Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Approaching chickens like an ostrich.

After several days of solid pouting over the fate of Betsy (now generally referred to as "that ROOSTER!") i had finally accepted there may be a boy in with my girls.  I was trying to determine what the best next step was and I had ALMOST psyched myself up to sending him to be rendered (aka killed and turned into something that is recognizable as food rather than pet). I say almost. I am still not sure.  I was almost at peace with my fate when all the sudden i saw THIS!

now you dont have to be a chicken expert to look at that and think "that looks like a boy..."  but in case you are NOT thinking that i'll point some things out.

These two features are HUGE in sexing a chick.  A large comb and long wattles are indicitive of a rooster.  The younger these features appear the more likely it is that they are a roo.  Also, coloring is important: Red=boy.  This girl has some pretty pink wattles and comb but her hatchmate has very pale features. But not matter what, until a chick crows or lays an egg, its gender is still pretty well up in the air.  You can guess your little heart out, and probably be right, but you wont know for SURE until one of those two things happens.

So in this picture you see Ruth.  I now suspect Ruthie is a Roostie.  This would make sense why she was stealing food from the other one that is probably a rooster.  Only another roo could get away with that.  Either that or when they are young it really doesn't matter.

I posted Ruth on the aforementioned forum and was told not only is she a roo but she is NOT a barred rock. Which i have always thought she was.  I pulled her from a cage labeled "barred rocks" after all.  But the chicken people say "no a barred rock has yellow legs"  This is true they do.  The forum people say my barred rock girls/boys look like they might be black sexlinks.  The problem is a black sexlink is only striped if its a boy. and all of those in that bin were striped.  I have "pocket veto'd" that assessment.  they arent BOTH boys.

Tonight i took a close look at Ruthie's legs and they look like they are yellow with a black patch on the front (a sign of a female Barred Rock FYI).  but the yellow is very light and only starting to develop.  I spent a few minutes in the coop holding each of my girls, petting their little heads and watching them fall asleep in my hands.  They've only just started to develop into big chicken girls.

So what have i taken from all of this?  No one knows for SURE until they crow or lay an egg.  There is no sense in getting all in a tizzy over "probably"s and "most likely"s.  I've decided to bury my head in the sand and assume EVERYONE is a girl until proven otherwise.  No more posting them on the forums.  They are all good girls.  Until one of them crows.

Now in some cases this will be harder than others, like when you compare Betsy to her hatchmate Dorothy.

But ultimately, chickens are like everything in life:  best approached with an open mind and hope for the best.
Wallowing in grouchiness and worrying about how you'll get rid of a problem before you're even POSITIVE its a problem does no good.  Someone once said "Worry is interest paid on a debt that never comes due." As you might know, I'm against paying interest (but totally for Cash Back Bonus Awards!) and so I will wait it out and hope for the best!


  1. I've been saying that from the beginning! Tisk tisk. You never listen.