’t display enough personality at first to come up with a name and by then the names based on coloring have stuck. Like many of our chickens, Silver is reaching her first birthday and she has grown up to be a very big girl. She even beats out our barred Plymouth Rock and our Black Australorps for size.
Silver did not have the best time of it when she was small. We originally brought her home with another of her kind. Silver survived but the other did not. Because we knew how beautiful she would grow up to be we went back and got another chick. Within two days it had died. Those two have been our only two chick deaths in 3 years. It was sad, but it was bound to happen at some point.
Silver soldiered on. It turns out that every chick in the batch she was born in died except her. Actually all the chicks in that pen of any sort didn’t make it. Some kind of illness. But Silver had a hardy constitution and she never showed any signs of illness. And she grew up to be amazingly beautiful, sweet, and shy. She is last in the pecking order, but I think she’s finally starting to realize that the littler hens that pick on her are in fact littler. She’s no longer last to the treats, she doesn’t hang back like she used to, and unless it’s Queen or Patricia (ladies 1 and 2 in the pecking order), she is starting to give back as good as she gets. It’s kind of nice seeing her come into her own and be less and less a victim of hen politics.
What I love best about Silver is how gentle she is. She’s willing to be held by the kids and loves to hang out on the porch swing with anyone who happens by. She talks in a little murmur and just seems to be content most of the time. And her eggs are the biggest. She is a good layer, who delivers without fail. And she is starting to show a lot of curiosity. Yesterday, when I didn’t get the shed latched behind me when I was feeding the rabbits, she hopped up and came in for a looksee. She was a little startled by what she saw, but it was funny how she started murmuring to me, as if she were telling me all about these surprising new interlopers.
And speaking of the inhabitants of the rabbit shed they are all doing very well. Leo has allowed my son to hold him. Phoebe is growing well. I think she may have put on half a pound since we brought her home. Two days ago 2 of the kits started eating pellets and yesterday all of them were. And I thought Piper was eating a lot. I’ve had to fill the hopper a lot yesterday and today. It is a good thing I go out for a mid-day check. They are also drinking tons of water, so their large water bottle gets refilled morning and night and gets topped off mid-day when necessary. Everyone is eating hay. The kits have started to nibble on it. It’s adorable.
We need to find something better for under the rabbit cages. What we have under there is not quite big enough. The droppings aren’t so bad because they can be swept up, but when the urine misses it’s gross. Took me about 30 minutes to clean everything up on the floor. We are going to do some reorganizing and getting things covered better. I think I am going to check at Goodwill for some old towels that I can use and see if they have a cheap mop. Or possibly a squeegee.
If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t have gotten hutches like these. I would have gotten the stacking tier cages from bass equipment with dropping trays that slide right under the bottom of the cage and match the size perfectly and have urine guards to protect things better. It is amazing how much these guys can produce. I still might go ahead and get those. I think it would be worth the investment and is a better long term situation. I could use the hutches as grow out cages. Well, you live and learn. We knew this would be such an experience. We are definitely learning.