A Sad, Sad Day

For a while now, I have been questioning the hen-ness of some of my four girls.  If you’ve been following this chicken journey from the start, you’ll recall that I purchased four chicks of questionable sex at a barnyard-swap-meet of sorts in Whitmore, Michigan.  We did our best to try and select the most hen-like chicks of the bunch in the box, but it was a gamble right from the go.  Every time I think that one of the girls may be a rooster, I find some reason to believe that she is, in fact, a hen. 

For example, compare this photo of a Buff Orpington hen from My Pet Chicken to this shot of my buffs:

Buff Orpington Hen. Photo from: http://www.mypetchicken.com/My Buffs

Now, I realize the photo quality isn’t excellent, but if you compare the comb and wattle development of my buffs to the comb and wattle on the stock photo of an Orpington hen, there isn’t much difference.  My chickens are definitely skinnier than the plump hen in the photo on the left, but you’ve gotta take into consideration the fact that in the pic, they were only three months old.

Cordon Bleu and Parmesan

My Buffs

Also, the guy I got my girls from couldn’t guarantee what kind of chickens mine were.  It’s hard to peg down a particular characteristic to a chicken of unknown lineage. 
Alas, all doubts were cleared up this morning.  At least one of my four girls is, I’m sorry to say, a rooster.  Both my daughter and my husband heard one of my “girls” crowing.  While no eye witnesses were present to incriminate the guilty bird(s), my fears have been confirmed:  There IS a rooster in the hen house. 
Unfortunately, with the auditory confirmation, I’m afraid that both the buffs are probably cockerels and I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the reds may be as well. 
Now, what to do with the poor gent(s).  I spoke to one of the Olds brothers from Olds Farm this morning at the Farmers’ Market.  They offer poultry processing.  For $3 a bird, they will slaughter, clean and bag up my rooster(s).  The kids don’t like the idea much, but the plan has always been, “If any are roosters, we eat them.” 
Before I condemn an innocent bird, I need to see which of them is crowing, but at least I have a plan.  :(

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