Friday, June 08, 2007

Chicks A-Cheeping

Visit our kitchen in the springtime and chances are you’ll find a box of peeping, cheeping chicks. Last week, I got “the call” from the post office. My chicks from Murray MacMurray Hatchery in Iowa had arrived. We look forward to this day every year.

This year, we are trying Polish Top Hat chickens. I’ve had these chickens in the past and they are very docile birds who lay white eggs. They live a long time and add a bit of ornate pompom-ness to the coop - something a knitwear designer like me genuinely enjoys. And the kids love looking at them too!


I also ordered some Silkies, a bantam (miniature) breed I have been fascinated by. They grow into white puffballs and remind me of angora rabbits. Another fiber connection.


The last breed we got are called Cuckoo Marans. They are large chickens and rather old-fashioned looking - with grey and white striped feathers. The allure for me is the dark chocolate colored eggs. Won't my egg basket look pretty next year with blue, olive, buff, white and chocolate colored eggs?



It seems that Chicken Fever is sweeping the country. No, I'm not talking some obscure bird disease. Chicken Fever is the lure of keeping your own chickens. It's exciting to see so many new people enjoying keeping birds. I just finished a quick, very fun read by Catherine Goldhammer called Still Life with Chickens. It's about a woman and her daughter starting over in a new house with six chickens. The chickens thread through the book helping the author and her daughter start over.

This morning I took the photos of the chicks in front of some colorfully painted pages from one of our children's books called The Painter who Loved Chickens. Olivier Dunrea paints and tells the stories of a man who follows his dream to live on a farm and raise and paint chickens by selling his artwork of eggs and chickens. It is a delightful story for all ages.

Many years ago in an antique bookstore, I found a book from the 1800's called The history of the hen fever. A humorous record by George P. Burnham. (It has just been reprinted by Michigan Historical Reprint Series.) I read it through quickly - I was fascinated with the fact that in the 1800's, hen fever - or the collecting and keeping of exotic chickens - was extremely popular in the United States. History always repeats itself. Maybe it's time for chickens to have their day.

22 comments:

Willow said...

My brother in Oregon keeps chickens on his Christmas tree farm. When I visit, I join him in the nightly egg search.

Here in inner city Los Angeles, many people keep chickens. One of the lesser known facts about LA is that you may be awakened in the early morning by the crowing of a rooster.

Mom2fur said...

Aren't they cute! I bet they are beautiful when full grown.
Your black and white kitty, Templeton, is adorable and looks just like my cat Nutmeg!

Lisa W said...

Great photos Kristin and sweet chicks. You find some lovely children's books. What a wonderful thing to share with your daughter.

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

The little Polish Top Hat looks like she has a little yellow bow on her head! Will the Silkie also have feathers on her legs?
I have ordered a copy of "Knitting for Baby". I little the little garter stitch cloche (took the liberty of picking up along the edge to use up the last yarn to make a brim)!
I hope you post a copy of your colourful egg basket when they lay their first eggs!

Miss Eagle said...

Kristin - in between knitting books how about another kind? I think this post is so beautiful and the photographs are wonderfully constructed. Most definitely, your eye is not only for knitting.

Doreen said...

hello Kristen. I added you to my blog...your link that is....How funny that you wrote about chickens..SOOOO.....ANY ADVICE ON RAISING CHICKENS...WE ARE LOOKING INTO GETTING STARTED .....:)

:)
doreen

Laurel said...

Talk about unbearable cuteness -- those little guys are just too adorable!

Lynda said...

I have three chickens and I dearly love them! I have bantams as I live in town and they are well suited to a small yard. I have a cochin, a wyandott and an auracana. They make my yard seem so domestic!

Dawn Brocco said...

what adorable little chicks!

Felicia said...

LOL They're just as adorable as peaches and pie!

Chookyblue said...

I love haveing chooks......they are such fun to have......my kids are crazy about them also.......Oh and the lilac in the bottle looks fantastic........

Carole said...

I think you ought to find a copy of "The Egg and I" by Betty MacDonald. I'm sure is OOP but absolutely hilarious, it was made into a movie in the late 1930's early 1940's. Everything she wrote (and I own them all) is great.

Stacy said...

I think you may be on to something. We got chicks for the first time earlier this spring and are really enjoying having them around. In the past few weeks I've run into three other people who have recently got chicks, too. Great post, as always.

Patty said...

Great post! The Polish Top Hat is by far my favorite. And your photographs are so wonderfully clever and colorful. Thanks for sharing.

Peggy said...

I have wanted to own chicken again for some time now, but this post really makes me long for chickens to be back in my life. What wonderful pictures!!!

PG said...

Chicken keeping is all the rage over in the UK as well, I'd love to have a few, but I don't think our landlord would let us. Lots of Londoners seem to be doing it and spending silly amounts of money of fancy hen coops. I love silkies, with their little 'breeches'

marné said...

Oh they are so cute! Raising my chicks was such fun and I miss having the babies around. I'd like to try the Cuckoo Marans in my next batch, and the little top hats are so funny.

Our baby geese are nearly feathered out and now living outside (thank goodness!), and they are turning out to be a lot of fun to have around. It seems that although they were the husbands idea, they have imprinted on me and I am now Mama Goose. So in addition to 18 chickens and a golden retriever following me around the yard, I now have 3 white geese always at my heels :o)

Martheme said...

Well, thanks to your post with the link to the hatchery, you can add me to the list of knitters who will be keeping chickens!

Yesterday I ordered from them and will be getting 6 different kinds next month when they are ready!

thanks for being such an enabler!

sara said...

Someday I hope to be able blog about my own chickens! I envy you! Lovely post.

Brandy said...

Does anyone notice how the man in the illustration in the last photo appears to be petting the little chick? Couldn't have snapped the picture at a better time.

Back2Basics said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Back2Basics said...

Good catch, Brandy. It does look like the last one is being petted.

These pictures are soooo cute. They remind me of pictures my mother and I took when I was a child. I thought we were the only ones who did that! I still have one of the photos (ca. 1987) and would love to share it, but being new to blogging, I don't know if there is a way. The chick is wearing a "top hat" and bow tie. Silly I know, but we had fun.