Eggs through the Mail

Back in late June I bought 18 eggs through the mail. I wanted a dozen black Langshan eggs. The Langshan is a cool breed of chickens. Tall and elegant with an enormous tail and a sweeping U shaped profile. The description from the American Standard of Perfection.

“The Black Langshan originated in China, where it has been bred over a long period of years. Its prepotent reproductive qualities indicate it to be a pure race of domesticated poultry. Black Langshans were imported from China into England by the late Major Croad, so there is a Class of “Croad Langshans” in the English Standard. They became a Standard variety[APA standard] in this country in 1883.

Langshans are dual purpose fowls of the Asiatic Class, being smaller than the Brahma and Cochin and more active. The male develops a large, well-spread tail with feathers of great length, the sickles often attaining a length of sixteen or seventeen inches. The closely-fitting saddle feathers, fully-hackled neck and upright carriage give the effect of a short back. The surface plumage throughout is close and smooth. The body in both sexes should be evenly balanced on firm, straight legs, with very little backward bend at the hocks. The height of the Langshan should be gained by depth of body and erectness of carriage, and not from what may be described as stiltiness of legs. Close-standing hocks and narrowness of body are highly objectionable.

This is a general purpose fowl for production of meat and eggs. The skin color is white and the eggs shells are very dark brown.”

You can see why I wanted some. Due to some mishaps the lady I bought them from sent me a half dozen bonus eggs from a breed of chicken called a Sulmtaler. A new breed to America originally from Austria.

This was my first time ordering eggs online. I had always been scared. I had heard stories about how the post service breaks all the eggs or at the very least shakes them up so that they don’t hatch. The thought of paying large sums of money for special, exotic eggs and then having none hatch worried me. I finally broke down. I really wanted some Langshan and this seemed like the best way to get some.

I decided to use my Lyon incubator to hatch the eggs. It was my first time using this incubator. Not a great idea to experiment with using a new incubator with fancy, shipped eggs.

I am not sure what the problem was. Maybe the egg turner didn’t work, maybe the humidity or temperature was off or maybe it was the fact that the eggs were shipped. Whatever the cause I only hatched four chicks. One Sulmtaler and three Langshan.

On day 21….Not chicks! And then slowly a Sulmtaler broke free. Arnold (like the the governor) .

Arnold Sulmlater

Arnold Sulmtaler

I was so bummed only 1 chick had hatched….But I waited and on day 22. I looked and a chick had already peeped and hatched. He did it so quickly I named him Bolt (like the sprinter).


Bolt, hatched extremely quickly

Bolt, hatched extremely quickly

The next two took their time but eventually managed to hatch. langshan_chick_confucius

Confucius, named after the wise Chinese philosopher.

and lastly…langshan_chick_mulan

Mulan. Named after one of the greatest movies of all time.


Besides having a low hatch rate (3/18) 17%,  and hatching late. My chicks had something else odd about them…They are missing part of their toes!

img_4301 img_4298 img_4303

It doesn’t seem to bother them. They are all growing up tall and strong.


Mom hatches babies


“Ok fine if you won’t stop being broody I will give you some eggs.” 21 days ago I had this conversation with one of my hens. I was shocked that she had decided to go broody. She had only started laying eggs a couple of weeks before. Now she had decided that she wanted to be a mom. She was determined. I tried to kick her off the nest for a week or two before I relented. So I picked 11 eggs that looked cool and put them under her.


Here are the eggs I selected. The blue eggs are from my cream legbar hens, the white eggs are from either my Egyptian Fayoumis or White faced Spanish, the brown eggs maybe my Naked Necks and lastly the Olive eggs and cream egg from my mixes. None of the breeds are separated so any of the roosters could breed with any of the hens.

On November 16, I was nervous. Listening to hear if I could make out any peeping in the nest. I poked my hand in and come out with a little fluff ball. That night I moved them out of the nest into a nice cozy cage for the mom to show the chicks how to eat and drink. I was also able to count and get  better look at the chicks. 10 had hatched but only 8 had made it. One chick had accidently been stepped on by the mom (named Greyi) and the other has disappeared. I have no idea where it went. Anyways I now have 8 adorable chicks.

