My boyfriend, Robb, and I are relatively new at keeping chickens. We obtained our first flock in April of 2015, knowing full and well that we had a rooster in the first batch.
We ate him.
Things went well for a while until we lost our original flock in early October 2016 during Hurricane Matthew. Robb and I were vacationing in Alaska while my cousin watched his dog and our chickens. It was then we discovered that chickens may not be the most intelligent species out there.
We had to rebuild our flock after that. We purchased four chickens from a seller on Facebook. They were young chickens, well before egg-laying age, and we were assured they were hens.
As our Barred Rock aged, I began to doubt that it was a female. S/he just didn’t look quite right. Then s/he started crowing, and while we would eventually love to have roosters, it just can’t happen where we are currently living. So I re-homed him, saving him from the stew pot. He was a very gentle and chill rooster, deserving of a good home.
As I dropped him off at a local feed store, I went and purchased a new chicken. Bullied by her fellow chickens where she was at, there was just something so sweet about this girl that I wanted her, even though she wasn’t necessarily a breed I wanted.
It was about that time that I started to have doubts about one of the other chickens purchased from that original seller. As the chicken began to fill out, I made a note in my gardening journal of my worries. Time passed, and every time I made mention of my fears to Robb, he dismissed them. “There is no way we’ve been bamboozled again — she’s just dominate.”
Very dominate, apparently. But still, another sweet one. There wasn’t an aggressive bone in her/his body … except when it came time to mount a hen, and the mounting was almost nonstop.
Then last week, I stepped outside to see Robb standing by the coop early one morning just staring at the chickens.
“She crowed,” he said forlornly.
“I really think it’s a rooster,” I replied. “I have a home lined up.”
So, this weekend, we are sending another rooster off to a good home. He’ll be surrounded by a bunch of lovely ladies and will be treated like a king.
Our original flock of ladies held a special place in my heart, and it’s only been in the last month that my new flock and I have started to bond. Robb and I have also learned how to look for more of the “red flag” signs of a rooster. Hopefully one day, when we have our little farm, we will be able to keep our roosters.
Read this editor’s letter about her new chickens and their lively personalities.
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