ANZ's Farms

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Pullets are Crowing

For the first time in four seasons of buying day-old chicks, a young hen has turned out to be a rooster. And not just one, but THREE of the nine chicks we got this spring have grown arching tail feathers, developed vibrant colored feathering and say cock-a-doodle-do each morning. I confess I'm thrilled to have the boys (especially since I am not out on the number of egg-layers. The breeder made good on his sexing guarantee and replaced the roosters with same aged pullets). In good conscience, I couldn't deliberately get roosters, given the proximity of neighbors and city ordinances. But since their presence is unintentional, my conscience is clean ... well, almost.

What to do with roosters in the city? Wait it out and see what happens or be proactive and sell them or, heaven forbid, eat them myself? I was lamenting their fate when a fellow urban backyard chicken farmer clarified that city ordinances do not expressly prohibit roosters -- they are banned only if the neighbors complain about the noise. The noise, hmmm. So far, their cock-a-doodle-do's are pretty pathetic. They sound like pubescent boys with unpredictable voices. Plus, since we blended the new birds to the flock, the roosters haven't made even a peep. Once the adjustment period is over and they find their full voices, and the fall weather beckons our neighbors to throw open their windows for some fresh air, we may have a problem. But that is several months away. Plenty of time to share fresh eggs with the neighbors and establish the bribe.

Speaking of cock-a-doodle-do's: A precocious 6-year old girl visited our farm the other day. As the chickens gathered around her feet, she looked down and said, "They're clucking. I thought chickens said cock-a-doodle-do." I explained briefly about roosters and hens, and ended by saying, "Chickens can make as many as 30 different sounds!" Her beautiful round eyes turned up to look at me in surprise and delight. And then she asked, "How many different sounds do humans make?" Indeed. It's a good question with an almost imponderable answer.  We speak many languages, laugh, wail, squeal, moan, grunt, sigh, snicker, whimper, burp, whoop, smack, groan, smooch, scream ... and the list goes on.

1 comment:

  1. Love the story of the little girl! And I'm finding most people kind of like rooster crows, makes them feel like they are in a country heaven or something, though there are always a few that object. Our neighbor says it's okay we put the chickens outside his bedroom window since he's always up at 3 a.m. anyway ;-)