Officially, three of our ladies are laying: Millie, Gertie, and Eloise. We are still anxiously waiting to see what Clementine does. Roosters are not allowed where we live, and I am on pins and needles….I really, really don’t want to have to get rid of one of my birds.
As this is my first experience really raising chickens, I haven’t much practical knowledge to fall back on. I have read a lot of books. A LOT of books. I have scanned many an online discussion board (for better or for worse). What I have come to learn, is that, unless you have a sex-linked bird (who’s coloring as a chick dictates his/her sex), you just really never know what you’ve got FOR SURE, until they start laying or crowing. YES, many hatcheries employ professionals to sex their chicks, but from what I have gleaned, they don’t always get it right, either. I wish I could say that I have accepted this laying or crowing concept with a laissez faire attitude–after all, it is something that I have no actual control over. But, no. No, I have not. I have scoured online images at each stage of their development, comparing, contrasting, swearing, hyperventilating, and praying out loud to the chicken gods. At one time or another, I have been convinced that each of them was a rooster. I have been known to leap out of bed in the wee hours of the morning because I hear a noise outside that I am convinced is a crow. Jonathon has been known to not shake his head at me, but I haven’t seen this much recently.
Because the rest of them have now officially flown their hen flags (and yes, I am the psychopath that has hid in the yard and spied on each bird while she was laying just to make darned sure), let’s break Clementine down. The rest of them are laying, she is not. The non-laying is, of course, a pretty dependable trait of roosters. She has always been the biggest of the flock–noticeably bigger than the rest, since day one. This, is quite rooster-ish. The rest of her, though (comb size, feather shape, body style, lack of those freaky extra rooster toes called spurs), seems all hen. Only time will truly tell, I suppose.
My laying girls entertain me every morning with their egg routine. So far, they are completely uninterested in the coop nesting boxes, despite my best decorating efforts (see Chicken Aromatherapy?), and instead, favor a random corner in the yard. All three of them love that same darned corner, and actually take turns. When I let them out in the morning, it is a race to see who gets there first.
Hopefully, we will soon have a fourth hen flag to fly, and Clementine will join in the morning festivities as more than just an indifferent observer.
A happy little update….in the last couple of days as I have compiled this post….suddenly, Clem is doing the ‘egg squat’. I still won’t relax until she’s actually laying, but that’s a pretty good sign of impending eggs!