Lavender Hens dilly dilly

Thanks so much for your kind words about Ramona Rickettes. Your sentiments help us get through rough spots and we appreciate it.

Today, I bring another chicken update.

Over the past month, we have been discussing adding to our flock. Even before Ramona passed away, we needed two more birds. We researched our options: chicks-by-mail via USPS, buying chicks from a feed store, buying hatching eggs, getting older birds, etc. We scoured craigslist, mypetchicken.com and breeders’ websites for hours. I have called just about every farm store in a 100 mile radius to talk to them about chicks. I made plans to pick up day-old chicks, but the chicks died in shipment. None of our options seemed like the right fit.

Some history: Years ago when we started planning our future as chicken keepers, Krista and I became a little obsessed with a British breed, the lavender orpingtons. They are like standard orpingtons, fluffy and docile and dependable layers, but they are a very strange color. We did some research and learned that there was only one breeder in the US actively improving the lavender orpington. We couldn’t find a single breeder in our state. Those were the good old days when I didn’t think I would drive to another state for a chicken. So we put our lavender dreams on the back burner and focused on some more practical breeds for our backyard flock.


Photo from Feathersite.com
They are so pretty.

Last week, Krista saw an ad on craigslist from a lavender orpington breeder who sounded competent in her ad. If you’ve ever looked at chickens on craigslist, you know that competent craigslist ad-writing is not a prerequisite for chicken husbandry. I placed a phone call and we found ourselves in the car lickety-split. After a harrowing experience with traffic in Bellevue and several conversations about how we would never, ever willingly move to that metro area, we found ourselves at a 10-acre farm some 30 miles outside Seattle. It was dark when we arrived, so we took charge of two sleepy young pullets and brought them home.

Welcome home Katniss and Primrose!

They are such a peculiar color. I can’t wait to see them fill out with fluffy feathers. We’re very smitten. They are being quarantined in the brooder for a while because biosecurity is important. It’s very sweet to hear the peeping and talking of young chickens in the house again. We’re spoiling them with cuddles and treats so they will be trained to worship us like the big chickens do.

Speaking of the big chickens, stay tuned for our experiences with flock integration. The pecking order is very real and merciless, so keep your fingers crossed for us.

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30 Comments

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30 responses to “Lavender Hens dilly dilly

  1. Sara

    I love them. Oh my god. They look like beautiful, sooty, Pittsburgh birds. Steelworker chickens, returning from the mill. (This is all a compliment, by the way).

  2. They really are stunning. I want! Good luck w/ integration. Ours last year was harsh. 1 dead from beak injury and another is still has a featherless head =(
    I hope the lavender folks are around next year! I want them and some dark brown egg layers.

    • It seems like this breeder will be around for a while, so if our hens turn out nicely and you want her number, I can give it to you! I am desperate for chocolate egg layers, but I get outvoted on the basis of 1. they all taste the same 2. these are cuter. Bah!

      Your integration story is part of what makes me so nervous! I hope we can manage less bloodshed and death. You had to re-home one, right? I’m hopeful that since we only have 2 big girls and the little girls are close-ish in size, maybe it won’t be too bad? There’s no way to predict, though, I know.

      • Yep, we had to rehome our easter egger. =( Some have integrations that are completely smooth. Who knows. They olders only picked on 2 of the younger ones…who knows why.
        I LOVE the lavender ladies. Other than the polish hens, could there be a queerer chicken? =)
        Someone just emailed me wanting to get rid of a polish hen that keeps getting beat up by her flock mates. I’m a sucker for the polish ladies!
        Good luck!

        • Are you going to take on another polish? They have such silly hair! I love them but I have always heard they get picked on for being so weird looking? The lavender hens are so, so good. You could get a couple….. who’s going to turn you into the city, anyway?

          One of my friends was telling me tonight about when they added chickens and the integration went totally smoothly. I am trying to focus on that anecdote instead of your story, no offense.

          • Totally. Much better anecdote. I hate mine =(
            The polish we have never gets picked on– she is pretty scrappy as the smallest of 9. But I’ve heard they do too. The one we had that died– was extremely docile and her feathers hung completely over her eyes and was easily spooked. (Totally charming, but not so effective for her)

  3. Oh man. I thought Orpingtons were awesome, but now I’m ruined for anything less than these beauties. What amazing birds! I wonder if there are any fellow enthusiasts out my way…

    • The same thing happened to us! We tried to settle for a buff orpington, but she turned out to be a he and we parted ways. I think if we need more giant fluffy chickens in the future, I’m going to campaign for the black australorp. They look so goth. I love them only slightly less than I love the lav orps.

  4. They are beautiful, their color makes them look extra soft, they will be amazing when they fluff out.

  5. Lucky you! I hope introducing them to the flock is a smooth transition. Or, you’ll be like me with chickens living in every corner of the ranch! Funny, although my free birds are from different flocks, they do all meet up together during the day – but the coop and nest area is OFF LIMITS. So now there are three nest areas. Oh well…

  6. What Beautiful Birds – thanks for sharing!

  7. Lovely chickens! What color eggs do they lay?

  8. I look forward to your updates about flock integration.

  9. So beautiful! Like chicken statues! Our 7 are still going strong, knock wood. I just realized their 1st birthday was last week and we forgot to celebrate. I did give them a roll with some frosting stuck to it, so maybe that counts.

  10. Rats, I wish you’d posted BEFORE you went so I could have asked you to pick me up some little ladies! I brave the suburbs as rarely as possible but I’m planning to add a couple hens to my coop this year so I should probably get going on that soon. I have black austrolorps, they are quite lovely and great layers, and these “lavenders” look like they’d complement them aesthetically. :) (Speaking of which, your coop is so dang cute!)

    For what it’s worth, we’ve had chickens for more than 10 years and never had any serious problems introducing new chicks. I hope it will go smoothly for you.

  11. Suzanne

    They are gorgeous and rare breeds are so much fun! We had integration problems last year, but our Barred Rock “top hen” was a bit of a bully and so lead the campain against the newbies. We’ll look forward to your updates as they get to know each other.

  12. robinsnestofchicks

    I love your lavenders! I ordered baby chicks and they arrived in Feb. The hatchery will throw in a mystery chick if you order 25 or more. We received a chick that looks like your lavenders! I’m not sure what she is yet. She is smaller than our buff orpington chicks that we received. I’m not sure what other breed has a lavender, do you? Good luck with combining the chickens!

    • misterkrista

      There are a few different breeds that have blue in them which is very similar. Who did you order from? Any feathers on their feet? I was going to guess blue cochin.

      • robinsnestofchicks

        I ordered them from McMurray. She doesn’t have any feathers on her feet. I’ll research “blue” also to see if anything looks familiar. She’s only 3 weeks, so time will tell more as she gets bigger. Thanks for the input!

  13. Beautiful. Congratulations!

  14. I didn’t know that chickens could be that colour! They are so beautiful!!
    It would be interesting to know how you find their temperament as they grow-up. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Pingback: chickens before they’re hatched | krista and jess

  16. Jennifer

    Andalusions have that same soft gray color. They range from dark grey to the light lavender color you have. Also, I know somebody that got their chicks from Murray McMurray this year and she got three of the light Andalusions. You can see them on hencam.com on previous post. Just a few posts back.

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