Remember that chicken we thought might have been a rooster a few weeks ago? Well it turns that out she is indeed a he.
Heavy in denial, we had rationalized her elaborate tail feathers as just being outrageous bling. After all what girl doesn’t like a great drop dead gorgeous iridescent-green gigantic butt?
Her protesting and sometimes threatening behavior to the dogs and even some of her sisters? Just diva material, she’s entitled to her moods, after all she’s the largest of them all and wouldn’t you be a little cranky if everyone else always pointed out your weight?
The large feet? Well my sister has large feet, sometimes it happens, it’s called genetics. And besides, they are not by any stretch ugly they are … unique.
But then Betty started making weird noises.
At first she sounded like one of the dogs howling at a neighbor walking down the street. A soft mournful cry that starts low and ends with a sharp sound that drills through your brain.
When Betty started her howling we would immediately rush outside. Can’t let the neighbors hear that we might have a rooster can we (and besides what rooster howls – we asked each other still in disbelief? Maybe she’s just really upset at something)
Then Betty started crowing.
We had no choice but to accept the obvious. Betty’s a boy. We have a rooster in our midst.
It was easier to get rid of our other roosters when they were younger. After all, they didn’t have names yet. We didn’t know that they like to take stale bread crumbs out of your hand or that when they shook their heads it sends their spiky neck feathers flying out just like the pictures you see of enraged roosters in books.
It was easier to joke about our roosters being Sunday Dinner when we didn’t know that they liked to be stroked on their chests. Or that they will race up to one of the dogs in pretend defense only to step aside and let him pass playfully nipping him on the tail once they realize that all is well.
So we have a rooster and it looks like we are going to be keeping a rooster. Oh to be sure, we’ll be careful and will get up at the now literal “crow of dawn” to put the chickens out in an attempt to keep the crowing to a minimum. And like my kids have learned, Betty knows that if she crows loudly during the day I’ll stop my writing to look out the window to make sure everyone is safe.
So you might be wondering how such a masculine looking bird could get such a completely feminine sounding name?
The answer is actually very logical. For weeks, nay months, when we would look at the thickened feet, the tail plume that was different from the others, the comb and wattles that slowly emerged we would wonder and scratch our heads.
When it came time to officially confirm that indeed our bird was of the male variety, it only seemed natural to keep calling him by the name which we had already inadvertently assigned when we would point to her and say to each other.
“Bet he’s a rooster.”