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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Whistling Girls and Crowing Hens

....always come to bad ends.

I'm not sure about the whistling girls (after all, I whistle, and I'm still here), but one of the 'girls' crowed again this morning.  My friend Rae thinks it's too early to tell, which is somewhat true, because so far the girls all still look pretty much alike, except for coloring. But their sizes and combs and all that are still all shaped the same. Only Vivian looks ever so slightly taller and her neck is slightly leaner and longer.  My money's on Vivian being a rooster, which for me is going to be a poultry disaster.  I'll be down to two chickens, and two eggs a day is not going to cut it for us, since we go through a dozen and a half to two dozen eggs every week.

I guess the only thing to do is to keep waiting to see how they're going to change so that I can tell which one is really doing the crowing.

Nuts.

14 comments:

Rae said...

I'm still astounded that one would crow so early. Aren't they about 2 months old? I was looking at some of your old posts, and saw a pic of Violet that I must have missed... She sure has a doozy of a comb. Are they all that developed? All our girls (guys?) took much longer to develop any sort of comb. Though, I think you did say that the breed you chose matures early... Ugh. I've got my fingers crossed for you! Maybe I can talk LJ into giving you guys one of our girls. Won't be the same breed, but variety isn't necessarily a bad thing. :). We're still waiting to see if any more of our girls go roo...

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Ach! How frustrating.

Is it possible to get yourself another couple of chicks? They'd be fully feathered and coop-ready by the time the weather got cold. There would probably be some infighting between the old and the new, but I suspect they'd learn to get along.

Marc said...

Paula,

We got 3 chicks about the same time you got yours. The Golden Laced Wyandotte Winnie turned out to be Winston the rooster. The Urban Farm Store (on Belmont) has some pullets of various breeds and ages for $15 so we replaced him with a Wellsummer named Winnie Too.

It was a fun experience raising the chicks, but when it's time to replace them we'll probably just spend the extra $10 each and let someone else do it. It probably cost us more than that to do it ourselves, not even counting the work and mess.

Miriam said...

Oh dear. I think this happens more often than I ever would have thought, because I have been hearing similar stories a lot this summer! Did you get any guarantees from the seller?

Would it be possible to pick up a couple of pullets locally - through craigslist, maybe?

Goddert said...

The way I heard that saying (but not since I was young, and that's a lot of years ago) was: "A whistling woman and a crowing hen, of use to neither God nor men." No offence meant - in fact I think hearing someone whistle is such a pleasant sound - a sign of cheerful positiveness.

steak and eggs said...

What a bummer, that one of your pullets is a rooster. I have a friend that can tell a rooster from a pullet by the feathers. Roosters will have pointed ones and pullets will have round ones like a spoon. I have not been able to do this. Last year we got 14 RIR and I thought 2 were roosters. Yea! I was wrong. We had 2 rooster at the time.
I don't know how early you go to work, but the best way to catch him in the act is at daylight before you let them out. If not it won't be long before you will know. I can't remember if you can have roosters in your neighbor or not. If so you might keep him and raise some baby chick of you own.

eagergridlessbeaver said...

..we got our chickens as chicks...we had no idea about sexes but the lady assured us that of the 9 we got only 3 were roosters. As they got older we could not keep track of which ones crowed..in the end 7 of the 9 were roosters...not the results we were hoping for! good luck with your crowing hen!

Paula said...

Hi Rae- they were 9 weeks this past Monday, which means that I sure as hell better get the nest box put together soon.
I'm thinking along the lines that Marc did and figure I'll buy some $15 started pullets (at this point, I don't much care what breed they are so much as what sex they are) and be done with it. However, and it's a big however, if the started pullets are no longer available once the gender dilemma plays out, I may have to beg hens off you guys. So be buttering up LJ big time; if I have to throw a batch of fresh ground, whole wheat, homemade pretzels in there to sweeten the deal I will; I'm not making them- you nkow who is.

Paula said...

Hey Tamar- I have a few weeks yet until I know for sure what's what, and if I have a cockerel on my hands, I have an interesting post and a chicken dinner on my hands as well. But long story short, I'll see if started pullets are still available, and then try to beg a hen off a friend. That failing, we'll learn to live on two eggs a day and muddle along until next spring. I have to admit I'm liking the idea of either started pullets, OR sex-link chicks. I'm sooooo done with the emotional reason of buying the same chicken breed your mom had. I mean, jexus- would you still buy an oldsmobile just because that's what your dad bought? I buy for a living, for godsake; I know better!

Paula said...

Hi Miriam- so this is the summer of the cockerel, is it? I've mentioned previously what I think I'm going to do. It's too bad my shishi little community doesn't allow roosters (had I known it was this shishi I'm not sure I'd have settled here, but too late) because raising more of same would be a good way to get my money back. The seller does not guarantee the sex of the chicks (or the health of the chicks). I would have preferred to get them directly from the hatchery, but the minimum order was FIVE times the amount allowed by the city, and I couldn't get any of the neighbors interested.

I wouldn't say it's twenty-twenty hind sight, but my first batch of chickens sure came with a steep learning curve.

Paula said...

The way I always heard it was Whistling girls and crowing hens always come to bad ends. Maybe not so true for whistling girls, but definitely true for crowing hens. Will be for ours if she doesn't quit it. I guess only time will tell.

Paula said...

oh Man, EGB- that's a horrible failure rate!! Wow!

Gives a new meaning to the term Seven of Nine. (geek humor alert).

That's a seventy-seven percent failure rate. If your chickens were an egg laying business, you'd be filing.

Wowie.

steak and eggs said...

Paula- I checked on the site of McMurray Hatchery and they have 17 week old pullets available year around. They are floor raised and had shots. They have red star's and black star's which are both sex-link for $13.50 and the really good part is you don't have to order a lot. In the reviews someone just ordered two. I have not bought any chick's from them but I know people who have and were very happy. I have given this a great deal of thought and the next time I get chicks I am going to get sex-links at McMurray's. The sex-links are suppose to lay good hot are cold. Here in Texas it is so hot over half of my chickens are not laying.
You also might think about getting breeds that seldom go broody like sex-link's, or RIR. In the spring and summer I have 2 to 4 hens broody at a time. Which mean they sit in the box for about 4 days. Which means I have to feed and water then seperately (Extra Work). Otherwise they will sit for weeks.

This is a link to McMurray's red star pullets. Hope it helps.

http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/red_started_pullets.html

Rae said...

Mmmm... Steve's pretzels.... That's awfully tempting.... Drool....