Today's featured chickens are Petunia, on the left, and Loretta, on the right. Petunia, 6 weeks old, is a Barred Rock, while Loretta, 4 weeks, is a Black Orpington. Both of these pullets (hens under a year old) will grow into large birds. They are too young to free-range at this point, as our neighborhood does have a hawk, not to mention raccoons, stray cats, skunks, and, sometimes, foxes. We also have some very comical turkeys who stroll through the yard on occasion, though they are not predators.
If you are interested in chickens, take a look at the extensive web site of the Murray McMurray Hatchery. Another good commercial site is My Pet Chicken. So far, my favorite book on the subject is Barbara Kilarski's Keep Chickens!: Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and Other Small Places, which combines useful advice and stories of the author's own pets.