Monday, October 29, 2012

And then... they named her.

It's a known fact in the chicken-buying world that determining the gender of day-old chicks isn't a fail proof endeavor. When we bought our first batch of hens last year, it became obvious that Mrs. Tweets was actually Mr. Tweets. Ahh, Mr. Tweets. We'll never forget how pretty he was, how much fun we had with him, and later, the feeling of terror he evoked if ever we were forced to go outside.

In this year's batch of laying hens, Tinkerbell was the one who turned out to be a rooster. A teeny, tiny little rooster he is, but his attitude is good still so he's allowed to stick around. And really, it makes me giggle every time I think about the fact that we have a rooster named Tinkerbell.

What never occurred to me though, is that it is just as impossible to guarantee that a batch of roosters will actually be roosters. We got our ten meat birds, and have been butchering them as needed for dinner. But in that batch, who walk around crowing happily all day long, there was one hen. I felt awful for her - one hen in a coop with nine roosters? She was miserable, staying on the roost all day long and not even eating or drinking unless she could sneak over to the food without them seeing her. My solution was to hurry up and butcher her, get it over with so she wouldn't have to live a miserable life.

But we were too slow.

The girls figured out that she was a hen. They started carrying in separate bowls of food and water for her, hand feeding her table scraps each day, locking the roosters inside the coop so she could have daily fresh air and exercise. And then.... they named her. Rule number one, when you are raising animals to butcher - Do NOT name them!

Meet Lavender.

She has now been moved into the hen house, and it looks like she will be a permanent addition to our egg-laying flock. Except that, seeing as she was raised on high-protein food meat bird food, she's not likely to ever lay any eggs. She just walks around, towering above the rest of the hens, and frequently being carted from place to place by Littlest One. She seems happy... or at least, happy to be away from a whole flock of roosters.

Welcome to the farm, Lavender. :-)

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