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Barred Rock rocks the Hen House

All I can say is that we have had some really sad days in the Hen House! Our sweet little Vanilla died very unexpectedly. She was always small and frail – we sometimes called her “Cardboard” because she was so lightweight! But she was the noisiest one of the lot!! Always ran out first and complained when lunch was not served on time!! We are going to miss you, little one!

This is the last photo I took of Vanilla

Much to my pleasure, Hannes came home this week with two new chickens – they are Barred Rocks!

About Barred Rocks

The Barred rocks breed of chicken is casually referred to as “rocks” in breeder circles. They’re a cold hardy breed that is ideal for small individual farms. They’re also a favorite of small backyard flock owners since they double up as great pets too. Their name comes from the odd greyish rock pattern of their feathers. It’s eerily similar to rocks with a barred white pattern. This chicken breed is sometimes also referred to as Plymouth Rock. However, it’s better to not confuse these two as the name “Plymouth rock” refers to its extended family and not the barred rock variety by itself. Now let’s get to know a little more about this unique breed of chicken.

This breed of chicken has an interesting history too. It was first introduced as a breed in England in 1869 following a long process of cross breeding that involved Dominiques, Cochin, Black Javas and probably a couple of other exotic chicken breeds like the Malay and Dorkings.

The Plymouth Rock breed came from the original Barred rocks breed. All varieties of Plymouth rock were produced by crossing the Barred rock breed with other chicken breeds. The Barred Rock is the first and oldest member of the Plymouth Rock family. This chicken breed carries a combination of some of the best farm chicken qualities like docility, hardiness and broodiness. The barred rock chicken is also excellent at producing meat and eggs and is renowned for being a very docile bird that doesn’t create much of a ruckus like other chicken breeds do.

By nature, Barred Rocks live quite long. Though they are prized for their egg laying abilities, they also make excellent meat. The hens usually weigh about 3kg while the cock weighs about 3.4kg to 4.3kg. They are friendly birds that get along really well with people.


 [one_half]This is Tara and Rocky[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Tara in front, Rocky Behind[/one_half_last]

Tara is the more curious and friendly of the two. She is also the more submissive of the two – sort of the hen-pecked one. I took an immediate liking to this one and named her Tara.


This is Rocky – she is the more formal and aloof one. Hannes called her Rocky – taken from the name Barred Rock.

[one_half]They settled in quickly[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And they love the Hen House[/one_half_last]

However, they have now stepped on Skollie’s turf and she is not having any of this. She makes sure they stay lean and slim by chasing them all around the garden. I think she is getting more of a training then these two fresh young athletes. She can only really get a good swipe at them in the Hen House when it is roosting time. Oh Boy!! She gets a few pecks in – ouch!!!

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Bye-bye Buffy

A sad day indeed. My favourite pet – Buffy passed away this weekend -Friday 8 February 2013. She had been bravely coping with Bumblefoot and the traumatic operation on both feet in December. It took its toll on her and she developed breathing problems and finally stopped eating. Her life with us was a full 6 years and she was the Queen of the Roost! She always made sure she had the best spot and was the first to inspect new quarters and give it the OK. She was the best egg sitter and there were times when she had a hidden stash of eggs she was sitting on. Buffy was one of the original chickens we started with in 2006 and was the best swimmer! She also made a huge fuss to alert me when one of the naughty ones (usually Skollie!) escaped the chicken run – not wanting anyone to have a better adventure than her! Oh, I will miss her. Bye-bye Buffy!

Buffy – February 2010

The Life of Buffy – October 2006 to February 2013

Buffy with Mary, her sister – October 2006

Fully grown in 2007 but she couldn’t fly – she had crooked wings. The reason her name was Buffy – short for Spicy Buffalo Wings.

She was a really good swimmer – enjoyed the pool in the heat of summer!

Buffy – ever the opportunist – she was always there hoping for a handful of sunflower seeds!

Buffy?? What are you hidding?

[one_half]This was November 2012 -in the meadow[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A last goodbye – we will miss you![/one_half_last]

She was a great pal!


