I is for Indian

I wasn’t  familiar with this meat bird, so I looked through my collection of vintage poultry books, and discovered a listing for it in British Poultry, published in 1927, which states that in America it is styled as “Cornish game.” Take a look at how strong this specimen is. It looks like an elongated modern Cornish. The entry in the book says that these birds do best when running in almost a wild state until maturity. And that, if interested in taking to poultry shows, a good specimen, with proper attention, can be used for years. Contrast that with our modern meat bird, that is so breast-heavy that it can no longer mate naturally, and that grows so fast, that if it’s not harvested for meat at under three-months of age, will die before the age of one, anyway. (Imagine the Hulk, bursting forth, but not going on with powerful muscles, but rather collapsing from the transformation.)

This card reminds me of what has happened to many of our domestic breeds. You just have to look at the pug to see where we’ve gone too far breeding for certain traits.

Do any of my UK readers have experience with the Indian? Are they still available? I hope that they are, and that their genetics are being put to good use.




I poem

H is for Houdan

The Houdan’s array of feathers on her head is not as extravagant as that on the Polish. That crazy V-shaped comb works to keep the feathers in place, rather like a hairband. Does this mean that the hen is also not as ditzy as the Polish? Do you keep Houdans? Tell me about their personalities.

h for Houdan


H poem

My Christmas Present

This morning there was a light brown egg in the nesting box in the Big Barn.



Amber, the Buff Orpington, began her molt late in the summer. It took her weeks to shed her old feathers and grow new ones, and then a few more weeks to replenish her nutrients. Although the optimal light for laying is a 14-hour day, we’ve just passed the darkest stretch of the year, the coop has big windows, the hens are outside early each morning, and so there is enough sun to reach their pineal glands, which tell the hens to lay. It’s also been a remarkably mild winter (so far.)

Buff Orpington


That all adds up to this.

egg basket


Twiggy, that astounding hen, has yet to stop laying. This is my first White Leghorn, so I’ve no idea when she’ll stop and molt. Twiggy is on track to lay 300+ eggs this year. Which only gives her two months of down time. When will they be? In February when the other hens resume laying? We’ll have to wait and see.


In the meanwhile, thank you, Amber, for that lovely Christmas present.

G is for Game Bird

For as long as humans have kept poultry there has been cock fighting. It’s a horrible bloody “sport” and is banned in many states. But, out of that history comes this interesting and unique breed. I hear that they are full of personality and fun to watch. It’s important to keep them around so that genetic diversity in domestic chickens is maintained.

For those of you that, as children, dreamed of keeping a pet dinosaur, this is the breed for you.

g is for game



You might even get an egg or two.

G poem

F is for Faverolle

This is a glorious-looking bird. The ear muffs and beard! Those feathered feet! Those fluffy pantaloons!

F for faverolle


So charming, but I don’t keep this breed. I stay away from feather-footed beauties. They’re higher maintenance than I like to have around. Ice and muck cling to those leg and foot feathers. Rather than providing warmth, they’re a detriment in New England where we say that we have five seasons – spring, summer, fall, winter, and mud.

Besides, they’re not known for their eggs.

f poem


Do you keep Faverolles? Are they worth the trouble? Let me know – your comment doesn’t have to be in a poem, but extra points if it is :)