Here they are…

Three Naked Neck mixes, two black chicks, one barred chick, one blue chick and, one blue barred chick with feathered legs. I am really curious to see how they develop as they get older. This wild mixing of genes can be kind of fun. Each chick has its unique look from the pure  yellow Naked Neck to almost pure black chick they are all extremely cute. So please help me by volunteering names for each of them.


The Third Batch of Chicks

Some music to go with your reading.

I hatched a second batch of chicks. This was a group from Papa’s Poultry. Papa’s Poultry is a family raising chickens in Redding, CA. He has a long list of chicken breeds. I was most interested in his Gold Laced Orpingtons and his Lavender Marans (project). We stopped there on our way home from Lassen National Park.


A sampling of the eggs from Papa’s Poultry

I paid for a fair number of eggs and he gave me 32 eggs which was significantly more than I paid for. On 7/3/2016 the glorious day happened and 12 chicks hatched. I was a little disappointed about the number that had hatched. That is the problem with buying eggs. You never know how many are going to hatch. There are so many factors that can go wrong. That pdf shows the long list of ways that you can have a poor hatch. I am still not sure what went wrong. Something did and that resulted in me only getting a 38% hatch rate.

The chicks that did hatch included 6 Cream Legbars, 3 Gold Laced Orpingtons, 2 Lavender Marans, and 1 Blue Laced Red Wyandotte.



Wynonna is my Blue Laced Red Wyandotte. The Blue Laced Red Wyandotte is one of the most beautiful chickens in the world. It is not in the APA Standard of Perfection but it has been around a long time. Jerry Foley is an expert breeder in this color and has plenty of information about when it was developed. He also sells young chickens but email him soon he sells out quick. Also bring your checkbook each bird is $150 but worth every penny.





Selma and Patty are my two Lavender Marans. Marans are famous for their dark chocolate eggs. Marans originated in France. The most common colors are Black Copper and Cuckoo. Papa’s Poultry has decided to experiment and started breeding a lavender color. He is still working on breeding the dark egg color back in the variety. The color lavender or self blue is the result in the mutation of just one gene called the…”lavender” gene (lav). The lavender gene is a recessive gene. It affects both the black(eumelanin) and red/brown (phaeomelanin) pigments unlike the blue gene which only affects the black(eumelanin) pigment.

Selma and Patty are both turning out to be roosters but I think their namesakes would still be proud.


I hatched three Gold Laced Orpingtons. Orpingtons are large, loose feathered chickens. They were developed in England in a town called Orpington. Orpingtons were developed by William Cook in 1886. They caused quite a stir when the breed was first exhibited. It is still a very popular breed, being known as docile and laying a fair number of eggs. It also comes in a wide range of beautiful colors although only a few varieties are recognized by the APA. The Gold Laced variety is not recognized but it is beautiful and I am excited to have these grow up. The plumpness allows plenty of room to show off their colorful feathers. You can see how broad the breed is. Even as chicks these fine ladies are as wide as can be.

They are named based on the difficulties one of the chicks had with walking. It was born with a deformed hip. It is the one with straw between its legs. The straw with a rubber band is a technique for curing splay legs a common problem with chicks that it is easily fixed. Gump did not have splay legs unfortunately.


butts up

I also hatched six Cream Legbars.

Cream Legbars

Wait ladies…I swear I am a nice guy. (My three hen legbars run away from Butters a rooster)

Cream Legbar(butter)


Butters is a light color sort of creamy…or Buttery!

CREAM Legbar_rooster(Homer)


Homer is named for his “bald spot” which is really just his spot indicating he carries two of the barring gene which is why he is autosexing.

CREAM Legbar_rooster(Flanders)

“Stupid sexy Flanders.”


Flanders was named because we just wanted to keep the Simpsons theme going. Homer and him are the two darkest cream legbar rooster chicks I have ever had. I am very curious to see how they develop as they mature.


Now I want to go skiing.


I hatched three Cream Legbar hens.

Cream Legbar_hen(Amy)2

Amy Winehouse

Now we know who inspired Amy Winehouse’s makeup style. Look at those eyes.