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Farewell my feathered friend

A very sad day indeed, for me! I have lost my special and favourite chicken – Ruby! We believe she was taken by a local wild cat or badger. She had this naughty tendency to wander out of the garden. She found a gap in the back fence and almost daily we had to look for her out in the church field. Sometimes she took the other two stooges with her as back up, so she wasn’t the only one who was blamed! But yesterday was a different day – she was with us all day and only went missing when the sun went down. It had been raining heavily so we knew she could not fly back over the fence with her rain-drenched feathers. We went looking for her our my gum boots on and with a super powerful torch that light up the fields and beyond – but to no avail. I knew she was cold and wet so at midnight – Hannes and I went out again!! But nothing ……

Early this morning I went out – the same route and there found a patch of feathers. It was Ruby’s! Then we knew she did not have a fighting chance!

I want to remember the playful and cheeky chicken that found her way into my heart the day I picked her from a large clutch of chicks! We had chosen two of them and the second one died before we could name her! So Ruby was alone! She peeped and peeped in her small play pen all forlorn, so every morning she came into bed with us and cuddled under the blanket. To this day, she used to jump on my lap for a snuggle and a cuddle! Just like a little dog! She loved the colour blue – so where ever the blue blanket was, you would find Ruby scratching on it – even if she found it on the bed! She had the full use of the house – she never messed and was always searching and looking for a nook to climb into. Often she would be in the spare room, in a box or between the books on the shelf! We used to scare each other sometimes! I would not know she was sitting there and we would both squack and scream and run out! So funny!

[one_half]Ruby on the left at 2 weeks old[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ruby in the middle[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Ruby when she was sick[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ruby how I will remember her[/one_half_last]

She would only allow me to hold her without making a huge fuss. There was a time when she was ill. Would not move only lay there. I did not think she would make it. She sat next to me in my office – on the blue blanket – and she would jump up on my lap and perch on my arm. It took two full days before she recovered. It was touch and go, though. But that was the only time she was ever ill – always healthy, always hungry and the first one out in the morning and the last one in at night! She was so cheeky – she was always trying to jump the fence to get to the veggie patch – remember? She was the reason I had to enforce the “feather duster”!! She had loads of character and knew she could get away with murder sometimes!

So – those were the good memories and I will never forget her! She was a special friend!


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Non-plant garden things

Now that autumn is here, I just wanted to share some of the non-plants I have that are very much part of my garden.  My little house for Timmy the Mouse, the red, rusty plow that lies in the front garden, the buckets that I have, my kind and sweet Buffy the chicken, my huge Rooster that sits on my front porch and the tools that I take out everytime I put my gardening gloves on (the chickens come running when these come out! )

What are your non-plant garden things? 

[one_half]Timmy's house[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Red plow[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Garden buckets[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Buffy the chicken[/one_half_last]


[one_half_last]Gardening tools[/one_half_last]

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She’s back! Whew!

Runby 3Whew – found Ruby! Last night at midnight, I was in bed and still worried about my little chicken all alone in the rain. So my fabulous hubby said he would look again. It was pouring with rain by this time. With torch in hand, he found her under a bush in the neighbours front garden – thank goodness because they have a dog!! – a white alsatian. Oh my word! I cannot even imagine what would have happened this morning!

Hannes said you have to look so carefully because they lie very, very still. She was so happy to be back and got a special plate of seeds!! She is my favourite one, you know! And she is the one who comes in every breakfast time through the kitchen door to see what I’m making. I can see the other chickens outside egging her on to check what she can bring back for them! heehee!!  I sit on my stool and she jumps on my lap like a little dog and we kiss and hug and she just loves it. Out little ritual in the morning.

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Ruby is missing

RubyDon’t be alarmed, but Ruby went missing today. Before I got home, Hannes sent me an SMS saying Ruby is missing in action! Now, remember this is the chicken that destroyed my garden last week, so she seems to be on a mission to get out of the back area. NOW, this weekend, I caught her in the neighbour’s garden. Hmmmmmmm….. she is flying over the fences now, I see. So when I got home – it was dark and raining. I got my big torch and hunted around, peering over the next-door-neighbours fences (Now we haven’t got high walls between us, yet. We are still a small community and still quite neighbourly!). But to no avail. I’m going to have to get up early to find her before someone else does (or the neighbours dog!)