Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A wife and a mistress

Our most recent batch of chickens included, much to our dismay, a rooster. The last time we ended up with a rooster we had to re-home him when he started crowing. This time, instead of re-homing him as soon as we realized we had another rooster on our hands, we decided to wait. "Maybe he won't crow and we can keep him," we thought with unwarrented optimism. Several months into Gretchen's adolescence we began hearing the ragged beginnings of a "cockle-doodle-doo." We were able to fix that with a homemade no-crow collar which, while not silencing him completely, does take his crowing volume down several notches, enough to be tolerable for the neighbors. His affinity for the ladies is a problem not so easily fixed. 

While having a rooster around is supposed to be good for egg production, it does tend to annoy the ladies when he's feeling amorous. This is usually first thing in the morning, as soon as the chickens have been let out of the coop. Gretchen is always the first one out of the coop, followed in varying order by Bridget, Lucy, and Georgia. Penny is usually the last one out of the coop, choosing to slip out when she thinks the coast is clear. As soon as the ladies hop out, Gretchen starts looking for his victim, which is usually Bridget. After a short chase, Gretchen manages to pin Bridget down and a few seconds later Bridget runs off and Gretchen goes about his business of looking for something to eat.

For the rest of the day, however, Gretchen appears to faithfully spend his time with Lucy. If Lucy is foraging in the garden, Gretchen is usually found nearby looking for bugs with her and if Gretchen is on the back deck, raiding the squirrel food bin, Lucy is often sitting inside said bin, gorging herself on corn and sunflower seeds. 

Within our little flock, Bridget appears to be the mistress, the hen that Gretchen chooses most often to sleep with and Lucy appears to be the wife, the hen that Gretchen chooses most often to spend his time with. This arrangement seems to please Lucy just fine. Bridget seems decidedly less pleased with the situation. Unfortunately, there is no collar available to fix this problem. The ladies will just have to put up with it, or learn to run faster.

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