A salute to the backyard flock

Barred Rock

Marianne the Barred Plymouth Rock strikes a classic pose.

My four hens will be 3 years old in a couple of weeks and they are still laying as many eggs as we need for breakfast and baking.

buff orpington

Grace the Buff Orpington finds little green things and bug larvae out front.

It’s just been in the past week that enough snow melted for some seriously dedicated free-ranging. They are fired up, my ferocious foragers, after being cooped up so much this winter. They want nothing to do with their regular feed.

rhode island red

Lucy the Rhode Island Red.

Sure they tear up the wrong plants sometimes, or make unsightly bare spots, or create dust bowl wallows in the flower beds. But they fertilize, and till, and get rid of Japanese beetle larvae and other bad bugs.

And they lay eggs.


Eggs in front are from my hens. The others were white grocery store eggs my daughters and I dyed last night.

easter egger

Ella the Easter Egger (Ameraucana) takes a break under the rhododendron. She lays pale greenish blue eggs.

barred rock

Spring salad for happy hen.

Happy Easter!

Early birds

Free-ranging chickens

7 a.m. The early birds dig the worms.

I have two Buff Orpingtons, a Barred Rock, a Rhode Island Red and (missing from this photo) an Easter Egger.

They are costing me almost nothing in layer pellets right now, because they free range all day and prefer foraged food to bought food.

blue flag iris

Wild blue flag iris are blooming around the pond now.

Morning walk with husband and dog (and with hens tagging along part of the way) out the gravel road to the pond, along the woodland trail to the big tree (Grandfather Pine) at the back of our property, then back around the pond.

Such a fine start to the day.

Breakfast was leftover Curried Chicken, a Jamaican breakfast recipe I got from Saveur magazine. And coffee from Birds & Beans!


The hens are two years old. Together, they lay an average of two or three eggs a day.

ChickenThe chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird.

Today I will clean the coop.

I have been using a product for bedding that I like better than pine shavings. Koop Clean is a chopped blend of hay and straw with an added odor-neutralizing ingredient (a mineral called zeolite).

It was recommended to me by Terry, a Massachusetts “chicken blogger” who gives the best chicken-keeping advice I have ever read online. Read: Henblog.

Dandelion seed head

Dandelion seed head, make a wish.

I love these long days with so much daylight! Like my chickens, I am a daytime animal. I wake up at 5:45 a.m. too.


Chickens on a Garden Path, Gustav Klimt, 1916

Woman in a White Dress

Woman in a White Dress, Henri Lebasque, 1923