It’s been over three months since I gave baby chicks to my broody hen, Louise and it’s still fascinating watching them integrate into our small flock. They have gotten so big, yet they remain on the bottom of the pecking order, which is what happens with new chicks.
You may remember in a previous blog (I know, it’s been a while), that we added a French Cooper Marans named Liberty (or Libby as we call her), an Olive Egger named Olive, and a Sapphire Gem we called Georgette (after the Mary Tyler Moore Show character if anyone is keeping track of my TV sitcom chicken names).
The biggest change has been a change to pecking order, which I expected. Hazel, the Easter Egger, was on the bottom and is now thrilled to have three birds below her. Now she gets to bully and peck the young pullets. An activity she takes great joy in doing constantly.
When the three new chicks finally went up to roost with Momma and the rest of the flock I was happy. That was until I saw all the drama it caused. Keep in mind, I have two 6-foot roost bars in the American Coop, so that’s more than enough room for six full sized hens and 3 pullets.
The pullets, mostly Georgette, was trying to snuggle up close under Louise’s wing or on top of her, which momma wasn’t having. They were very dramatic whenever they got pecked or pushed off the roost bars, which did happen. It happened a lot. Hazel took great joy in guarding the henhouse door (sitting in the middle of the roost bar) and pecking the young birds when they tried to come in to roost at night.
Georgette even decided a few times that life on the roost bar was too challenging, so she tried to sleep in a nearby nest box.
But I always do a nighttime bird count and when I would see her in the nest box, I would take her out and place her on the roost bar.
The last thing I want to do is to encourage bad habits, and sleeping (which leads to defecating) in the nest boxes is a very bad habit. Besides, this coop is made to encourage their instincts, which is to roost at night.
/>Another notable thing was that Libby laid a fairy egg. I noticed a small, dark brown egg in the pergola near their treat bowls. I was lucky to find it since it could have easily gotten buried by the girls.
It was so tiny and so perfect! I’m sure she had no idea what happened as it popped out while she was snacking. While the egg is about the size of a quarter, it was a nice harbinger of things to come from our marans.
An interesting development is that the Olive Egger and Sapphire Gem look identical. They seemed a bit more different when they were little chicks, but as they grow, they look the same. So much so that my husband refers to them as ‘the twins.’
We were assured they are two different breeds, from different hatcheries, and while doing some digging, there are Olive eggers that look just like Sapphire Gems.
One has a slightly bigger comb and is very vocal, so I’m thinking she’s Georgette, the Sapphire Gem, since they are said to be crossed with a Blue Plymouth Rock and a Barred Plymouth Rock. (My barred Rocks are super vocal).
Fun Fact! Sapphire Gems are sex linked birds, meaning they can be sexed as baby chicks based on their coloring, which is a good thing if you don’t want roosters. Another fact is you cannot breed Sapphire Gems to get Sapphire Gems, they are a heritage/hybrid cross. Also, only Hoover Hatchery has trademarked the name Sapphire Gem.
Olive Eggers, on the other hand, are a hybrid created by crossing a blue egg layer with a dark brown egg layer. So there can be various different breeds crossed to make an Olive Egger chicken, including Ameraucanas, Marans, Legbars, and Welsummers. Because of this, Olive Eggers can vary drastically in appearance. I have seen some on the Internet that do look like Sapphire Gems.
I do think Olive and Georgette are not twins, but different breeds that look similar, but honestly, I won’t know for sure which is which until they start laying. Which should be soon. Stayed tuned.
Until next time,
—Ingrid, Crazy Chicken Lady