Here are the new black copper French Marans pullets on the left and two Rhode Island Red hens on the right sitting in a sand dust pit. The chickens take dust baths which help clean their feathers.
This is another view of the Rhode Island Red hens in the dust pit and if you look closely (click on the picture to enlarge) you will see one hen and lots of dust where the other hen is in the middle of her dust bath.
We picked up seven black copper French Marans from a breeder near Lincoln, NE. They have been here for about a month and are growing so quickly. They are beautiful chickens -- pure black with copper feathers around the head and/or neck. We still have them separated from the full grown hens so they won't be picked on. The chicken pecking order can be brutal and difficult to watch as it is established with new additions to the flock.This week we'll begin the integration process so they can be part of the Dot House before the cold weather sets in. The black coppers lay the darkest of the dark chocolate colored egg shells.
Here is a sampling of the eggs I gather daily. The brown one on the upper left is from the Wyandotte and Rhode Island Red hens; the blue egg on the bottom left is from an Americana or Easter Egger hen; the green egg on the lower right is from a pullet (young, new layer) Easter Egger and the top right dark brown egg is from a young cuckoo French Marans pullet.
As you can see the Marans eggs are getting darker as the pullet gets better at laying. I have only one Marans laying right now. Supposedly the black coppers will lay even darker eggs than the cuckoo Marans breed.
This weekend, we had the delight to host long time friends John and Cheryl from Denver. We had a lovely visit and John got to experience the harvest in a big way when he rode in the combine of friends who were harvesting corn.
Cheryl is packing produce and eggs for the ride home. She helped me pick the last of the ripe tomatoes from the vines. We also harvested the last of the potatoes and the peppers. The help was appreciated. I sent jam, Jack Daniels ketchup and tomato sauce along with them. Sharing the fruits of the harvest is something that gives me great joy and is a vital part of gardening for me. Today, I'll be making tomato marmalade and the last tomato sauce. We are expecting our first hard freeze of the season this Thursday, so I'll be picking the last of the green tomatoes today and tomorrow so I can wrap them in newspaper to ripen and some will be pickled.
John spent over an hour with Buddy training him to 'stay' for extended periods of time. I appreciated the training session and worked with Buddy a couple times after they left yesterday. John's concentrated training session helped Buddy understand the stay command so much better. He will now stay for up to about 10 minutes. I worked with him again this morning and he's got it. Thanks John!
Saying goodbye after a fun weekend to our Denver friends, John and Cheryl.
The gardening season is winding down with the produce almost all harvested, and this week I'll be putting the garden to bed for the winter with final cleaning and mulching of all the beds. I have a few bulbs and plants to transplant and about six saplings to put into the ground, then I'll be ready for the snow. It's hard for me to believe that its the end of another gardening season but I'm ready.