This picture of my Easter Egger hen was taken this morning as I stoked the fire in the barn. It has gotten over 150 likes so far in the group Appalachian Americans on Facebook so I thought I’d do a little write-up about Bugsy Blue for anyone who wanted to read it.
(edited to add: This picture now has over 170 likes and I’m not even done writing this post!)
Please meet Bugsy Blue the Easter Egger hen and Heather, my 2015 graduate who used this chicken as a prop in her Senior portraits.
Heather is my middle daughter and she is going to make me a grandmother for the first time in July of 2016. (insert mixed emotions here)
These pictures were taken in October 2014.
Is it Easter Egger, Americauna, Americana?
Who knows! I don’t care what she is, I love her just the same. I think they are all the same breed just spelled in different ways. We have quite a history together and if you care to learn, keep reading, I’ll tell you all about it.
In The Beginning
I can personally tell you that the egg comes before the chicken! I know this because I bought the egg that Bugsy Blue was hatched from. She was one of 3 that hatched out of a dozen I paid $20 for. 3 chicks for $20-NOT so good, but I was a fairly new hatcher so live and learn!
It was my birthday in August of 2013 and I always try to buy myself a little something special, just for me. This year I was going to spend a $20 bill on a dozen hatching eggs. It was 4 Orpingtons, 4 Americaunas(the EE), and 4 black copper Marans.
EE is a common abbreviation for Easter Egger
I brought them home and set them in the incubator on August 24th. The incubator had an automatic turner so it was pretty much a set it and forget it thing for 18 days. That is the day that the eggs get taken out of the incubator and laid on their side so the chick developing inside can get in a position to hatch properly.
The 18th day of incubation is commonly referred to as “lockdown“.
They started hatching while I was away, as a rule this always happens. First a Marans, then the Orpington and the last to hatch of the 12 eggs was Bugsy, my Easter Egger. The other 9 did not hatch.
I’m not sure why I had such a poor success rate because most all of the chicks I hatched from my own eggs made it to full term no problems. I hatched 7 of 8 of my own barnyard mixes right along with these, in the same incubator and time-frame.
Anyway, this was on September 15th, my mom’s birthday. We had spent the day at our annual Championship Race with our competition dogs. (This is a whole different post I’ll link up one day, whenever I get around to writing it)
When we got home I realized that I had forgotten to stop and buy smokes and I had already smoked my last one- I didn’t know until the next day that it literally would be my last one-EVER!
With everything that went on that day I just decided to go on to bed and go to the store in morning. When I got up something hit me hard and I just decided it would be the perfect time to stop smoking! Just think of all the animals I could buy and feed on the farm if I could break this nasty addiction! So I did!
The next few days was spent crying like I had lost a best friend and trying to figure out a way to get over the urge to smoke. I spent minimal time with my animals, just basic care of fresh water and plenty of food for everyone.
What happened over the next few weeks was more crying and minimal care for the animals. I would cry if I forgot the water jug in the barn. It was crazy!
What I missed during this time was that Bugsy Blue was hatched with a bulging blue eye and the other one looked fairly normal. At this point I didn’t have the heart to put her down as I already had been through enough emotionally and this would only make me cry more.
I had already decided that this little chick couldn’t see out of the blue eye. We had been just calling it “Blue” but nothing around here goes with a proper first and middle name. What goes good with Blue? Bugsy! Bugsy blue stuck one day. We raised her right along side her hatch-mates and then tried to mix her in to the layer coop once we were sure it was a she. I thought this would be the best place for her.
The other ladies weren’t so receptive to her. They would make her hide in the corner and she had several peck marks on her comb. After several days of this, I couldn’t take it anymore! I got her out and put her in a double-wide coop that I had a trio of Mille Fleur D’uccles in on one side. She would have them in a separate area to keep her company.
They avoided her like the plague. I felt bad for her so I gave her the chance to be friends with a few pullets I had hatched that hadn’t started laying yet. This was working great! Right through the winter Bugsy could be kept warm by her coop-mates and I didn’t have to worry about her anymore.
UNTIL that one day when we took her for a road trip to get Heather’s senior pictures made. Once we returned home Bugsy Blue turned into the aggressor in her coop. I don’t know if she thought she was too good for those ladies or what but she whooped both their behinds and I had to get them out. So Bugsy has been alone since that day in October of 2014.
She doesn’t seem to mind as long as I place the food in the same spot and never move her water bowl. I peck the food dish as I put it in every night to guide her to it.
I have since come to the conclusion that my Easter Egger, Bugsy Blue is completely blind, maybe only seeing light and dark figures.
She lays a beautiful blue egg and almost 20 every year! WOW I know, it’s amazing that I would keep a chicken for a laying hen that only lays 20 eggs a year. Did I mention I love her?
There will probably be an egg today in the barn when I go back down to check on the fire. The last cold snap we had she was in the barn for 7 days and laid 4 eggs while she was in there. I think it’s her way of saying thanks. I just brought her back in last night because the winds were starting to pick up and she was the only one still active out of all my birds.
I went to the barn to fill the wood stove for the night and she danced at her coop door like she had laid an egg but when I went to look, she almost jumped on my shoulder. I figure it’s time to take her in.
The only reason that I hadn’t taken her in already was because last week I brought chicks in and they are in the brooder coop I usually keep her in during brutally cold weather.
So, I had to do something else with her. I found a big plastic tub that we store feed in sometimes and it was empty! Check- somewhere safe. I loaded it up with straw for insulation. I put the lid to a 5 gallon bucket in there and sat her normal water bowl that won’t tip over on it and showed her where it was. She settled down in the straw, I filled the stove and sat for a few minutes to make sure it was going to burn.
On my way out of the barn, I looked in on Bugsy and she was perched on her water bowl. Her feet and feathers on her breast were soaking wet. I’m positive if I hadn’t checked on her she would be dead today.
I took her in my arms and dried her off. We sat by the fire and I thought of what a good picture this would make! I cupped her feet with my hands and blew on them to warm them up. She made the sweetest little coo sound while I was doing it. I just wanted to keep doing it to hear her.
Once she was good and dry I found a small section of 2×4 that she could perch on and placed it in her tub. Wha-la! it worked. She slept there all night.
I made sure this morning to take my camera because I wanted that picture.
When I got into the barn Bugsy Blue my Easter Egger hen was still on the roost. Her water had froze over on the top! (Thank goodness her feet didn’t get frozen too)
I stoked the fire up and then grabbed her up to check her feet out. I was hoping there was no damage from the cold water last night.
She was fine! I kicked back with her resting in my lap and her feet went right up in the air. I do see that she is need of a pedicure. I’ll work on that tonight!
For any chicken lover that has made it this far reading about my Easter Egger hen, Bugsy Blue, Thank You! I’ve rambled on far too long about her, me and my daughter Heather.
UPDATE while writing- this picture has gotten 193 likes on Facebook and it has been shared many times (I never thought people would like it that much)
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