To continue my story about our backyard chickens I need to talk about our accidental rooster.
Most hatcheries will say there is about 90ish% accuracy when sexing chicks. I’m not very good at statistics, but I’d say our odds of having any of our four chicks turn out to be male was pretty slim considering they were all apparently sexed and determined to be pullets (that’s fancy chicken speak for a female chicken < 1 year old).
Our chicks grew quickly, and every day they looked more like chickens instead of the little puff balls they came to us as. Somewhere around week 6 we were noticing how the fourth chick, Solange, was a good bit bigger than her counterparts. But, not just bigger, she also looked… strange? There was something about her. Her legs and feet were thick and huge, she had a breast that was ever expanding, and she seemed to be growing so fast that her feathers couldn’t seem to fill in quick enough. We had friends over and upon seeing her they exclaimed she must be a GMO chicken, once destined for Foster Farms. So we left it at that. We’d happened to come upon a chick who’d been bred to be eaten and we’d saved her from what could have been a sad existence.
Now, cut to early-summer. The girls were out in the coop, spending their days roaming around the yard, eating bugs, scratching around, being their little chicken selves. But, Solange kept growing. At this point she must have been at least three times the size of the other pullets. She became so top heavy that at times she had trouble staying upright and she would fall on her heels after being on her feet for too long. She’d lay down to eat at the feeder, and generally was less lithe and mobile than the rest of the flock. We’d laugh at her gait when she ran, her build making her look more like a linebacker than a chicken when in motion. I won’t say she was deformed, but every single person who saw her made some sort of remark about our monster chicken. I will say that her quirks were all the more endearing, and Mr. SP and I both felt like it was part of our duty to protect her because of her differences.
By mid-summer we started to get suspicious. We had this huge animal who was weird enough, but now it was growing a comb and wattles? Ok, this bird is clearly a mutant rooster, right? For whatever reason we continued to hang on to denial for longer than was ever necessary, and despite the obvious signs and neighbors telling us “hey, this thing is a dude” we chose to remain ignorant.
Then in late June I woke up to a strange and foreign noise coming from the back yard. It sounded sort of like a squeaky toy, one that had been abused by a child or overzealous dog. It was kind of like a bird, I guessed, and we’d heard weirder things in our neighborhood. The sound was so curious that I even posted to Facebook about it.
The noise continued for a few days before we realized the noise was actually coming from our bird (because, of course it was). Now, at this point you probably think we’re the densest people possible. But it gets worse. My dear husband, still not convinced, takes to the interwebs like any good academic would and somehow finds information saying that it’s not uncommon for some female chickens to crow. And since this crow didn’t sound like a full on rooster crow it seemed plausible, right? So we continued with the illusion that this animal was still a she.
It wasn’t until maybe a week later that we woke up at 6am to a VERY clear cock-a-doodle-dooooooo! that it was FINALLY confirmed for us.
Solange = Roosty
A monster rooster, with huge feet, who was scared of us, and ran around like a linebacker and made us laugh. We were finally able to see it and admit it to ourselves.
So, we’ve got this rooster, now what? That’s a question which we found the answer to more recently, but will have to wait for yet another post.