Monday, August 21, 2017

The Year of the Rooster

Blame it on the sheep minerals. This past winter, I was standing in line at the hardware store to pay for the minerals and saw the flyer for Chick Days.

There were photos of Buckeyes, Buff Orphingtons, Silver Laced Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds and more. Usually we incubate our Buckeye chicken eggs. But here was a chance to get Buckeye chicks and maybe even try another chicken breed.

I left the hardware store with a mineral tub and an order receipt for 18 Buckeye and 6 Silver Laced Wyandotte chicks, straight run.

When ordering chicks, you can order all females, all males or straight run. With the heavier or rarer chicken breeds, buyers are only offered straight run, or as hatched. That's what we were offered, so we’d have a mix of roosters and hens.

The Silver Wyandotte rooster distinguished himself first. At  nine weeks old, his red comb was larger than the hens and he challenged the other chickens. A few weeks later, he attempted to crow.

“The Wyandottes must mature faster than the Buckeyes,” I mused as I scanned the flock, trying to pick out the young Buckeye roosters, who had yet to grow long tail feathers and to crow.

A few weeks ago, the Wyandotte rooster went to a friend's farm, and the noises from the chicken house ceased.

The chickens are four months old now—and none crow. They all look alike.

“I don’t think we got a straight run,” I tell my husband. 

In the Year of the Rooster, we have no roosters.