Our chicks are about 15 weeks old already. They are still considered pullets and we hopefully only have a month left before we can expect some of them to start laying eggs.
This is the age we thought we would also find out for sure whether we had any roosters in our flock of ten hens. Chickens from hatcheries are sexed at birth by experts that can determine with about 90% accuracy whether the newborn is a male or female. So with 10 chicks, we knew we had a decent chance that at least one of them was actually a rooster. These odds aren’t great for us since we are not allowed to keep roosters in our neighborhood. As the chicks grew we had speculations but many of them were unfounded. Different breeds are different sizes and have larger or brighter pea combs (that floppy red thing on the top of their heads) so it’s really just a waiting game.
Wild Style was one that we had been keeping an eye on.
We named her Wild Style (from the Lego Movie) because she is an Olive Egger. Olive Eggers are crossbreeds that make green eggs. They are considered a “wild card” as far as how they will look because they may take after the mom or dad. It’s a toss up. Wild Style started out as one of my favorite chicks.
I loved cuddling with her but as she grew older she became more distant and didn’t really appreciate being handled. Then She surpassed all of the other chicks in size. The shape, the feathers, the pea comb, and her temperament all started pointing toward rooster. She was definitely more aggressive and led the pack. That can happen with a dominant hen though if there is no rooster to be in charge.
I am sure you know where this story is going. One morning when the chicks were almost 10 weeks old Z was letting them out of the coop and then came running into the house. Out of breath, he announced that Wild Style was crowing. I went outside to hear for myself and just barely caught what sounded like a feeble attempt at crowing. I didn’t see it though. The next couple of days I went out at dawn to see if I could definitely determine that Wild Style was crowing and then find a new home for her or eh… him. Every morning everyone was quiet so I let the idea go. If no one was crowing there was no hurry. Then one afternoon at 1:00 Ezie came running to me with the same discovery his brother had made the week before. Wild Style was crowing, only this time I saw it for myself. Beak turned upward, neck stretched out to be as tall as possible and then the triumphant crow. It was still quiet and cracked like a teenager going through puberty because that is what he is. I immediately snapped some pics to share online to start the search for a new home. I knew we couldn’t sell him. Roosters are a lot of work with not much pay off unless you are raising duel purpose meat birds in bulk. So I knew this would be a freebie. The problem was when I was talking to the kids about what might happen to Wild Style and the potential for him to be eaten, SJ burst into tears so much that she couldn’t catch her breath. I calmed her and assured her we didn’t have to worry about that. I figured we would save that lesson for another time!
Then that night I was laying in bed I imagined my pet that I have pampered and nurtured ending his life being scared and having his head chopped off.
It was not pleasant to think about. I was about to become a vegetarian over all the thoughts swirling in my head. So I tried not to think about it. I posted him for free online and was hoping someone caring might adopt Wild Style and let him free range his little heart out. Realistically I would be satisfied with just not knowing the fate of Wild Style wherever he went and then pretending it was a happy ending. The next day I got multiple people interested in the bird. One was obviously going to eat him which I didn’t care, but they also wanted me to deliver. I am not going to drive an hour to drop off my friendly, coddled chick for you to kill and eat! Then I got a message from a man that said he had lots of chickens and that he could take Wild Style! He assured me that he would have lots of room and a happy home for him. Not only that, but he would pick him up himself (which was great since we didn’t have a crate or cage to transport him). He also put a colored tag on his ankle and said we could come visit Wild Style any time! It was a dream come true.
Photos of the kids bringing Wild Style to his new owner and saying their goodbyes.
So a month later since J had labor day off we finally had the chance to come to the farm to see Wild Style. He had changed a lot but he was still friendly with the kids.
We also got to explore this beautiful countryside, see lots of animals, and go fishing!
One of the coolest parts was that we made new friends with the owners of this farm. I know rehoming a rooster isn’t always like a real life Charlotte’s Web, but this sure was a special gift from our heavenly Father to us and we feel very blessed by the whole experience.