Quarantine Self Isolation Diary

Franz, a three-year-old silver-spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben rooster, inspects his coop before bed.

By Liz Moonbury
Thanks to our kind leaders at The Enterprise office, we took to our homes a good week and half prior to Northam’s STAY HOME announcement to begin our sequestration.
As I’m sure some of you have noticed, operating under a “stay at home” order is, more or less, like taking monastic vows. Some of you take vows of patience, subjected to children and teenagers that think summer break came early as you try to wrangle them to the breakfast table to learn math that you forgot fifteen years ago. Others begin taking on a craft – cooking, baking, foraging, gardening. I have a suspicion that crocheted, knitted, or quilted blankets will be on display as gifts this Christmas in numbers not seen since the 1950s.
But what divine purpose, you might ask, has the author of this article been called to?
The answer, dear readers … is chickens.
For going on three years, Moonbury Hill has been the home of chickens of all shapes and sizes. It began with an eclectic mix of random things that I found “pretty” and a singular Appenzeller Spitzhauben ‘roo. I’ve experimented with breeds. I’ve lost entire flocks to dogs, foxes, even two vengeful opossums.
Only our rooster, Franz, has remained through all of the loss and is the progenitor of most of my current flock. So, naturally, I now have a soft spot for Appenzeller Spitzhauben. (Recently Franz fell victim to a fox attack may he rest in peace.)
Then, on a Day 6 of Seclusion, I found them: Pavlovskayas.
If you’ve never heard of Pavlovskayas, I can forgive you. They are rare. They were almost extinct, and the breed today is just a pieced-together hope of what they were: the Russian mother breed. The breed of chicken that lead to every other crested breed in Europe – such as my beautiful Appenzellers.
And y’all, I love me some crests. I love a good, spangled-colored chicken. I love floofy cheeks.
This is the breed that I have needed all along.

Pavlovskaya eggs. The green marks indicate the eggs appear to be fertile. They are placed back into the incubator.

The problem, though? I had just made my first-ever online purchase of chicks. I was just giving my flock new life with a blue Andalusian, a lavender Ameracauna, an Exchequer Leghorn, and five of Franz’s “homebrew” children.
How would I convince my husband to invest in a rare Russian breed?

I bargained.

“If you let me buy these eggs, I’ll definitely get you some silkies”
A dozen eggs from Oregon later, he called my bluff.

There were no silkies.

There were never silkies.

Now the eggs have been settled into their incubator, and we’ll see what the next chapter of Moonbury Hill has in store.

(Liz Moonbury is the Advertising Representative at The Enterprise.)







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