This summer, we have become the proud owners of three fabulous backyard chickens. We are excited to gather, cook, and enjoy eat fresh eggs, which they are supposed to begin laying this fall. In the meantime, we are loving their three funny, sweet, and entertaining personalities.
Because I’ll probably to talking about these chickens on this blog from time to time, I wanted to introduce you to each one, and explain their royal names. Yes, we decided to name each chicken after a queen. This “royal flock” is full of personality, and their regal names can give you a sense of what each hen is like.
Wilhelmina the Chicken
Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was a rebel. As a 16-year-old princess in 1897, Wilhelmina wanted to ride a bike. However, her mother the Queen, and eventually the Council of State, forbade her to do it. Well, on her 18th birthday, Wilhelmina officially ascended the throne and it was said that one of the first things she did was to learn to ride a bike! I love this story, which I learned by reading Pete Jordan’s book In the City of Bikes, not only because it shows the steadfastness of a queen, but it helped me find the perfect name for our little rebel hen.
Wilhelmina the hen certainly dances to the beat of her own drum. She is the revolutionary of the group – forging ahead to scratch and peck in a new part of the yard or chase after a bug, even if the other two chickens don’t come with her.
Wilhelmina is a polish hen. This breed of chicken was bred in the Netherlands (!!) for their “crown” of feathers. According to The Livestock Conservancy, “The breed is not from Poland, but rather derived its name from the resemblance to the square, spreading crests on the feathered caps historically worn by Polish soldiers.”
Tikal the Chicken
Queen Tikal began ruling the Mayans at the age of six, and ruled for at least 16 years. It is hypothesized that her rule was justified by comparing her to a patron goddess. While not much is known about her personality, I think Queen Tikal was a gentle beauty.
Tikal the hen (we call her Tiki) is our gentlest of the chicken crew. She has lavender feathers, and loves to coo and cluck. And, she is a most amenable chicken. She is simply happy to follow the whims of the other two. Tiki is the youngest hen of the group, and also the largest of the three hens.
Tikal is an Ameraucana hen. This breed is said to have roots in Latin America. We are excited about Tiki’s future blue eggs! That’s right – this chicken is supposed to lay blue eggs.
Antoinette the Chicken
Queen Marie Antoinette of France was known for her fashion, her food, and her frivolity. But, she also had strong leadership qualities. She sparked changes in court to abandon heavy makeup, and adopt simpler looks (and even – gasp!- was once painted in a simple muslin dress rather than heavy royal garb).
Antoinette the hen is the leader of the group. She always eats first, leaves the coop first, and comes forward to greet me first. But, she also shares her chicken treats and is very dependent on the other two. She is the first to step forward and lead during times when the other two are a little nervous. She is a good leader and a sweet chicken. And, she has a wonderful, fluffy tail and lovely dark feathers.
A Wyandotte hen, Antoinette will lay brown eggs. The breed is pretty docile and friendly, and are good foragers. We have already experienced her amazing foraging ability. She has caught many baby snakes in our yard already!
We are thrilled with our three chickens. They chickens have already started teaching us about healthy living, and have certainly increased our creative productivity.
Do you know anyone with backyard chickens? Let me know in the comments!
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