Meet The Chickens

Meet The Chickens Appalachia

In early May of this year, The Deer Hunter brought home 7 baby chicks. We’ve wanted chickens for a long time-but I figured we’d wait till we had the coop built and everything situated for them-that isn’t how it turned out.

Our 7 little chicks lived in the basement in a box with a light for warmth until The Deer Hunter got their chicken condominium built several weeks later. From day one it was a learning experience for us-and it still is. I grew up with chickens around Wilson Holler-but I was never responsible for taking care of them-and it was much the same for The Deer Hunter. His Grandparents who lived just up the road had chickens-but all he did was occasionally get flogged by them.

Our baby chicks came from one of The Deer Hunter’s friends who raises chickens. 4 of them are a mixture of Rhode Island Red and Araucana. The other 3 are Silver Lace Wyandottes. Since the chicks were so small-we had no way of telling if we had all hens-all roosters-or a mixture. What we got was 3 roosters and 4 hens-at least we think they’re all hens. (you can tell we’re new to all this chicken stuff)

Rex the chicken

Rex the Rooster has taken charge of the chicken lot. He bosses everyone else around-and it’s hilarious to watch. Can you see his sideburns?

Pretty Polly the chicken

Polly is the prettiest chicken of the bunch-at least she is to me.

Getting the baby chicks before we got the chicken house and lot built put us in a bind. The Deer Hunter got the house portion built before the run was finished. He put the chickens inside the house while he worked on the run. He put doors in each end of the house where we could open them to check for eggs and clean out the house when it needed it.

While me and the girls watched him work-and helped when we could, it was hard to resist opening those doors to see what the little chicks were doing. Chatter opened one too far and out jumped Pretty Polly. She took off for the woods as fast as she could go.

Fussing at Chatter for opening the door and wild chasing of Polly both happened very quickly-all to no avail. Polly finally ended up just over the bank in the briar patch. We enticed her with food and water but she would not come. Chatter felt miserable because we all knew if we didn’t get Polly back in by dark she’d be gone-either the neighborhood dogs would get her-or something else would.

Late that evening after the lot was finished, we were all in the house. We’d peek out the window to see if she would come back to the other chickens. Sure enough she eventually did. The Deer Hunter snuck out to see if he could catch her. He was on one side of the lot-Polly was on the other. Every time he moved she moved. Finally after about 30 minutes of the game-The Deer Hunter opened the door to the lot and Polly ran right in-I think she was as happy to be back in there as we were to have caught her!

Missy the Chicken

Meet Missy-the ugliest chicken in the bunch and the meanest. Now we’re wondering if she is even a Missy-or if she should be named Mister.

Gertrude the Chicken
This is Gertrude-she looks sorta like Polly but not near as pretty somehow. She has sideburns too.


Nesta-the only hen from the Silver Lace Wyandottes is so shy you sorta forget she’s there. In fact-out of the many photos I snapped of the chickens-this is the only one Nesta showed up in. You can see Rex is trying to push her around-he usually wins. But I’m hoping someday she gives him what for and puts him in his place.

Silver wine lace dots

And lastly there are 2 roosters who look like this. We’re not going to keep them-so we haven’t named them. I think they know they’ll soon be leaving the Blind Pig chicken coop-I hope they don’t start a chicken mutiny before then.

Blind pig chickens in appalachia

Who knew having chickens could be so much fun. We haven’t even got the first egg yet-but we’re more than glad that we got the chickens. When The Deer Hunter’s friend gave him the baby chicks he said “Once you get chickens you don’t need your tv anymore-the chickens are more fun to watch than anything thats on tv.” He was right!



