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Six Hens

“Daisy” is a fluffy Buff Orpington. A big, beautiful blond. Sweet, tame, the first to greet us, the first to be on our laps when we sit nearby. She is somewhat “motherly” to the other hens, although she’ll never hatch eggs and be a mother because we have no rooster. She was the first to lay an egg and has laid an egg every day for the first three months of her adulthood. If I had to pick one breed of chicken for a backyard hen project, I’d pick Buff Orpingtons. Daisy died at the age of 5 1/2 years. She remained sweet, friendly, and calm her whole life. We miss her.




“Sweetpea” is just as her name implies. A cuddler by nature, she’s the only hen who will sit still for any length of time, sometimes closing her eyes and enjoying the lap of a human as her coop-mates hop off and on human knees. Her breed, Barred (or Plymouth) Rock, are known to be good layers of light-brown eggs, steady and quiet hens. If you look carefully at Sweetpeas’s comb, you can see a chunk missing in the back. One of the other hens became annoyed with Sweetpea, pecked her, and tore off a piece of her comb. We encourage Sweetpea to stand up to the Wyandottes but it is not in her nature. At age six now, she is still friendly and gets along well with her two younger companions, Penny and Ginger.



“Poppy” is strickingly beautiful. A Silver-laced Wyandotte with black and white feathers, she is also the most temperamental of our six hens (see story “A Problem Chicken”). Poppy likes to have her back scratched by humans since there is not rooster around to do it for her. She is still high-strung and has a tendency to chase the chickens that are lower on the “pecking order”. Poppy lays beautiful light-brown eggs. She passed away at the age of five.






“Rosie” is our little Rhode Island Red. No flock is complete without this standard breed. She lays eggs that are medium brown in color. Rosie is our little “chow hound”. When we are in the garden, she watches our every move, hoping we’ll find a tidbit such as a snail or a potato bug for her to devour. She grabs food away from the other hens and if we carry in a bowl of treats to the hens, she will jump into the air to reach for it. She reminds us of our “late” Chocolate Labrador Retriever who would do anything for food. Rosie is now “late” herself. She died in early January 2011 (see “Rosie Passed Away”). I can’t bear to take her picture off this site because she was so much a part of our flock. We miss her. I would like to get another Rhode Island Red. They are consistent layers and good pets.



The name “Petunia” sounds so sweet and Petunia looks sweet. But Petunia is not! She is the most timid of all the hens and is quick to run if we reach to pick her up. The pretty Golden-laced Wyandotte is quick to snap at other hens and can be downright cruel to Rosie and Sweetpea, pecking their heads if they come too close. Petunia could best be described as “edgy”, but she is a part of the flock and remarkably beautiful. Petunia was one of those chickens that caused such chaos in the coop that we made the difficult decision to re-home her. See the story of Petunia’s new home here.


“Tulip” was one of the first three chicks we bought. She was (and still is) an observer. She watches the other hens, the humans, and is ever alert to danger. Her Ameraucana breed is known for laying blue or green eggs. Tulip’s are a light olive-green, very subtle and “tasteful” in color. Tulip usual lets the other hens eat first. She is in no hurry to grab a snack. She is the first, however, to dip her beak into the yogurt bowl. Tulip loves yogurt and cottage cheese. Tulip passed away on April 26, 2012, after suffering from a common disease of hens called egg yolk peritonitis. She was very pretty and very dear.



Penelope "Penny" and Ginger

“Penelope”, who we call “Penny”, and “Ginger”, came to us at about five months of age. Our neighbor, Jacob, raised them as a school project. Jacob did not know that they were laying eggs because they were “free ranging” in his yard and were good at hiding them. We were down to two old hens so I was glad to have these wonderful young layers. It was hard for Daisy and Sweetpea to accept these two young “upstarts”. The young hens had to sleep on a lower roost and wait until the two older hens had finished eating at the “treat bowl” before they could approach. It took about three weeks before things settled in.










18 Comments to “Six Hens”

  1. What a wonderful site you have! It just makes me smile. You also live in one of my favorite places ever! In fact, my husband and I will be there next weekend! Just cant wait to take the dogs out and also get some delicious Boni’s Tacos!

