Chickens

Mar. 20th, 2012 02:54 pm
firebyrd: (Default)
[personal profile] firebyrd
Thanks a bunch for the replies on my last post!

The chicks continue to grow like crazy. They've got enough feathers now that I turned off the heat lamp yesterday. Their bellies are rather bare and they still have down on their heads, but otherwise, they've got real feathers now. They've also gotten huge. Takes two hands to hold them securely now.

Unfortunately, the black one the kids like so much is almost certainly a cockerel. I was talking to the lady from preschool about him, and when I mentioned his very different behavior, she broke in to insist that didn't mean anything. But when I went on to mention his much bigger, more developed comb, extremely distinct at just two weeks old, she had to admit I was probably right. His legs have also gone bright yellow, extremely different from the greenish tint of the others'. My brain is telling me that's also a good sign of maleness, though I'm not sure where I'm coming up with that from. Since it is so different from every other chick, though, I suspect my brain is right. I mostly feel bad for the kids' sake. What seemed like a friendly, outgoing personality in a two day old chick has actually proven to be pretty wild. The others settle down pretty well when being held, but he freaks like he's being killed.

The lady from preschool came up with all sorts of schemes to get him neutered so I could keep him. Um, no. Aside from the personality issues and the difficulties in finding someone to actually do something like that safely (you can buy kits to do it yourself, which is horrific to even think about), I'm not going to spend hundreds of dollars to neuter a $2.50 chicken that's going to live maybe 10 years max. I also don't want to waste the space and feed on a completely useless bird when I could instead use it for a laying hen. I can't say how practical I can manage to be in a few years when the hens get too old to lay, but at this point, I've deliberately worked to not get attached so I can do the practical thing.

I honestly think the others are probably hens. None of them have a comb as big or the yellow legs. Now that their feathers are in most of the way, the Americaunas are easily distinguishable, which is nice. We've got a dark brown one, a reddish brown one, and black and white ones with differing emphases on the black or white. The sussexes still look pretty identical, though. We'll see if anything on their belly feathers helps as those come in, but I have a suspicion that they're going to become Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum just because I won't be able to tell which is which anyway.

Date: 2012-03-21 10:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mortuus.livejournal.com
Wait, wait, wait! There are do-it-yourself rooster neutering kits out there?!?! That is... odd! And kind of creepy! Okay, I didn't even know you could neuter birds at all, but to do it yourself?! I'm kinda freaking out over here!

Date: 2012-03-22 02:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] firebyrd.livejournal.com
It was news to me too. I'm used to parrots, which are generally smaller and much more expensive, so it's long since been written off as an option. For roosters, though, it's called caponizing. Naturally, it's horrifically cruel. You basically just make incisions in the bird, cut out the testicles, and sew it back up. No anesthesia or anything and just anyone can buy a kit. I'd much rather just make sure the bird gets killed and eaten.

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