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  • Reply
    July 22, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Jim-thank you for the comments! When I was growing up a man down the road had a whole herd of guineas. Every time you went by his house they had to run across the road in front of the car : ) The 2 roosters have been promised to The Deer Hunter’s friend-he wants them back to raise more wyandottes with. But-we wouldn’t object to eating them. Well me and The Deer Hunter wouldn’t -the girls might have a different view point LOL!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    July 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    So glad you got chickens.. We had them growing up and there wasn’t a place that they built a nest but what my mother could find.. She would watch them close and come away with the eggs.. She loved little Bannies too.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Wanted to comment on Jim’s mention of guinea fowl, which are VERY popular here in the northeast. They have a reputation for keeping tick populations under control, and Lyme disease is common here.
    Every year I think about getting some guineafowl, and every year I come to the same conclusion: the noise they make would drive me crazy!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    July 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    We had yard chickens when I was a young boy. I remember learning a valuable lesson about them. Don’t pick up the chicks when mama chicken is near by! I picked up a little Dominecker chick to hold it because it was so cute and the mama chicken commenced to flog me. I was terrified and scratched up pretty good too! When I was in FFA we toured the local chicken processing plant and after that it was a few years before I could eat chicken again. It was an awful site seeing how they got those poor birds ready for the store. We get eggs from a friend who has chickens and I love them. There is no comparison between them and store bought ones. I would love to have somIFAD my own but I will have to move first because we live in a subdivision. Five more years on my job then I am out of here and back to the country!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    I just added some silver laced wyandottes to our flock. We also have white rocks, barred rocks, and black cornishes. Wyandottes are my favorites! So pretty!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Tipper–It just occurred to me that if the chickens get to be too easy or boring,you’uns need to get a bunch of guineas. They are perfect watch dogs, produce eggs so hard you’ll never lose another egg fight at Easter, and thanks to the fact that they ain’t got the sense that God gave–well, that God gave a guinea–they can provide some simple entertainment. Then too, if you are partial to dark meat when it comes to dining on fowl, they are just the ticket.
    Mind you, I’m working from long ago memories here, but I’m guessing you must have one or two readers out there who will know what I’m talking about or, better still, will have a lot of first-hand experience with guineas.
    Jim Casada
    P. S. You still ain’t told me the fate of the roosters which didn’t make the cut, so to speak.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I do enjoy my hens, and I’d enjoy having them raise their own chicks, too, if I could find a nice-tempered rooster. The last two roosters were not making the barnyard a pleasant place to be, and since I have to be there quite a lot, the roosters had to go. Some roosters are great, but sadly these two were…not.
    Wait til you find your first egg! I’ve had chickens for years, but gathering the eggs never gets old. I feel certain you will share a picture or two 🙂
    By the way, that use of “flog” might have been a good Appalachian Vocabulary word! I’ve never heard it used quite that way 🙂

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    July 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Tipper, I love this post. It reminds me of how much my mother enjoyed chickens. As a child I paid them no attention unless I had to get up the eggs. Then I was scared of either a snake in the nest or a hen on the nest that would peck me.
    Sometimes the rooster would chase me and I hated him.
    Everyone makes it sound like owning chickens is fun, and I almost believe that watching them would overcome the chicken manure, having to feed them every day and keeping varmints from eating them.
    I love the colored eggs from these unusual chickens. I buy yard eggs and often get the green or blue ones.
    I too had a relative who fought roosters (back in the day) and cringe at the thought.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    When I was little we had about 50
    chickens and a few roosters. Most
    of our’n was domineckers, and them
    pullets sure made some fine food
    for the table. A friend of mine
    has chickens that lay green eggs
    and he says they’re cholestoral

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    July 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I really enjoyed this story. My uncle/aunt used to own a chicken farm on Schooley Mountain, Long Valley, NJ. We spent many a day with those chickens. I was always fascinated with the incubator when he bred the chickens. Each Easter we would bring home two or four baby chicks. My brother and I shared them. We kept them under the bathroom sink. They made a racket when they got bigger – too big to keep under the sink. As a matter of fact when we were in school they would jump out of the box and my mom would have a fit. Then it was time to bring them back to the farm to be with the others. One time one dad tried to ready one for dinner. Oh, what a mess and he never ever tried that again. My dad was a city boy, no way near being a farmer. Needless to say, he was quite tramatized. No details will be given, but it still holds a very vivid memory for me.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    and Mary Jane…When it was running 103 to 105 here a few weeks ago…we put a fresh pan of water in the shade we made in the chicken run…They have two water and two chicken feeders hanging on chains in the coop…but I thought why not have a large pan in the shade….It wasn’t long before our Black hens were wading in the little pool…I’d say like your hens, it felt really good..and cooled their feet from the hot run….aren’t they smart!
    Thanks Tipper, I also bought a small childs swimming pool, punched holes in it, and put frest dirt, and then a thick layer of sand…They love to dust in it, scratching to get down to the fresh cooler dirt…This helps from them scratching holes in the lot…st least so far…I’m done, I could comment on chickens all dayl…LOL

