When Ray and I decided to get chicks again, we agreed that we only wanted layers for eggs. We went with the bigger layers so that when they were ready for retirement, we’d have some nice meat for the freezer.
“Chicks,” I said. “Let’s get ’em.” “We’ll be home for awhile.” “Why not?” he said. “Let’s do it.” We both shrugged with a smile.
We brought our new flock of 8 home and the boys immediately fell in love with them. We handled them daily and played with them as much as we possibly could. Joe named one Crystal and a few others Cheep and Peep. Jake called one Pupil and the rest were The Sunny Sisters.
At first, they’re cute and fuzzy, with the sweetest little cheeps. Then they grow real feathers, and sharp claws and razor beaks.
One of the Buff Orpintons was quite a bit bigger than the rest. We thought that maybe it was just older or maybe just grew at a faster rate than the Red Comets. She quickly claimed the alpha position in the flock.
One buff was big and fluffy, her feathers had a shine. She nipped at all the others, keeping them in line.
And then, one morning when we were moving them outside for some fresh air…we heard it. Not yet a full-throated crow, but the early attempts of one. Ray, deep in denial, said that hens sometimes crow too.
“I’m sure it’s not a rooster,” my husband shook his head. But I knew we had one, so I just smiled and said…
“I know you’d like to think that, but you should hear this crow.” He hung his head, defeated, “I just don’t want to know.”
He is right. There are times when a hen will take the alpha position in a rooster-less flock, but it is rare for a young hen, only 10 weeks old, to suddenly start crowing.