Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Got a call this morning from Mary Mary, a regular commenter over at the Pet Connection blog.

Apparently, after years of being widely known as the Dog Lady, I am now the designated Chicken Lady.

A senior prank on the last day of school at a suburban high school left ten* young chickens in need of a refuge. (I did make it clear that we aren't a farm sanctuary, and don't guarantee cockerels a sinecure.)

Mary's young friend and her Dad delivered them this afternoon, and I set them up in the now-disused foster dog kennel. (New poultry need to be quarantined from the resident flock.)

There appear to be four cockerels and six pullets. Maybe about five weeks old? What kind is a mystery to me. They appear to be white at first glance, but almost all of them have some brown splotches here and there. They aren't leghorns, nor, thankfully, Cornish crosses.

They were delighted with their new temporary digs and immediately went to work scratching and pecking. They know all about using a roost, and are very lively.

Any ideas about what breed(s) these guys might be?

(Edit: Mount Healthy hatchery has agreed that these appear to be Amberlink hybrid layers, which are only sold by Mount Healthy. Many of our local feed stores deal with Mount Healthy for chicks. They are characterized in the catalog as active foragers and productive brown egg layers with nice temperaments. They should fit in well here and do well under our kind of husbandry.)


* So we can be very grateful the Class of '99 didn't think of this one.


  1. I was going to say "regular" but I thought that might make me sound stupid.

  2. Our working hypothesis now is that they are an egg-laying hybrid called an "Amber Link." Waiting to hear back from the hatchery in OH that sells them with an opinion on the pix.

    If so, I got six nice additions to my laying flock -- they are reputed to be very productive and excellent foragers.

  3. I just want the regular kind that lay eggs and walk around and stuff - not the ones that grow into giants and can't stand up due to their weight. Maybe these Amber Links would be a good kind for me.

    Unrelated but since you are The Chicken Lady - Are chickens especially frightened of things? Just curious how the word "chicken" got to be synonymous with lack of bravery.

  4. Shirley, there are literally hundreds of neat egg-laying breeds, and many different kinds of hybrids, all easily available by mail-order as day-old chicks, or fairly cheap as older chooks off any Craig's list or farm newspaper near you.

    I pick breeds that please me aesthetically, are well-adapted to my climate and husbandry, lay lots of eggs, and have quiet, calm temperaments. I don't care for "flighty" chickens, like leghorns, or my three annoying Daughters of Henery, who inherited his silver-spangled Hamburg penchant for freakouts. They are good layers but bad tenants.

    I don't think chickens are especially chicken. My ducks are much more scared of stuff. The chickens may make a kerfluffle if startled, but they tend to come back quickly, and are curious about things, especially things that might be good to eat.

    Roosters will fight to the death and take one for the team to protect their ladies, and broody hens will fight to YOUR death to defend their peepers, so definitely not chicken then!

  5. I love the word "kerfluffle."

  6. Hamburgs are Eeeeeeeeevil. Kaylee has a MAJOR hate for the feral hamburg roo that escaped from the neighbors. He's nastier than the free-range (and I do mean FREE RANGE as their 'owner' lives ALL the way at the other end fo the neighborhood) gamecocks who like to behave like little gang thugs in the road.

  7. Shirley ... Of all the amble-around-kinda-pet-kinda-egger chickens I have, I like the New Hampshire Reds and Rhode Island Reds best. They're friendly, healthy and productive.

    Plus a couple of Americunas just because the green-shelled eggs are cool.

  8. OK thanks Heather and Gina. Seems like there are so many choices available to us in this world, sometimes I get overwhelmed. I wouldn't mind a grocery store that sold one kind of each thing, in a generic package labeled "cereal", "soap", etc.

  9. Cait, I really liked our Hamburg roo, Henery Hawk, but he became aggressive towards strangers, and eventually Perfesser Chaos. When a child was visiting and wanted the liberty of the farm, I would require that Rosie go along as escort. She had no trouble sorting out Henery.

    After PC accidentally broke his leg and I set it and nursed him, he was a shell of his former roo-ness -- picked on by the new cockerels, unable to do right by the hens, and couldn't stand on the roost. But he also no longer charged my guests.

    We were lucky to be able to rehome him in a pet chicken home where he has a silkie hen to huddle with on the coop floor.

    His offspring were/are all amazing pills. His sons were all date-rapists, and were sent to freezer camp. The hens are great layers, but constantly getting into trouble.

  10. Shirley --

    You can buy an assortment from a lot of hatcheries, where they send you whatever they've got extras of.

    Like this one:


    You can generally easily sell or trade whatever birds you don't want to keep.

    Or if you just want three or five hens and go to the feed store, you will get whatever they stock -- so no choice involved!

    Just be sure to always buy PULLETS, not "straight run."

  11. Hi Heather,

    I love your post on petmd about aggressive dogs. I was wondering if I might contact you concerning my dog. You can read my post on petmd under the same aggressive dog article my user name is rockjdog.

    I am not sure how to contact you so I hope you will see this.

    My email is haditspentit@yahoo.com


  12. Hey, I just saw this!

    So glad the chickens are going to stay with you (though that was not my expectation ... I just wanted them away from that high school.)

    Thanks for helping. What an adventure for my young friend on her last day of high school!

    OH and the eggs are fantastic. Happy eggs from happy hens.


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