  • Reply
    Mary Jane Plemons
    July 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Yesterday, it was over a hundred degrees here in central Texas. I had let our chickens and guinea out to catch the huge numbers of grasshoppers we have this year. I passed the dog water pan, and one hen was standing in the water almost up to her “hips”. So funny. She looked at me like, “Why not?”

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    We’ve often discussed the possibility of having chickens, nothing like those fresh eggs! But it seems like so much work, and they need constant care, so we have not taken the leap. But I look forward to hearing more about your chicken experience, seems like you are having fun (and good eats coming too, ha ha)!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 11:58 am

    You’re right Polly is the prettiest. I always loved to see a hen scratch to feed her babies. She never tires!

  • Reply
    Tammy @ The Northern Nest
    July 21, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Hi Tipper!
    When I was young chickens had the run of most farm yards. We did not have any but we visited a lot of places that did and I was scared of them because Mama told us they would flog us if we bothered them. So, I would ease around them like a fraidy cat…LOL!
    We did at one time have guinea birds and I hated them because they were so noisy and woke me up on Saturday mornings when I wanted to sleep in.
    Good luck with your brood!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 21, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I really enjoyed the chicken chasing video this morning. I’m sorry the other folks didn’t get to see it as it only played in my head. I have been subscribed to your blog for a short time but I have gone back and read some you published before I got here. Today’s is the BEST yet.
    Question: Do you put the liver and gizzard in your chicken and dumplings? I call them brown dumplins and will fight you for them. I’d throw a biscuit against the wall to distract you while I stole them right off your plate.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 21, 2012 at 11:03 am

    My son and daughter-in-law got a few heirloom chickens. They can’t bear to eat the eggs. Loving all the free eggs

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Alica-thank you for the comment! I wondered about the color of the eggs too! The man who give them to us-says his lay green ones-but I guess well have to wait and see for sure : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Sandy-thanks for the comment! No weve never given them buttermilk-and Ive never heard that it would prevent worms-but I will keep it in mind!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Will Dixon
    July 21, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I can see 2 roosters in a pot with carrots, peas and dumplings. Yum!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 21, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Tipper–Now for the big question. You say a couple of the roosters will be leaving you. Will they be featured on the Pressley family table (remember the grand Bobby Bare song, “Chicken Every Sunday, Lord, Chicen Every Sunday”) or will you just give them to someone else.
    It’s all too easy to get overly attached to barnyard critters, but in the end they are made for table use, at least in my opinion. I can tell you for sure that pullets Grandpa Joe raised had a certain future, and the same was true for laying hens which suddenly decided to go off their laying duties. Baked hen on Grandma Minnie’s table would be their tasty fate.
    I could go on at considerable length about chickens–from neck wringings and choppings to chicken catching and flogging, even to Daddy’s involvement in rooster fighting (in pre-marriage days–rest assured Momma wouldn’t have had any part of that). I suspect most of the folks here who have links to the verities of rural life have some of the same memories.
    About the only other thing I’ll add is that I’ve never been privileged to know anyone who could fix fried chicken better than Momma. Grandma Minnie was a wonderful cook, but when it came to frying chicken, if I may sort of mix metaphors (and sexes), Momma ruled the roost.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    July 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Welcome to the Chicken Keepers Club! Aren’t they fun? We just got 3 babies in May. They are such big girls now. We only got hens as we don’t want a rooster. We live too close to our neighbors to tolerate the noise. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Hey Tipper,
    I wanted to make clear that we didn’t roogone our “Spike” and “Dagger”…afterall it wasn’t their fault they were sold young as hen pullets…We went to a mans chicken lot to look at some hens he had…We saw a metal antique chair leaning up against a fence in the woods…Yep, we traded the two roosters for the chair…Now then I never ask him if he put them in the pot…I don’t think he did, cause he thought they were beautiful roosters too and he was a chicken lover…He was thrilled with the trade…but I have to paint the chair and put a bottom in it! LOL
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    July 21, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Loads of fun, but often agravating as well. First time we got chicks from the local farm store they ended up beeing some kind of laying hen. All white and they sat on their hind ends all day (like the ones you see in chicken houses). Well they never laid and unfortunately (for them) they went away. The next batch was much better…Rhode Island reds and one Dominecker (sp). We had more eggs than we could eat and gave a lot away. Haven’t had any chickens in a number of years, but I wish I did. I know ya’ll will have a fun time with them.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 9:53 am

