Let's start at the beginning. About a month into chicken ownership, we wondered a little bit if our Rhode Island Red was not a Rey but more likely a Ray. Apparently chicken gender identification is more of an art than a science and while the guy we bought our chickens from boasts a 95% success rate, that's still not 100%. So we watched little Rey and frequently googled "rhode island reds" and convinced ourselves that yes, the hens look like the roosters, yes their spurs are on the bigger side and yep, they have those pointy feathers in the back that look rather rooster-y. Reina overheard us discussing Rey/Ray's gender one day and immediately freaked out that we'd have to find Rey a new home if in fact she was a he. I told her that we'd have to wait and see but that we were pretty sure we had a hen. Until a few weeks ago.
(Am I really writing a whole blog post about chicken gender? Apparently I am!) I noticed last week that Rey had grown a bit taller than the other 3. Glenn commented on her spur size again. Will came in the house one afternoon and mentioned that Rey was being silly and biting the other chickens on the back of the necks, isn't that weird? Now, I should point that I'm not technically a farm girl but I did grow up around enough animals to recognize amorous chicken behavior when it's described to me by a 9-yr old. I mentioned to Glenn that night that we shouldn't make any decisions until we hear a cock-a-doodle-do.
Fast forward to a few mornings ago. Glenn's hunting, the kids are getting on their bikes to head to school, I'm walking out the door for work and I hear a loud chicken noise that sounds like a very amateurish 'something something doodle-do.' I pause and listen and uh-oh, there it is again. I head to work in a slightly unreasonably sad mood (it's just a chicken! But she's a friendly chicken!) and think about what to do next. Glenn happens to get cell reception and he calls me later in the day and after I update him on relevant kid behavior, I mention the rooster noises. We agree that I should contact the guy we bought the chickens from. I text that guy later and tell him my concerns. He says to send him a picture of Rey when I get home. Which I do and get an immediate reply of "Oh no, that's a cockerel."
So there you have it. Our girl is a guy.
|Yeah, I don't know how we didn't know either. Hey big fella.|
Ray is with us until Sunday. When I took some grapes out to everybody tonight, he ate the grape out of my hand and then pecked my arm pretty hard a few times looking for more. Maybe he's just trying to make it easier for me to send him back. Maybe it'll help her grieving process if I send her out with the grapes next time?