Things had been chugging along relatively fuss-free with our 3 young hens. We had been experiencing a few very loud squawking events a week, each time requiring that I go outside to get the chicken’s attention, which then totally stopped the yelling that she was doing. It was (for the most part) at a manageable level, albeit annoying at times. Part of the understanding that we came to when I essentially forced Craig into letting me get chickens, was that we aim for quiet chickens, and that loud ones do not have a place in our yard. We don’t need to be “those neighbors” with the noisy pets. It is not endearing.
It has been an eventful week. We got our first egg on Friday (small but cracked) and then a second one again on Sunday. But boy-o! Sunday morning was a rough experience. For about 5 hours, the chickens made so much noise. It wasn’t just one of them either. They were making the loudest noises that they could muster. We were in our house with the windows closed, the AC on, and a television show playing, and we could clearly hear the ba-GAWKing of those stinkin’ birds in our yard. My presence to distract them didn’t seem to make much of a difference. Things had come to a head. We had to get rid of the chickens. I was devastated, but maintaining our relationships with our neighbors as well as a peaceful marriage is far more important than a handful of eggs and the hilarious antics that come from.. well… bird brains. So I photographed them, and posted them up on my local chicken facebook group, offering them to whoever could come get them first. Strangely enough, after the final plans had been set, they quieted right down! A woman who lives nearby and has an acre and a whole pile of chickens already came and got them. And the next day, informed me that one is a rooster! He had not yet started crowing, but had the telltale spur that the hens did not. I didn’t know to look for it, and it wasn’t even on my radar that I might have ended up with a male, so it was a total surprise to me! Either way, this woman had already been gifted “my pretties.”
Craig was sad too. We both loved the chickens. They are hilarious, cute, ridiculous, and they also make eggs (I love eggs). We have both put so much time, effort, and emotional energy into having a flock of backyard poultry that we are not quite ready to give up. We agreed to find a few hens that have been “verified quiet.” Of course any chickens are going to make noise, it is part of them being alive and chickens, but certain individuals are certainly noisier than others. Just as one of our dogs rarely barks, certain hens are far less predisposed to talk for the sake of hearing their own voice. I found someone who lives nearby to us and has so many chickens. We spent a few minutes in their chicken yard with them, selecting a few that first and foremost are not noisemakers, and after that, not bullies, and after that, have potentially neat eggs. Icing on the cake is that they said to hold onto their number, and if one of the birds ends up being a noisemaker, we can “trade her in” for another bird. This makes the whole setup more appealing. Either way, we ended up with:
A year old Red Sex Link – These chickens have a tendency to be less prone to being scared by predators than the average(not good for free-ranging survival, but great for my totally secure backyard setup). They lay large eggs often, which will probably result in a shorter laying lifespan (thus a shorter altogether lifespan in my yard), but are generally friendly with people. In the several hours we’ve had them, it’s become clear that she is the dominant bird. Here’s hoping we don’t have a bully on our hands! The name “sex link” is because at hatch, all of the males are yellowy blonde, and the females are a more distinct brownish color. Hence, the color is linked to the sex of the bird.
A 4ish month old Black Langshan – This is a breed of chickens that originated in Asia. I have found very conflicting information regarding the commonality of this bird. Many places say they’re “endangered” but then other places classify them as common. I don’t know. What I do know is that so far, this is my favorite of the three. They have crazy long legs that have feathers running down the whole outside so they kind of look like fringed chaps. They move like tiny raptors, are fast runners, and so far, this individual bird seems to be the most chill of the three. Someone compared them to her great dane dogs, tall, stately, and the “king” of her flock. Apparently depending on the line the birds come from, they are nearly as tall as turkeys. I am very much looking forward to watching this little lady fill in a bit.
A young (probably 4ish months old as well – not sure if she’s laying yet) Easter Egger – This is not actually a breed of chicken. Easter Eggers are birds that have been bred and crossed to produce colored eggs. These can vary from light to dark, and range between blue, green, and pink. This particular bird is an Ameraucana cross. Ameraucanas are crosses of Auracanas which are a silly little rumpless bird that has a tendency to be a little more difficult to keep than standard backyard flock stock. Either way, she is a major mutt and seems to be the least outgoing of the bunch so far. Here is hoping that she has really neat eggs.
We have had the birds for less than 24 hours at this point, so time will tell if they are actually as quiet as we are hoping. We will give it a little time and a lot of hoping. If it doesn’t end up working out, we’ll have to tear down the enclosure and come up with a gardening plan for that shady corner that now has very fertile soil!