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Snowflake, an Easter Egger hen sunning herself

chick divider

Updated 9/17/11

Music is Dizzy Fingers.

Keeping chickens or other poultry can be a very rewarding hobby, and there are many ways one can enjoy them. Hens provide fresh eggs, extra birds can provide a meal, and chicks are fluffy and cute to watch. Chickens can be a fun outlet for children in 4-H or FFA groups, and there are shows for adults as well. All of those avenues have caught my interest, but keeping birds as pets was my main hobby. The reason for that was mostly due to my living arrangements. I lived within city limits and keeping livestock there was frowned upon. It was difficult for me to maintain a flock of chickens at the farm where I boarded my horse, so I had to give up keeping chickens.

When I did keep a flock of chickens, if my hens happened to go broody, I'd let them raise some chicks. I would try to keep and raise birds that closely conformed to the breed standard, because I had wanted to get involved with showing. Some of the birds that I did raise and sell, went on to become show birds. It was exciting to hear of their successes.

I first became involved with keeping chickens in April of 1998 at Easter time. Our sons were thrilled with "Easter peeps!" (So was I!) I started out with just 5 chicks and it soon blossomed from there.

I've had the pleasure of owning and learning about several different breeds, as well as some ducks. With the chickens, there have been Easter Eggers, Ameraucanas, Polish, a Silver Sebright, Cochin bantams, Silver Spangled Hamburgs, Silkie bantams, Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshires, Anconas, Golden Sexlinks, Old English Game bantams, and d'Anvers (another bantam breed). With ducks, I first had a pair of Mandarins, but then had 4 Call drakes. But space was limited and I have not had all those breeds all at the same time. I finally settled on keeping just the Silkies (and the last d'Anver hen), mostly because, as stated before, I don't have a real farm and lived in a city. Silkies have become my favorite breed of chicken and are fairly quiet bantams that make perfect backyard pets. If you have close neighbors, though, make sure they don't mind the noise that a handful of chickens or ducks can make! When you're within city limits, there are usually laws prohibiting the keeping of chickens, but in some areas it may be allowed. Where I was, it wasn't. Not even with a permit. So be sure to check first.

I've found my Call ducks, which are a bantam breed, to be great, quiet backyard pets. The males, anyway. Which is why I have them. The females are much noisier, but then, they were bred for that. Call ducks are basically live decoys, bred to call in the flocks of wild ducks that the hunters wanted. Calls are quite small and could easily be transported by the hunters in their vest pockets or small containers. I'm not sure if hunters today still use Calls as live decoys, but they've become popular as pets and show birds.

My male Calls were of a couple color varieties. Two were Snowy Calls, which look somewhat like the wild Mallard color splashed with some white. The other two were of the Blue variety, although the one looked pretty much like a White. One would have to be aware of the genetics of breeding Blues to fully understand why a Blue could look like it's white, but it has to do with the Blue gene. Birds carrying 2 Blue genes appear very pale, because this gene dilutes the color black. Diluted twice, the black becomes very washed out, giving a "splash" or whitish color. Therefore, ducks with this coloring are known as being of the Splash variety. Ones that are Blue, carry 1 Blue gene, and have a dark, dusky bluish color, along with a white "bib" from their throats to their breasts. The Blues and Snowies are my favorites among the many color varieties of Call ducks.

You can view below some of the chickens I've had the pleasure of keeping. Please read on for more information.


Here are two cockerels ...
To the left is Red, a blue wheaten, and
to the right is Tory, a silver. Both
are Easter Egger bantams.

Ameraucanas were my first favorite breed. Though, in reality, my original birds were not true Ameraucanas, but Easter Eggers. How appropriate, since I got them at Easter time! I later learned the difference between the two. You can read more on my Ameraucana page, by visiting the link below.
4S Bar Ameraucanas


Five month old Silver Spangled Hamburgs, a pullet on the left and a cockerel on the right.

Hamburgs were another favorite breed of mine. I really enjoyed their beauty against the green pastures of the farm where I kept my horse. Hamburgs are an alert breed that tends to be nervous and flighty. They can be large fowl or bantam sized and several color varieties are available. The hens make excellent layers of medium white eggs, which have earned the breed the nickname of 'Dutch every-day layers', as they originated in Holland. This breed sports a rose comb, which is great for the colder climates - less likelihood of frostbite. This breed is also a very popular show bird. After having to choose which breeds to keep, I ended up selling several "Hams" to a friend of mine involved in the FFA who used them as show birds.

Dominoe, Ch. Continental cock Meg and Dominoe
Here is Dominoe, in his new career, with his new and proud owner Meg,
high school senior (2001-2002) and member of the FFA in California. Dominoe went on to win a championship!

Old English Game Bantams

I became interested in keeping OEGB's later on in my poultry hobby. They are quite small, even for bantams, and come in a large array of various color varieties. My favorites remain the Ginger-reds, Creles, and Quails. This breed is usually a friendly breed and they are very popular as both pets and as show birds. There are a few pictures of this breed, along with some of the Ginger-reds I kept, on their own link ...

4S Bar OEG Bantams


I acquired my first Silkies in the fall of 1999. In the U.S. this breed is classified as a bantam breed, but in other parts of the world there are both bantam and large fowl sizes. They are a breed that sports a crest, and feathers that are hair-like and fluffy. This is due to the fact that these feathers lack the tiny barbs which hold a regular feather together. Silkies are very calm and make excellent pets, which is great for beginners. Silkies also tend to go broody often, which makes them great setters and mothers of their little chicks. They come in Bearded and Non-bearded types, in the following colors: White, Black, Blue, Buff, Gray, Partridge, and Splash. Reds are also seen, but are not as common, plus it's not a recognized color in the Breed Standard.

Silkies are my most favorite breed among chickens, and are the ones I had decided to keep when I had to cut back on keeping birds. I have put the them on their own page, which you can view here ...

4S Bar Silkies

Meet one of my star hens...

Back about the middle of June 2000 I saw this little buff hen. I realized right away that she was a star. And I don't mean a Red Star. I mean a Movie Star! It was Babs from the movie "Chicken Run!" I was ecstatic! Babs is now a house chicken and will have a home here as long as she wants without any fears of being made into one of Mrs. Tweedy's Chicken Pies. Here is a pic of dear Babs...

Babs, plush hen toy

crows on a wire divider, animated

A little poem...

Choosin' Chicken
Doesn't like White meat, doesn't like Brown,
Doesn't like it Fried, Broiled, Roasted, or Ground,
Doesn't like Thigh, Breast, Wing, Back, or Leg;
I guess the best part of the chicken must be the Egg!
~~~Author Unknown~~~

Fruit-looped chicks!

Another poem...

I had a little chicken
Who wouldn't lay an egg
So I poured hot water
Up and down her leg.
The little chicken hollered
And the little chicken begged
And that darn little chicken
Layed a hard-boiled egg!
~~~Author Unknown~~~


For some great poultry information, try this site...

Thanks for visiting!

Jessica Sanders
Bangor, PA


Chicken Breeds

Chicken Website Award from on 9/15/2011. Thanks, guys! :)

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