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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Roosters, Parts 3 and 4

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Roosters, Parts 3 and 4

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Well, the rooster saga gets even better.

At our Halloween party on Saturday, my laurel Tristan told me that he thinks the two Rocks are roosters. I told him that I didn't think so ... but I hadn't really looked at them in a while either. (Bobby is their primary caretaker; my role is mostly grabbing them as Bobby flushes them out of the bushes where they hide when they don't want to go back into their pen.) Yesterday afternoon, we had them out, and I took a good look at them, and I found myself agreeing with Tristan. They used to have stubby hen tails, but no more. Their tails have really fanned out and colored up. They also fight with each other an awful lot. Bobby did some more research last night and came to the same conclusion I did: It's almost impossible to tell the difference between Plymouth Rock pullets and cockerels until they either start laying eggs or crowing.

This morning, I wanted to see the Reds crow since Bobby says they look humorously self-important as they do it, and this might be their last day with us. So we went out to the pen, and they all came running over, as usual, since they know that when we come out, they're usually getting something nice to eat like a cup of brown marms or getting let out. Bobby said, "Okay, perform." So Dorothy--one of the Rocks--threw "her" head back and crowed.

So this is how it went down. We bought six chicks, all of whom were supposedly sexed as female. One died. Four--four!!--turned out to be roosters. So of the chickens we raised, we have one that will actually produce the eggs we wanted. (Incidentally, that one is Rose, who has been my favorite since I first laid eyes on her.)

Thankfully, we have homes for all of them. Even if they don't go to friends, Bobby's been in touch with a farm that identifies itself as a "chicken sanctuary" because they like birds to roam around in the fields. So they don't care about hens and eggs (they probably have 90% roosters from people like us who bought "hens" that started cockledoodledooing). We'll be going to the livestock auction on Thursday to try to buy some actual pullets.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • It's a pity you can't keep at least one rooster...
    • I know. Especially the little Reds--they're so friendly. (And cute too because they're so small.) Sophia fluttered into my arms yesterday and went with me to refill their feed. He's the friendliest, so it was my chance for one last cuddle and chance to say goodbye.

      I'll miss the Rocks less because they're not particularly friendly, though they are big and awkward and funny as a result.
      • So you'll buy more chickens, and hope they are hens?
        • We're going to the auction on Thursday. We're not getting chicks this time but will get "started pullets," so it will be definite this time that they're hens. It's possible to sex chicks, but an inexact science, as our experience has proved! :) We didn't have the facilities for older birds (and wanted to start with little ones at least once) when we bought our current flock, but now we can start with pullets ... and we'll know they're pullets! :)
  • I hope you don't mind that I, as a farmer's daughter who grew up gathering eggs, "herding" the chickens into their coop in the evening to protect them from foxes and such, and watching my father chop the...well, you know, get a chuckle or two at your expense. :^) Bobby, his locavorism notwithstanding, probably would not want to know what the fate of those young roosters would have been on our farm. o_O

    I like the sound of a cock crowing. Makes me very nostalgic. Someone in Princeton Township had a rooster which would crow on the other side of the woods. Now if the rooster was immediately next door, I might complain.

    Purchasing pullets is an excellent strategy!
    • Bobby and I are laughing about it! We figure it is just our luck. When we first brought them home, I said, "With our luck, they're all roosters." Bobby replied, "No, they can't all be roosters!"

      Well ... he was correct. They aren't all roosters.

      The subject of eating them has never even been raised. ;) Bobby knows, though. Roosters are abundant and always being purchased in large quantities at the livestock auction. Although at two or three bucks a bird, they are much cheaper than an alarm clock, I doubt that people are buying roosters in lots of 6 because they like the sound of them.

      I like the sound of their crowing too. Ours woke Bobby for the first time this morning. Then one of the wanna-be country people from down the Bob Ward homes drove by in his massive Silmaril-shiny pickup truck that is louder than the schoolbus and drowned out the roosters! :)

      I wish we could at least keep the Reds, but alas. Maybe when Bobby gets his organic farm someday! :)
    • *Whew* Now I feel better about my hens-into-roosters schadenfreude. :^D
    • LOL, and I just felt a little bad because I saw you were so polite about it... ;) But then, I did suggest on Dawn's last post that they keep the roosters for eating, so I don't think she has any high expectations for my behaviour.
      • Naw, everyone thinks it's funny, including us! It's one of those too-perfect scenarios that, if I saw it on a TV sitcom, I'd say, "That would never actually happen in real life!" Ha.
    • Nopes, I couldn't stop laughing and giggling yesterday, and of all things that could have happen... You and Rose being the only girl there Dawn (ps, photo's over at DW for you), aww, that is special :)
  • LOLOL!
    • I'm glad the rooster saga is providing some comic relief to Teh Flist, at least! :D
      • Oh, there are so many funny things that happen when dealing with our fur (and feather) cousins! Good for many many laughs! XD

        One time my cousins from Chicago were visiting, and the neighbor's chickens got out and decided to roost in one of our trees. My cousin Carole woke up early and discovered them and came back in the house for her camera. [Mom and I were fixing breakfast and not really paying attention because our visitors *always go camera-crazy out here, lol.] Pretty soon her husband woke up and wandered outside looking for her, and then he came back in and went out with his camera. Then their son. And last but hardly least, their daughter. Now (*finally*!) Mom and I realized that *something* was going on, so we went outside and discovered them standing around the tree taking pictures of "the strange-looking birds, and did we happen to know what species they were?" Mom and I were both going "erm" when one of the hens just happened to lay an egg in the crotch of the tree. [Seriously. I am so not making this up.] She cackled and took off -- and there was more inspired camera clicking. Mom and I were trying not to laugh too hard and Mom told them it was a rare migratory breed of chicken that liked to nest in trees to lay their eggs.

        And they believed it. As in absolutely, totally believed it. People with multiple PhD's and MA's and 'lesser' degrees in a variety of subjects, and they *bought* it! And later, when Carole had her film developed, she took the photos to her office and told them the story of the migrating chickens...

        Oh and I should add this was *long* before any glimmerings of digital photos or any sort of pc's to speak of. :)
  • Golllleeeee, you sound just like farmer folk! ^_^

    • Who can't tell the difference between cockerels and pullets until they're almost five months old and hollering their heads off! :D

      Bobby wants an organic farm someday, but we've got a ways to go yet. ;)
  • I'm sorry you're having to buy more chickens in order to get your eggs. I had no idea they were so hard to "sex". Hope you don't have to pay too much for them.

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