    When I thought I might get chickens I read a lot about taking care of them. One thing I read was that if you give them buttermilk it will keep them free of worms and parasites. Do you give yours buttermilk?

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I loved this post…You know how we are enjoying being back in the chicken business…so to speak…
    We have figured if we sell or eat at least 10,000 eggs, and if prices continue to rise on brown eggs, we will break even…Ah-ha!
    We had to rid ourselves of the two wyandotte chickens we had, although they were beautiful, they turned from “Speckles” and “Dotty” to “Spike” and “Dagger”! Yep, they were roosters…doggone or “roogone”!
    But, our Ideal 236 (white hens) are staying true and growing, guess that co-op feller was right on with those…They are not laying yet…We have 4, what this feller told us were Black Dorkings..laying brown eggs…but we think they are Black and Red Marandas…whatever… they are bossy with wore out fluffy butts, but lay like nobodies biznis…great, don’t get these if you want constant eggs with ugly butt chickens! and they are not too friendly unless they want a handout..We have 2 Bantam Ameraucana hens..small brown and white feathers with little beards and sideburns like yours, they lay small beautiful blue eggs…very sweet and getting friendlier the more you talk and sing to them…Then there are the 4 Old English Bantams…One has become the “cock of the walk”..fiesty, frisky and macho…will let you pet him after he quits his macho flog but hopes the other roo and hens don’t see him in my lap as he looks funny! The other rooster is so sweet, flying up on the top of the 6 foot fence to greet you and crow…He loves attention and petting and combs rubbed while cooing like a baby…The hens are the same and if you forget they wiil fly up and land on your hand begging for attention too…so sweet…no laying yet but suspect soon we will have broody Old English hens…I know you are not supposed to keep too many different breeds together, but so far it is working for us…I fell in love with chickens again after years of not having them…We used to raise bantams and had Silkies, and Barred Cochins…we had a straight run of Rhode Island Reds…We said when we finally went out of the biznis we would never ever have chickens agin…Well, famous last words…
    Thanks Tipper, Be sure and sing to your chickens and talk sweet to them…scold the “flogger” unless he is very mean, he will learn to back off…Good luck!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I think having chickens is fun too…but I don’t have any roosters. I bought pullets so that I knew we’d have all layers…and I didn’t feel like putting up with “rooster shenanigans”! 🙂
    I agree…Polly is a fine looking hen. Her head reminds me of the Araucana…it looks a bit more like a hawk that your typical chicken.
    Have fun with them…and if you think it’s fun now, just wait ’til you start finding eggs! I wonder if the Araucana/Rhode Island Red crosses will lay brown of green eggs?

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 9:23 am

    The deer hunters friend is so right —they will supply you with much entertainment —enjoy them–if ever you are having a “bad-day” just sit down and watch them they will soon have your spirits hight !! I have had chickens for 10 yrs now and so wish I would have had them while my kids were at home—but at least the grandkids can enjoy them.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 9:01 am

    We love our chickens. We get hours of entertainment from them. We got new chicks this year, 2 we hatched ourselves and 4 that someone else hatched from eggs we gave them. We ended up with 3 new roosters we need to get rid of. They are fighting already. lol Just wait until you get your first egg !!!!

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