Backyard Chickens

Backyard Chickens: Meet Gisele

Gisele the Easter Egger chicken

You’ve met Kimora and you’ve met Iman. Now meet Gisele, my girly girl of the flock. This pampered princess couldn’t be more different from her chatty and outgoing sisters. She tends to be shy and cautious, happy to sit back and let the other two squawk over who gets to run the farmlette and have the last treat. She’s a lover, not a fighter.

Backyard chicken Gisele

Gisele was the first to discover the coveted attic space in the coop, which rises a foot above the roost and has a breezy bay window with a view. After Kimora and Iman realized what they were missing out on, they started jostling for that prime perch, often times jostling Gisele right out of it. But being a lover, she’s willing to share the space with her sisters (at one time I caught all three of them squeezed into the cubby, with random legs and tails sticking out everywhere!). Sometimes she simply surrenders her perch to Kimora. She hates confrontation and competition.

Despite being the last hen in the pecking order, Gisele is so sweet that the other two rarely pick on her. They tell her when she’s out of line with a single but firm peck, as knowing big sisters do. She accepts their tough love and happily follows along on family jaunts in the backyard, even if it means giving up that juicy worm she just pulled up — but she’s watching her figure anyway.

Gisele foraging in the backyard

Gisele free-ranging in the backyard

Gisele loves to bask in the sun, stretch out her wings and luxuriate in a dust bath every day. She has even encouraged her sisters to slow down and relax a bit when they get into a foraging frenzy. She is definitely a “stop and smell the roses” type of gal and prefers a laidback life to one of that in the fast lane… a true believer in il dolcie far niente, the sweetness of doing nothing.

Gisele pampering herself with a dust bath

True to her namesake (the glamorous Ms. Bundchen), Gisele is a lean, long-legged lady with beautiful, silky plumage in shades of buff, bronze and gold. She is distinguished from her sisters by her slate-colored legs and grayish-white muff and beard.

Gisele's beautiful buff, bronze and gold plumage

Easter Egger tail feathers

Slate-colored legs on an Easter Egger chicken

Grayish-white muffs and beard on an Easter Egger

As an Easter Egger, she carries the blue-egg gene and will lay pretty pastel-tinted eggs. However, the Easter Egger is not recognized as a true breed by the American Poultry Association. It does not conform to the Standard of Perfection because it does not always breed true. Easter Eggers come in a rainbow of plumage possibilities, and even the colors of their eggs can vary greatly, from pale pink to light blue to olive green.

Easter Eggers were first brought to the United States from Chile in the early 1900s. They are believed to have descended from wild South American fowl that included the Quetro, which laid blue-tinted eggs; Collonca, pink-tinted eggs; and Quechua, green-tinted eggs.

Subsequently, Easter Eggers were crossed with a variety of other strains to develop desirable traits like muffs and tufts; the most stable strains resulted in Araucanas and Ameraucanas. Though these pastel-egg layers are quite rare, the new strains were eventually established as true breeds, while Easter Eggers remained common mixed-breed birds with variable traits.

Although she is a mutt, Gisele still has all the characteristics that top my personal standard of perfection!

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »

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