Beaker is a little BB Red bantam hen but don’t let her diminutive size fool you; she is an energetic bird to be reckoned with! She has beautiful auburn plumage and is just as quick to snatch up prized pea shoot leaves and worms as her big sisters, often beating them to the punch because she’s so fast and sprightly. She also sings in the most adorable, high-pitched squibbles, like her namesake. (There is a bird that looks identical to Beaker at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, which may be her true sister — they both came from the same home.)
Yoko is a Silver Spangled Hamburg hen, and she is incredibly shy. She’s at the bottom of the pecking order and only eats choice bits once everyone else has had their fill. She is the only bird I hand-picked from the ten that Annie Novak brought back from Liberty View Farm; Annie had set aside MeiMei, Mama and Beaker for us because they got along well, and let me choose the last one from the rest of the birds that she got. I was immediately drawn to Yoko (and Annie wasn’t surprised). With Dalmation-spotted plumage, she was too beautiful to resist. Although, when I first got her, this bird had yolk all over her face due to a little accident with an egg; that’s why I named her Yoko.
Mama is the biggest, bawdiest, bossiest hen of the bunch, so she is at the top of the pecking order. She’s an Aracauna hen, a good egg-laying South American breed, and you can tell that by her distinctive legwarmer-like plumage extending to her feet. Aracaunas are supposed to lay blue-green eggs, but for some reason, Mama’s eggs are tan, and they’re usually very oblong in shape. Don’t mess with Mama — she’ll squawk at you, especially if you open the door to the roost when she’s in there, trying to lay an egg (then again, I don’t think I’d be too thrilled if someone did that to me).
MeiMei is a lovely Cochin hen, which is native to China. So I gave her a name in Chinese that means, literally, “Pretty Pretty,” because she is. With a reddish-brown and black patterned plumage, I want a dress that looks like it. MeiMei is quite feisty, being one of the bigger hens, and only Mama can keep her from hogging all the spent grain that these chickens love, until she’s hit her sleepy fill. MeiMei is not shy, and she will come up and inspect everything you present to her to eat, sometimes rejecting it because it’s not tasty enough, being the princess that she is.