Thursday, May 20, 2010

The continuance of gender confusion

Gender confusion is still the abiding theme at Clucker Hall. I sent some pictures to our friend, Annie Farrell, the farming guru, and she wrote back cheerfully that it looks like we have lots of roosters. I’m not sure who should be cheerful about this, certainly not the roosters. (Any roosters that previously had names are now being referred to as Fricassee, Stew, and Coq au Vin). How could she tell? Apparently the comb on roosters will be prominent, as will the spurs on the back of their legs. And there are several chicks out there with combs looking very prominent. Including the He-who-was-formerly-Fez, I am sad to say. According to our handy Guide to Backyard Chickens, there are several types of combs, including: single, strawberry, walnut, cushion, buttercup, V-shaped and rose.

This morning as I sipped my tea in Clucker Hall with the chicks pecking at gravel, I thought I heard a tentative cock-a-doodle-doo. Annie told us the first tries would sound scratchy & even hoarse. In a flash, I was reminded of those halcyon days of my son’s puberty – back when the mere word puberty would make him blush and run for cover – when his voice started cracking. For months I thought he was plagued with a sore throat and incipient laryngitis; I plied him with throat lozenges. When his friends called on the phone they sounded like their fathers, i.e. men not boys. Then one morning my son opened his mouth and he was a baritone, wandering through the lower registers like a lost soul in the desert.

Here is Whiskers perched and alert. Doesn’t she look like a mother? And I still have hopes that Bump is a hen; because of her feathery hairdo I can’t see the prominence or lack of prominence of her comb. CSB, being rather conservative in the matter of hair fashion, would just as soon she was a rooster.

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