Team Organic Donors’ Charming Chickens

September 22, 2011 | By | Comments (2)

Organic Donors, so named because the team’s dream is to grow enough food to donate to food banks, is based in Aurora, near Denver. At 5,680 feet above sea level, its elevation poses challenges not faced by any of the other teams in this One-Block Party contest—including subzero weather this summer! Among its many members are cheesemakers, beekeepers, vinegar-brewers and chicken-raisers. This week, we’ll catch up with the team’s subsequent summer adventures as they head toward their One-Block Party this Saturday, September 24.


Millie and Sylvie with Harper and Sophie in background

Harper, my son, and Sophie, my daughter, with Sylvie

(the black hen and gentle queen of the pecking order) and Millie.


Lessons in Leadership from Chickens (and a Cat)

Sylvie and Tallulah, part of our original bunch of chickens, are both two years old. They have four new flock mates, one the same age—Millie—and three who are just five months old, whom we have finally mostly integrated into the flock.

Sylvie is the head chicken (we think). Even though she is very mellow, the others tend to follow her lead. Tallulah is a bully. She keeps the little ones in line by chasing them, and they all run around squawking and flapping. She does not like to be held and is sometimes hard to coax back into the run. She even pecks at our kids. The little hens, on the other hand, are much sweeter and don’t mind being picked up and cuddled. And one of them, Millie, apparently has a crush on our gray cat and follows him around, much to his annoyance.

All our hens lay light brown eggs (the little ones aren’t laying yet, but we think they’ll be putting out brown eggs too). We feed them pellet feed (we alternate inexpensive and organic), scratch, kitchen scraps, worms and weeds. When we toss berries or cheese (or worms!) into the run, the girls go nuts, clucking and jostling each other to gobble up the treats. The hen who scores the choicest treat seems to be regarded with respect from the others afterward.


Tallulah, our wannabe boss-lady, is the red chicken
in front. She’s always ready to pounce.


By Clea Edelblute, Team Member and author of The Way of the Hen: Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens

Posted and edited by Margo True, Sunset Food Editor


  1. Margo True

    Hi, Clea–thank you for pointing out the error with the link. It’s fixed now.

    September 24, 2011 at 4:45 am
  2. Clea Danaan

    Just a September update – all six hens are laying now! We finally have enough eggs to supply our family's egg-eating habits.

    I wanted to update the link at the top of the page. It brings you to the UK version of my book which is out of stock on Amazon. To get the US version, please visit

    September 22, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s