Thanks for the comments on the chickens. They are beautiful, mostly heirloom breeds. Since Jamie hand-raised these girls, they are mostly well behaved -- as well behaved as a chicken can be, I suppose. The reason I was able to adopt them though, has some sad bits. Jamie had left them for the summer in the care of some folks who said they really wanted them. But, they didn't end up doing a bang up job. One big issue was that they purchased pullet food instead of layer food. Pullet food, for young chicks, just doesn't have enough calcium for laying birds, so they are all calcium deficient. I immediately switched their feed, but it was a bit late. Amelia got egg-bound, meaning that she tried to lay an egg, but with the weak shell it broke before it emerged, leading to a dangerous situation. We took her to the vet for a procedure to remove the bits of egg still inside and to get some medicine. She's now on antibiotics and all the birds are on calcium supplements.
When Amelia was at her weakest, the morning before the vet appointment, Annie hovered over her and acted protective. However, now that she's on the mend, but still slower than the other birds, Tasty is getting a little testy at her. They sure don't like to share. And I have to make sure Amelia gets the medicated food and not the others. Boy, they sure don't understand that and squawk big time, even if they also have a treat. Pecking order is not a myth. I hope that as Amelia improves to full health, she can tell Tasty where to go.
Teresa asked about the eggs. All the breeds produce different eggs. Annie and Tasty have yellow-whitish shells, regular chicken egg size. Lucy's egg is the same size, but a subtle shade of blue. Orpington has a large white egg, while Amelia's is large and brown. Not only is it helpful to have the difference so we know who is laying, it is important that we discard any eggs from Amelia while she's on medication.