Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Guessing Game


Life is full of surprises and unfulfilled expectations. As a chicken owner, one has many of these experiences. To begin with, the sign at the feed mill will read: Get Your Pullet Chicks Here!!!! (A pullet is a female chick.) This means the chicks from the hatchery have been "sexed" and only females are supposed to be present in the many boxes of chirping fluffiness. One also assume that the breed labeled on the paper and taped to the box is what one will get, and those chickens will grow up to look like the corresponding picture in the pamphlet given to you from the hatchery.

In the beginning, Dan was almost positive R.W. was going to be a rooster...these days we aren't so sure. We don't know what the sex is and I'm beginning to question what the breed it is.

We had this problem last year with Chaz...and I know, I never got around to doing Chaz's profile. For the longest time we didn't know what Chaz was...a male or a female...and yes, in honor of Chaz Bono, hence the name, Chaz.

Sometimes it's hard to tell a rooster from a hen in the early days. No matter the sex, each chicken is growing their combs (what's on top of their heads) and their wattles (the red stuff hanging down from their chins). Roosters are by nature bigger in body, wattles and sometimes combs. As chickens mature sexually and get closer to laying eggs, the wattles and combs will develop more and become more pronounced.

Cadburry has "matured" over night it seems and resembles a full-grown chicken. Prissy got her name because she was the first out of Flock 1 to fully develop. Prissy has a rather large comb on her head.

(I have also read, that  you can tell if a chicken doesn't lay eggs if her comb and wattles are shriveled looking and not really "there".)

Chickens start to lay when they reach 5 to 6 months of age. (That means hopefully next month we will start to see some pullet eggs!!!!!!) And it seems everyone is developing right on schedule. We are going to be in for it though. We definitely have a rooster, who has already reached puberty and is trying to ride his overachiever. Yep...we have one worse than Foghorn...

Ladies and gentlemen who are fans of The Chicken Lady, I introduce to you....


You know since we had a Foghorn we had to have a Chicken Hawk. The above isn't a great picture of him, but he already struts his stuff. I think it was a good idea we let Foghorn go...who knows what would have happened between the two

I am excited to see what Chicken Hawk will look like once he's full-grown. He already has beautiful green tail feathers. That's another thing with roosters, their tail feathers arch out and curl, unlike a hen's as theirs tend to be straighter.

I'm sure Chicken Hawk will become a character as time goes on. He has yet to discover his voice .  He can take his time...Dan and I are enjoying the peace and quiet....sorry to my neighbor who actually misses the 4:00 A.M. crowing!

Once in my fantasy world I had 30 laying chickens. Then, due to human error on my part and the hatchery, I know have maybe 26 to 27 laying hens and possibility more than one rooster. And so begins round two!

                                                                                      ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

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