It would be funny, if it wasn't so very NOT funny.
You know, after that whole Rosemary thing, we had a few bits of good news to hang our hats upon… we were about to go on vacation, Rosie had a good home, we would get to visit him/her and all of our other chickens were girls.
The only remaining chickens we had were from the feed store bin marked as "all female," save for Hazel who has "girl" written all over her.
So, off we went to the beach, content chicken farmers.
We came home, ran right out back, first thing out of the car, to check on our babies, and we were greeted with our Pearl, up on the roost, head thrown back, making the most gosh awful, strangled turkey vocalizations you can imagine.
"She's just overcome with joy to see us," I told myself, "She'll never do that again. Never. You hear me Pearl? NEVER!"
Then we let them out to run around the yard and saw that she had grown this "sticky uppy" feather!
Nah, that's not a rooster feather. Maybe she just bent it or slept on it funny or something. That's it, she's just got bed feathers.
I checked her feet for spurs. Hmmmmm no, those little bumpy nodules are not spurs in the making. Must be mosquito bites – exact mirror image mosquito bites, exactly where spurs would appear, were she a rooster, which she is NOT.
Next morning, same hideous strangled noises. Morning after that… slightly less hideous, still rather strangled, almost crows.
At this point, I was telling myself that the reason the crowing sounds so bad is because it is a GIRL chicken trying and failing to sound like a BOY chicken.
We've had chickens before, years ago, and I know first hand that hens can make a good bit of noise too, so surely that's it. Just a loud hen.
On Monday morning, there was no longer any room for denials. Our lovely, dainty little baby Pearl,
has grown to be a beautiful, glorious, crowing young man.
We changed his name to Pearleone (we thought it sounded rather Spanish Explorer-ish) and took him to live with Rosemary. (Incidentally, Ryder still refuses to call him/her anything but Rosemary – not Rosco, not Rosamond, not even Rosemartine. It's Rosemary!)
We felt pretty good about it, really… at least they'd have each other. In fact, there was no crying this time, just the resigned knowledge that this is what we have to do with roosters.
Now here is where it gets utterly and completely ridiculous.
Off to the farm we go with Pearl. We watch, grinning, his reunion with Rosemary. We're feeling all warm and fuzzy until we hear that the owners have yet to hear Rosie crow. Not a peep! In fact they have their doubts that it's a rooster.
They agree fully that Pearl is, but Rose… well, maybe.
I know, I KNOW that I not only heard, but SAW that chicken cockadoodledoo. Not a squawk, not a bawk, a real, red white and blue COCKADOODLE DOO!
They just looked at me and smiled and said, "Well, maybe…" in exactly the way I say, "okay honey, let me check the closet. You're right, there just MIGHT be a monster in there."
Now I ask you, what is going on here? Were my chickens putting on a performance of Cyrano de Bergerac in the backyard or WHAT?
I don't even know what to say.
They offered to let us take Rosie home and see if we heard anything more, but we opted to let him/her stay on, at least for now, to keep Pearl company. It's easier to be the new chicken on the block if you've got another newbie wing man(woman).
They said if Rosie began asking for a cell phone and to be dropped off at the mall, or wearing bows and lipstick, they'd let us know.
And so we wait. And I don't even know what to hope… that it's a girl and we get to bring home our beloved Rosemary? That it's a boy, so I don't look like a complete idiot?
I will tell you this – I came right home from the farm, marched right out to the coop and gave our remaining three ladies a stern talking to. There will be no more of this. There will be no more growing of rooster feathers, no more attempts at crowing, no more maleness.
I told them that I now have three boys, and three girls and if only I had Alice, I'd be reasonably happy playing Brady Bunch, so DON'T get any funny ideas!
You know, I feel a lot like I did when I had my first baby – sure that I was making all kinds of mistakes, and wondering who on earth thought it was a good idea that *I* be in charge of this little life.
Just who entrusted me with these chickens anyhow? I clearly don't have the first clue what I'm doing.