Flint-Hill · Albums

Buff Orpington Hen

One pretty boy Big boy Miss Underestimated Buckbeak Tough little bird Sunrise: A mysterious blonde Sentient and serious Serious-minded Dinosaur feet Buckbeak, the barn and the fog Dooster Stud muffin Never coddle a pushy barn cat. Bluebeard up close Sunrise: Not the girl we thought Dove in her sumac tree Fierce bird In his prime Always the fierce one Rescued Irie

Ameraucanas, Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, and Wyandottes.

I realize now that when we moved onto the farm years ago we were seeking a simulacrum, an imago of the natural life. Our chickens didn't understand that they had wandered into a simulation. Instead, they were engaged in a protracted, earnest and deadly struggle for existence.

The chickens soon taught us what a serious responsibility we had taken on. When we made mistakes through ignorance or imprecision, they died.

Thirteen years on, our contract with the girls is this:

"We will keep you safe, free, and uncrowded on a green pasture protected by gentle guardian dogs. You'll have food and shelter winter and summer. In return, we'll take your eggs for eating or for hatching the next generation. We understand that this is a difficult bargain."

A hen has just 200 to 300 ovarian follicles. When those are exhausted, there are no more eggs, no more offspring, at least in this lifetime.

"When you lay yourself out making eggs and new chicks for the farm, we're not going to eat you. You have a home with us for life."

Thanks for visiting our sweet, brown hens. I am touched that you appreciate their sentience, diligence, and beauty.

75 photos | 2,806 views



Comments on this set

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Shirley Johnson says:

A fantastic series I love the lighting and DOF in the chick shots, I am left wondering though, has this chap been feather pecked by the 'vicious' one? It looked as if he needs body armour!!
Thanks for sharing them.
Posted ages ago. ( permalink )

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pete@eastbaywilds.com says:

this old bird's dino is showing! what a great red skin color and orangeish feather/eye color. should get posted on the red group if it's not already. i love all your animal series.
Posted ages ago. ( permalink )

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veganmichele says:

wow! I loooove chickens and these photos are absolutely gorgeous!
Posted ages ago. ( permalink )

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Stephanie White Tulip Popescu says:

I am vegetarian and your set with chickens is superb!!
Happiness Conservancy Award for Excellence


This award symbol has the following meaning:
"I love your photograph, and want to thank you for sharing it with me. It demonstrates that you are a sensitive soul who appreciates beauty, and I am thrilled to be sharing this planet with you."

Don't forget to tag to your photograph: HappinessConservancy.

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.abrux. says:

My favorite part of Ken's chicken photographs are the accompaning stories. Together with the photograph they let you really see into each bird as a unique creature with a personality. Thanks so much for these pics. (and your contract - yay for being brave and posting it!)
Posted ages ago. ( permalink )

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debfreemansmudge says:

Thank you for sharing your insight into chicken life and your contract may many more people adopt it ! Keep the chicken pics a coming x
Posted ages ago. ( permalink )

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rubi55 says:

Its series of these birds is really interesting, I hope to continue learning of its commentaries in each photo.
Posted ages ago. ( permalink )

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*darkly dreaming gardener* says:

I just love your chicken pics. For chicken lovers, it's like looking at pics of other people's kids.

I could never have imagined how much I would care about chickens. From screaming 3 day old balls of fluff, to scrawny bald teenaged girls, to broody squalky talky co-conspirators, you don't know love until you know chicken love!
Posted 119 months ago. ( permalink )

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Shutterfool says:

Really great photo set you have here. I am just learning and growing into my new camera, and have not even used the second lens.
I will be sure to take it along on the next dairy farm visit, you have inspired me.
I grew up with chickens: late winter my father would put in his order at the local feed store for baby chicks, every year we had our (huge, 13 kids) kitchen table covered in baby chicks boxes and heat lamps.
Every summe we were chased by a "mean" rooster......
Loved getting up early and going out to the hen house to reach under a warm hen and collect fresh eggs.........
Thanks for sharing !
Posted 116 months ago. ( permalink )

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Cha X Davis says:

Your contract with the girls really made my day. I am only a year into having chickens and I have to say they have touched me in profound ways that defy expression. Knowing there are people like you out there gladdens my heart.
Posted 98 months ago. ( permalink )

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tmst23 says:

All very unique beautiful birds
Posted 79 months ago. ( permalink )

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princessangel says:

Your chickens are so blessed! I love them!
Posted 77 months ago. ( permalink )

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Bordadorhund says:

wow, I'm always a little hesitant to start reading about the care of chickens. knowing that you let them live out their lives is wonderful.
Posted 75 months ago. ( permalink )

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alis_m_art says:

Such beautiful words and photos. I am brought to tears by such gentle compassion for your chickens. Thank you so much for sharing!
Posted 59 months ago. ( permalink )

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