These two fine ladies are named Marge and Maude.


That is a brief update on my chicks. I still have two more batches I need to discuss and I need to catch you up on the older chicks as well. Please leave comments or questions if you have any.




Are these the chickens of the future? –

Super interesting topic for me. I am pretty GM friendly. I think we have to change the amount of antibiotics we use in our poultry industry is GM chickens the way to do it. I am just excited we are getting to understand the genome of chickens better.


The eggs sit in a heated yellow box, the tops of their shells sliced off and replaced with cling film. Inside, translucent red bodies poke and press, alien-like, against the film. These are some of the rarest chicken embryos in the world, their DNA

Source: Are these the chickens of the future? –

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Chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery


I bought some chicks from Murray McMurray hatchery. This is my second time ordering chicks from McMurray. They all arrived alive and peeping. They also arrived starved and tiny. You would too if you had been shipped from Iowa when you were a day old. That is right I had day old chicks shipped from Iowa.

If you have ever heard chicks peeping at the post office this is why. Some woman heard this and started a Day old chicken Petition. I think the CEO of the company’s response was great. It is a semi controversial topic. It does seem unkind to ship a tiny fragile chick in a cold box. Some chicks die along the way and occasional accidents happen and large numbers die. But most chicks arrive healthy and hungry, if they didn’t these hatcheries would be out of business. I think the positives way out weigh the negatives. Allowing people to get practically any breed they want and start their own backyard flock which, will likely lead a much happier life than any commercial chicken is a much bigger positive in my book. A quote from an article about chicks

During the hatchery’s busiest time of year—the weeks leading up to Easter—the company mails about 200,000 one-day-old chickens a week, McMurray said.

That is a lot of chicks and that is just one hatchery. There are a number of them. So you can see that many people are involved in this enterprise.

Back to my chicks, it was quite dramatic to see the hatchery chicks compared to the chicks I had hatched myself. Even though they had hatched on the same day the McMurray chicks were half the size. But I put them all together and quickly they made up the ground.


Chicks after arriving from Iowa. The red light is to reduce pecking.


I ordered mostly White Faced Black Spanish  and, Turkens. I also received a Dominique, a Silver-Laced Cochin, a Black Cochin, some White-Laced Red Cornish, some Egyptian Fayoumis and lastly three Welsummers.

Each breed has its unique personality. The cochins are both friendly especially the Silver-Laced, which we named Beyonce. The cornish were very stand offish and I don’t think I ever held them. The spanish were excited, friendly and moved around a lot. The turkens were mellow happy chicks.

All of the chicks grew fast and eventually they had to move out of the watermelon box and into the coop. I had been using two watermelon boxes as a brooder in my dad’s garage. They worked great!


3 week old chicks transported in a box on a very hot day

After that they were brooded in the coop they would come to call home.

Chicks in Coop

Warm chicken coop with happy chicks

Some of the chicks even said hello before scampering off to play and peck around.

Black Cochin Chick

Hey MJ

There is nothing better than getting off of work and sitting and watching a coop full of chicks peck around. #ChickTV

On nice sunny days I would let them out into the grass.

This was all back in late April! They are much bigger now.





Sebastopol Chickens

I have moved away from Portland. Now I live in Sebastopol California. Instead of changing my blog name I am just going to have the name be inappropriate. These next couple posts will also have a different direction and tone than my previous posts. They will be unfortunately focused on my own personal flock.



All the eggs.

April 3rd and 4th I bought some eggs. I bought a mixed batch from a lady in Richmond. She was extremely accommodating to meet me last minute, quite late at night after another lady flaked on me. Mixed batch eggs are on the right. I also bought some eggs from Alchemist Farm.  They are the ones on the left. 12 Cream Legbars, 5 Bresse and 2 Welsummers.

I incubated 39 eggs and 31 chicks hatched! Which is a pretty good result.

A smattering of the chicks. The legbars are so cool because you can tell gender at hatching. I had a 7:3 ratio of hens to roosters. The mixed chicks had a lot of barring. I had blue chicks, splash chicks, feather legged chicks, muffed chicks all sorts of chicks.