  2. We love it when visitors come to our little town! Perhaps we’ll see you walking your dogs on the Fiscallini Ranch trails!

  3. Totally enjoyed your yard and, especially, the hens, while on the Cambria Garden Tour last weekend. Thank you So Very Much for opening your yard, and letting us experience your everyday life in Cambria.
    Seeing your hen set-up there, it makes me want to fix up my coop and get hens again. Totally enjoyed them the 20 years or so that my late husband and I had them. I agree that Buff Orpington’s are the best breed to have. They each have their own personalities and they are all so tame and loving. I had one that would go to each of my rosebushes and spend the day eating all the aphids off of them. Never had to use anything on the roses along as I had her. Also, I notice that since I don’t have hens anymore, I am overrun with snails these last two years. Just that alone makes me want to get hens again.
    Again, thank you for opening your yard for us all last weekend. It was so peaceful and enjoyable.

  4. We enjoyed having you Dee. It was truly our pleasure. Everyone was so enthusiastic about the chickens and garden. I do hope you get chickens again. They are good therapy. Let me know if you do get them and what breeds you decide on. Best of luck, Lee.

  5. […] Six Hens Home » Raising Chickens » Rosie’s Pecked Head-Bottom of Pecking Order […]

  6. I love this website!!! It has convinced me that I NEED to get some cameras for my coop…..saw you on BYC!!!

  7. Glad you like it Sam. Even if I didn’t have the hencam website, I enjoy checking in on the hens with the cameras once in a while to see what they are up to. Let me know when you have your hencam up and running!

  8. It made me smile when I came across your website, would love to put a your link on mine. I am without chooks at the moment but plan to start up again. Thanks for making my day

  9. Please do link our sites, Annmarie. And tell us how to pronounce “chooks”!

  10. Aimee Dickenson

    I love, love, love your blog! I’m new to owning chickens, mine are called the Dixie Chicks, and am always reading and learning as much as possible. I found your blog from BTC. Great site. Thanks for all the antedotes, funny pictures and stories. Keep it up.

    Please visit my blog:

    Thanks again! I’ll keep checking for new posts!!!

  11. LOVE your blog! I’m here in Atascadero …… and I happened upon your blog when I was looking up how to trim/care for my Rhubarb!! LOL Just so happens …. my husband just built me a tremendous coop (Cluckingham Palace) and I have my first ever ……… 24 hens!! LOL I am in love …… closet I will get to grandchildren for a few more years! LOL I have 14, 3 1/2 week hens and 10, 5 day old hens.

    Haven’t learned to do a blog yet …… maybe one day. Thanks for all the tips! My hens (the older ones) love brown rice and greek yogurt!!! Gonna try cottage cheese next!!

  12. Congratulations on your new flock. You jumped right in, didn’t you? Chickens are really entertaining aren’t they? Wonder what you will do with all those eggs? Better start having your friends save their egg cartons for you! Best of luck with your new hobby.

  13. I love that you have a page to introduce each of your hens. I might do the same. I just need to get the individual photos now. Thank you for the idea. I hope you don’t mind me borrowing it.
    BTW love the hen cam. I check it regularly.

  14. “chooks” rhymes with cooks. In Australia we “keep a few chooks in the backyard” :-)

  15. …. so sorry about Poppy.

  16. Loved your site. We just got our chicks-4 silver laced Wyandottes and 4 Light Brahmas. Hope their temperment is good, I’ve been reading about all the breeds and they say these are pretty calm. My husband and I are finishing up on our chicken run. Getting excited to get the girls in their new home when they are old enough. We live here in Grass Valley, CA. and the nights are getting back to the 40’s & 50’s sure hope they will be warm enough. Love your chicks names as well, I had decided on flower names for my girls and had written down all of the ones you have picked. Now it’s just a matter of naming them once they get bigger and have their own personalities.

  17. […] grabbing the tastiest of treats, ducking, and running away with them. See “Rosie” on Six Hens. In frustration, the other hens will peck her head, but Rosie stands her ground, treat in beak, and […]

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