When Beauty became a Beast.

Here we are, almost fourteen years into flock keeping and still learning. Sometimes the hard way.

When we brought these two precious ones home, we thought broody Willa would be their mama. But Willa wasn’t having it. That was our first surprise. Turns out there were more to come.

We didn’t really mind hand-raising these two. We remarked on how bonded they were. We’d never really had a pair of chicks so completely devoted to one another. Granddaughter Caleigh named them for us; Peggy and Beauty. And Beauty was truly a little beauty!

I make a point of keeping a Buff Orpington or two at all times. They are easy on the eyes, easy within the flock, and the bonus is that a Buff Orpington hen might be a good broody when you need one (unlike crazy Willa the Salmon Faverolle). And I was looking forward to the blue eggs we would get from Peggy the Easter Egger.

I watched them closely as they grew. Closely enough to have the occasional uneasy feeling about Beauty. Oh, she was nice enough, but sometimes she would pick on Peggy. She’d chase her around the chicken yard and peck her a bit. Never aggressive, exactly, but the behavior was persistent. Maybe, I thought, it’s just because Peggy is so much smaller than Beauty. Maybe?

A few times I went so far as to look up Buff Orpington behavior online. I typed the word I could not say out loud. “Buff Orpington hen or rooster” is, I believe, what I searched. And each time I looked it up I was consoled.

“Buff Orpington roosters will begin trying to crow as young as four weeks, sticking out their necks and making a small chirping sound.”

Whew. That wasn’t happening. So nothing to worry about, right?

“The combs and wattles on a rooster will be darker pink and they will grow faster and larger than a hen’s combs and wattle. “

I didn’t really notice this, nor did I spot hackle (neck) feathers being longer, more pointed and narrower than those of a hen.

So all was well, right?

Ummmmmm.

Wrong.

We traveled over Thanksgiving, chasing turkey instead of chicken for a change. The morning after we returned we stepped outside early to take Lily for a walk. And that’s when I heard it.

“What was that???”

I’ll tell you what that was. It was a rooster crowing. And not the next neighborhood over. And not down the street. The sound was coming from our coop!

We have the nicest neighbors in the whole world. Lovely, lovely neighbors. The fact that they aren’t really enchanted with our chickens does not detract in the least from how lovely they are. Misguided perhaps, but still lovely. When they moved in a few years back I definitely picked up on their lack of enthusiasm for chickens and quickly reassured them by saying “Don’t worry, we’ll never have a rooster.”

Ten seconds after I heard the first crow, I texted my neighbor.

“Um, I just wanted to let you know I’m a little concerned we might have a rooster.”

“WE HEARD IT!”, she typed back, adding “You told me you would never have a rooster!”

Ugh. The promises we make…

How did I not see this coming?

Beauty was most definitely beautiful, but in a very masculine way. Look at those poofy tail feathers! Look at that strut! Like Peter, I denied at least three times before the cock crowed. It happens.

“Just get rid of it”, is what people say about roosters. The options careened through my brain. I warn you here and now to never google “how to humanely kill a rooster”. “Leaving him out all night” might be something seasoned farmers might do but nope nope nope. Not happening. I quickly came to the conclusion that I would take him to the vet and have him euthanized, already envisioning the miserable car ride with the little fellow on my lap headed to his doom.

Upon which moment, miraculously appeared the deux ex machina in the person of our friend who lives on a ranch a few miles away. The CE and I saw him walk in our gate, we looked at each other and then at him, and brightly said “Heeyyyyyy, Scott, great to see you!”

A minute later, instead of heading to the chopping block, Beauty was headed off to meet his new harem. Scott just happened to have a ranch hand in need of a rooster for his flock (better not to too closely examine the reasons why) and we just happened to have a rooster. It was December 1, the perfect day for a Christmas miracle.

I took this one last photo of our handsome boy before he departed. I think of him often and it tugs at me a bit. I hope he is enjoying his new flock. I hope he has a cozy place to sleep at night.

Peggy floundered for awhile after he departure and that tugged at me, too. But she is slowly making her way with the flock.

And she has begun laying – not the blue eggs I had hoped for – but pretty whitish pink ones. Sometimes we just have to be happy with the way things turn out, right?

Still learning!

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in All Things Poultry, Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to When Beauty became a Beast.

  1. Cat says:

    Happy Beautyfound just the right home🥰🙏

  2. citymama says:

    What a relief to be about to find Sir Beauty a new resting spot!

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