The other day I had a discussion with Phoebe.

Does this fur coat make me look fat? she asked.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 3.29.38 PM

Ahem. Well. To be honest, I said, although it is a very thick and lovely coat, you have been the only one eating that pumpkin. Let’s just say that you are well-insulated from the winter’s cold.

Phoebe sniffed. This is the best season. Dressed properly, one can enjoy it fully.

Agreed, I said.


Thank you to Melissa who sent me the screen shot.

For more about keeping a rabbit with your flock, read this post.

Y and Z

Here we are, at the end of the alphabet.

Y is for Yokohama, perhaps the most unusual of the breeds in this series.

With a tail like that, it’s not a low-maintenance chicken! Obviously, this is an ornamental animal. You’ll need high roosts, dry bedding and a covered pen if you’re going to keep these birds. I have no first-hand experience with Yokohamas. Do you?



Z is for zest is for eggs in the nest. That I have experience with!



New to this alphabet series? It’s starts with A here.

X is for Fox

I bet you were wondering what chicken would be on this card. I think that the illustrator’s solution was quite clever (albeit a tad realistic!)



Keep hens long enough and you’ll have an X, whether it is by a fox, a neighbor’s dog, a hawk, or a weasel, a raccoon or a bear. The list of animals that want a chicken dinner is long. I’ve written numerous times about predator protection. Here’s one blogpost, and I have more on this FAQ about coop design criteria. Although once in a long while, a predator needs to be removed from the premises (I had a serious problem with a fearless and aggressive raccoon) in most cases, good fencing and management is more effective than trying to eliminate the predators.


W is for Wyandotte

The Wyandotte is a popular hen. She’s a heavy, beautiful bird that lays brown eggs. This card shows the white plumage, but you can find them in so many pretty coats, including silver laced, partridge, penciled and splash. The Wyandotte has a rose comb, which is a pebbly-looking, low to the head affair, which makes her winter  hardy. No risk of frostbite.



In my experience, personality ranges from placid, to lethally dominant over meeker hens. It all depends on the breeder’s line.

w poem


Some go broody, some don’t. Tell me about your Wyandottes!

V is for Vessel

Themed alphabets get a bit challenging at the end. I think that what they did here is so creative. V is for vessel.





I know that I’ve gone through my fair share of vessels. A hanging feeder for their daily ration of pellets keeps everything a lot tidier than a ceramic bowl on the ground. But, whenever I have yogurt or something else that’s messy and wet, I use an old dog bowl. I also have a lovely, hand-thrown ceramic dispenser that I use for grit. Do you have an unusual feeder for your hens?