Given: In the beginning there are 30 or so free-range chickens, three of them male.
Given: There is a little predator problem.
Murphy's law of chickens:
By the time you get down to nine chickens, three of them will still be male.
All that's left of the next-to-last Marans.
Since the last chicken update in April, we've lost five more hens.
We have two chickens still left from our original batch (from spring 2004), Stewpot and a white leghorn hen.
The others are survivors from spring 2005:
1 Rhode Island Red rooster
1 Easter Egger rooster
1 Marans hen
3 Easter Egger hens
The Easter Egger hens are my favorites - they're sweet (and apparently more predator-proof) and they lay cool greenish-blue large eggs all year long. (They don't stop laying during the molt or during the winter like some breeds do.)
We decided that if we get more chicks next spring we'll have to build a run for them around the coop and stop the whole free-range idea, or at least limit its hours. These chickens are just too fond of the woods (a.k.a. coyote and bobcat central).
Let me know if you want a rooster.