Showin' Some Style
I keep picturing this chicken in itty bitty cowboy boots.
Unfortunately it's been showing more than style since this photo was taken back on June 24th. Specifically, it's been showing signs of being a rooster. Roosters don't lay eggs. Instead they spend their time strutting around and making lots of noise. The real tough ones go around picking fights.
The last time we mail-ordered baby chicks from a hatchery, we paid extra so they would all be pullets (females). But out of the 27 baby chicks that arrived in a small peeping box at the post office, nine of them turned into roosters. I'm convinced the chick sexer (how's that for a job title?) was on a break when our order was packed. There are varieties of chickens called 'sex-links,' and when these come crashing out of their eggs the girls already look different from the boys, but I didn't learn about them until after the roosters had arrived.
It was sort of fun at first, hearing that distinctive rooster crow. Cock-a-doodle-doo! Cock-a-doodle-doo! COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO! It made the farm feel more like a farm. But contrary to popular belief, roosters do not only crow at the break of dawn. At least not our nine roosters.
They crowed at all hours of the day and night, and boy, does that sound carry. We'd be heading up the driveway on a morning or afternoon walk, at least a quarter mile away from the farmyard, and suddenly you'd hear this Cock-a-doodle-doo! floating across the fields and into the woods.
"Wow," I said, the first time it happened. "You can really hear those roosters a long ways away." Joe simply shook his head in agreement. He's had more experience with roosters than he cares to remember.
"So how do I know if these chicks are hens or roosters?" I asked him a few weeks ago after returning from feeding Whitey and her rapidly growing brood yet another gourmet meal. They were putting on feathers, turning different colors, and taking on individual characteristics.
"We'll know soon enough," he replied, then hitched his deep voice up a few notches and said, "Cock-a-doodle-doo!"
There's nothing like a hunky farmguy crowing like a rooster. Now if I could just convince him that we need to keep one of these new boys around so he can fertilize some eggs. How else will Whitey be able to raise another batch of chicks?
Many thanks to the nearly 200 of you who so kindly completed my five second survey (and for all those kind words -- wow). Your responses have been extremely helpful, and I'll be making some changes around here based on what you've told me. If you haven't yet taken part, I'd still love to have your input. Just click here -- it really does only take a few seconds.
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