Robos at the Chicken Fair

Clark County 4-H

Back in February in our quest for fertile modern game hen eggs we went to the 4-H meeting at the Clark County Fair in Washington. We brought along our friends the Robos. It was a great learning experience for everyone. It was amazing to see all the shapes and sizes of chickens that the 4-H  young poultry enthusiasts had brought. Here are some pictures of the fabulous chickens we saw on our field trip.

A table of bantam chicks for sale. This was what the whole area was filled with.

A table of bantam chicks for sale. This was what the whole warehouse was filled with.

Cheryl and a good looking lavender Orpington rooster. He was large (small girl for scale).

Cheryl and a good looking lavender Orpington rooster. He was large (small girl for scale).

Abdullahi standing bravely in front of the largest chickens I have ever seen. A pair of dark Brahmas. They were huge!

Abdullahi standing bravely in front of the largest chickens I have ever seen. A pair of dark Brahmas. They were huge!

Maybe not that bravely.

Maybe not that bravely.

Another huge Brahma rooster. This one is a light Brahma. Cheryl not to scale, they likely weigh the same. It was that big!

Another huge Brahma rooster. This one is a light Brahma. Cheryl not to scale, they likely weigh the same. It was that big!

A Turkey and Cheryl. Cheryl not scale. This turkey gave us a good gobble scare.

A Turkey and Cheryl. Cheryl for scale. This turkey gave us a good gobble scare.


Turkey (don’t take your eyes off it if you’re smart)



Feeding the chickens.

Serama Rooster (The Serama is the smallest breed of chicken in the world.)

Serama Rooster (The Serama is the smallest breed of chicken in the world.)

Bantam Cornish Rooster (he had the most unusual chicken face I have ever seen. Unfortunately I didn't get a good photo.)

Bantam Cornish Rooster (He had the most unusual chicken face I have ever seen. Unfortunately I didn’t get a good photo.)

Bantam White Wyandotte Rooster (Wyandottes come in a range of colors most common is the gold and silver laced)

Bantam White Wyandotte Rooster (Wyandottes come in a range of colors most common is the gold and silver laced.)

Bantam Doublelaced Cornish Hen (the double-lacing that this hens feathers exhibit is a semi- rare chicken feather pattern.)

Bantam Double laced Cornish Hen (The double-lacing that this hens feathers exhibit is a semi- rare chicken feather pattern.)

Barbu d'Anvers Hen (This dutch breed is a natural bantam, meaning it has no full size counterpart.)

Barbu d’Anvers Hen (This dutch breed is a natural bantam, meaning it has no full size counterpart.)

Serama Hen

Serama Hen(The Serama originate from Malaysia.)

Frizzle Serama Hen (the frizzle gene causes a defective rachis.)

Frizzle Serama Hen (The frizzle gene causes a defective rachis.)

Outside they had a pair of Call Ducks, which are basically bantam ducks.

Outside they had a pair of Call Ducks, which are basically bantam ducks.

Hannah demonstrates how to hold chickens.

Hannah demonstrates how to hold chickens in her ah god shirt.

Abdullahi demonstrates his lack of fear of chickens

Abdullahi demonstrates his lack of fear of chickens.

And just in case you forgot your chicken body parts we have a handy guide to refer to.


We had a good time and it was great to meet a bunch of fellow poultry enthusiasts. I am jealous of their acreage. I also think it was a great opportunity for “city” chicken people to co-mingle with “country” chicken folk. All city chicken raisers should learn from country chicken owners because they have generally been doing it longer and with more stock.



SPRING has SPRUNG and that means CHICKS!!

Chicks Hatch

On April 3rd a hushed peeping was heard from our basement. The chicks had started hatching. A mere 3 weeks ago I had stuck some eggs in an incubator and hoped for the best. I don’t know if you have ever hatched a chick from an egg but for me it is one of the most nerve racking activities. To me it just seems like magic…so let me get this right I get an egg and keep it warm for three weeks and POOF a chick appears? Of course it isn’t that simple and to get a good “hatch rate” you need to be attentive and careful. You need to keep the temperature juuuuuust right (100 ˚F for circulated air incubators) . You have to keep the humidity juuuust right EXCEPT people totally disagree on whether to do “dry” or “wet” so maybe it isn’t so important until the final days. Anyways it is a sensitive process and I am constantly worried that something is going wrong or that I am actively doing something wrong.  So it was a huge relief when I heard that most awe inspiring of sounds…peep peep.


