People’s Favorite Chickens

There have been lots of replies to what your favorite chickens are.  Some of them we’ve never heard of before, like hsbdfjas and cifgewhuechu–random strings of letters.  It appears that the comments are spam.  If you are a spam bot, please stop visiting this page.  Thank you.  Here are some real chicken breeds.

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Cochin.

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Buff Orphington.

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Jersey Giant.

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Russian Orloff.

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Chicken Spotlight: Dragon

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Dragon is a Russian Orloff hen.  She is extremely tame, and likes to eat cheese.  She is high up in the pecking order, and is in charge of the younger birds.  After her last molt, her feathers came in lighter, and her color pattern is beautiful.

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For more pictures of Dragon: http://www.bigthingscoop.com/the-coop/dragons-gallery/

Big Thing

 


How to Get Best-of-Show Eggs

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 Hens like to hide their nests.


Getting twelve eggs to enter in a show or fair is difficult.  The eggs should be uniform, and of the same color and size.  One of our best laying hens always eats or claws up the eggs she lays.  Some of the others hide their nests.  If you are in this situation, the only way to get a good dozen eggs is to start saving them at least a month before you need them (the only way to do this is to refrigerate the eggs.

By the time over a month has passed, the eggs may not be good to eat.  But that doesn’t matter, since at most fairs the eggs are judged on appearance, not taste (there may be exceptions).  Just be careful that you don’t break any of them, or the smell may not be pleasant.

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Some hens will eat their own eggs.


 

To get the eggs looking good, we have found that it works best to was the eggs the day before.  We take a paper towel soaked in soapy water and scrub them off.  Usually you can scrub calcium deposits off the egg if you want to.

Once you have saved and cleaned the eggs, you need to sort them to pick out the best ones.  Usually it takes a lot of eggs to get a dozen good ones.


Why Chickens Dustbathe

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Chickens dustbathe to keep their feathers clean.


Chickens dustbathe mainly to clean their feathers.  Yes, dust sounds dirty, but it is the way chickens keep themselves clean.  Birds that don’t have access to a dust bath can get mites–dustbathing helps to prevent your chicken from getting infested.

Even if you supply your chickens with a nice sandy dust bath, they’ll prefer to dig their own.  Our chickens dug one several feet deep under a tree.  The dirt there stays dry all year because the tree keeps off the rain.  Also, chickens prefer a dry dirt dust bath to one made of sand.  They generally want their dust bath under the cover of a tree or roof–it makes them feel safer.

Chickens dustbathe by sitting down in a patch of dirt, digging a hole, and then rolling around in it while ruffling their feathers.  They like to dust bathe for a long time–sometimes for over an hour!  Mother hens teach their chicks to dustbathe when they are extremely young.  Dustbathing is an important part of a chicken’s life.

Below: How chickens dustbathe–demonstrated by Flinty, an Auracana hen.DSC01457 DSC01463

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How to Show Chickens Successfully

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Even the best bird won’t always win.


Showing chickens is exciting.  When people first start, they imagine themselves–and their birds–winning big prizes.  But in reality, this doesn’t always happen.  If you’re really showing your chicken just for the sake of being at the show, winning should be just as fun as losing.  But sometimes it’s not.  Imagine that you’ve had a really bad day, and your prize bird has not placed in any classes.  You’ve been planning for this show for months.  To top it all off, it’s a cold rainy day.  Accept it as a bad show and don’t feel glum.  There’s always another show.  People always say that they don’t care if they win.  I don’t believe a word of it.  It’s better just to acknowledge that you want to win and make it your goal than doing nothing and pretending you don’t want to and then getting all jealous when other people win.  But don’t get into the mindset where you must win at all costs.  Don’t criticize others to make yourself feel better.  This is not a good place to be.

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 A big part of showing is learning to lose.


Showing is a game.  Even if your bird is the best in the class (you think), the judge won’t always think so.  If you do badly after preparing your bird and getting ready for the show, you’ve done your best.  There’s nothing you can do about it.  Accept your loss.  Someone else also put a lot of work in and they happened to do better than you.  Congratulate them and try to do better next time.

Sometimes the quality at a show is just so high that the class placing becomes what the judge likes best.  Sometimes the judge wants to give everyone a ribbon, but there are more birds than ribbons in the class.

Sometimes people win after putting in absolutely no work.  They just get lucky.  Maybe they’re borrowing a winning bird.  Maybe they have a really good coach to teach them showmanship.  Accept that too.  I’m sure this will happen to you sometime.

And when you do win, be nice about it.  You did your best and your best was better than someone else’s that day.  Enjoy it–even the most show-type birds don’t win every time.

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Enjoy your wins–they may be few and far-between.


Showing should be about meeting a standard of excellence, and not being “better” than others.  Once you have achieved excellence through hard work, it sometimes results in a win.  Winning is fun.  It’s true.  But to be a truely successful chicken shower, you need to know how to lose.

BigThingsCoop

–BigThingsCoop