Now we have 9 beautiful chicks and I would love to introduce them.

All of these photos are taken on April 6 so they are 2  days old. I will also refer to them all as ladies just for good karma even though half are likely to be roosters.

Scraggles 3 days

This fun young lady is Scraggles. She was the last chick to hatch. She is supposed to be a standard size mixed chicken but she is about the same size as the rest of the bantams.

Clark 3 days

This mellow lass is Clark. She has beautiful grizzled down feathers. She also has a nearly identical twin sister.

Rip city 3 days

This stunning young lady is Rip City. She is the most beautiful chick I have ever seen. She is also the smallest chick of this flock. She has black skin and a fifth toe hinting at her silkie heritage. She is designer breed I bought from Chris Chulos. Really curious to see what she turns out to look like.

Peeppeep 3 days

Oh boy this picture captures the energy and exploratory nature of PeepPeep a bantam ameraucana I also got from  Chris. She is  a real charmer. Kids have totally been brainwashed to think yellow is the color of chicks and so PeepPeep is a kid favorite. Yellow fluff just means they are white chickens.

Emily 3 days

This picture also captures the worried nature of Emily. She is peeping in this picture because she wants to be in the flock. She is also a bantam ameraucana.

Falconer 3 days

This is Falconer another gorgeous designer chick from Chris. The variability of trying to make your own backyard breed is seen in the skin and leg color. It is yellow while Rip City’s are black. But other wise they are very similar looking along with…

Cleopatra  3 days

the last of the Chris designer chicks Cleopatra. She is cute as well and has a different head shape from Rip City and Falconer.

King 3 days

Meet the bravest chick and undisputed team leader King. I am not exactly sure what breed she is. She looks a lot like a pure silkie but she is probably another chris mix special.

Lewis 3 days

Last is Lewis. She is awesome. Looks very similar to Clark except she has nice subtle eye liner and spot on top of her head.

If you are wondering where we came up with such awesome names I need to give thanks to our friends the Robos and our neighbors Ella and Asa.

Group photo 2 days

Nothing more beautiful than a chick cuddle puddle. Watching them get overwhelmed by sleepiness when standing under a heat lamp is a cute sight.

 Day one photos

It is amazing how fast they grow. Here are some more pictures from the first day. They are so tiny.

IMG_1345 IMG_1341 IMG_1334 IMG_1329 IMG_1307 IMG_1269







R.I.P. Ariel

We have some terrible news to break to our loyal fans. One of the most charismatic stars of our blog has sadly passed. It is a cruel reminder of the fleeting nature of these spectacular creatures. They are like a perfect snowflake incredibly delicate and unfortunately ephemeral. Good bye and good night you glorious princess.




A good look at front of coop.

A good look at front of coop.


 Blake and Lynn were very kind to let us measure and take photos of their coop. Here are some of the photos of great coop features and a “blueprint” of the coop.









Coop Photos

Lynn and Blake made their coop from plans they bought online. Below is a gallery of some interior and exterior features of their coop that give you a better idea of what kind of coop they have made.



Smart and Unique Features

The  best feature of Blake and Lynn’s coop is the water collection system. Their coop is far from plumbing and instead of installing permanent plumbing which is expensive they have a water collection system. Rain water falls on the roof and is directed into a large water barrel. This has a spigot and hose attached to fill waterers in the coop. (I unfortunately didn’t take enough pictures of this great feature)


Jump Chicken


Lynn’s trick chickens




There are 7 chickens that share this coop, 2 Light Brahmas, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 1 Barred Plymouth Rock, 1 Gold Laced Wyandotte, 1 Ameraucana. They are big friendly hens. Lynn brought them some egg snack leftovers and they were very excited about it.





Gallery of Lynn and Blake’s chicken coop