When I was young, my grandmother used to always tell me the story about a hen living in her family’s flock, who turned into a rooster.
“Yeah, right Grandma,” I’d reply as I rolled my eyes and helped myself to the package of Fig Newtons always sitting on her dining room hutch.
She’d look at me, shake her head, and then ask if I wanted milk with my cookies.
That was just Grandma being Grandma – a little old, a little forgetful, a little, um, out there.
I still loved her.
This past winter something odd has happened in our hen house. Zelda, our Easter Egger, went into the coop at the beginning of winter as the “Queen” of the flock (actually co-sharing that position with Granite, our Barred Rock.) Zelda is our fat grey bird who has shining gold speckled throughout her mantle. She’s a mighty protector who routinely gifted us with gorgeous bluish-greenish eggs. In fact it was Zelda who gave us our “golden egg” – the first egg from our flock.
This is what Zelda looked like in the fall.
This is what she looks like now.
“Hey mom,” my daughter, Addy said to me. “What happened to Zelda? She’s got weird neck feathers and she grew a tail.”
“Well, I think that over the winter, as the protector of the flock and because we have no males, she decided to start throwing off testosterone in her body. Because of the hormonal imbalance, in essence, she has turned from being a hen, into being a rooster.”
“Yeah, right mom.” Addy rolled her eyes and helped herself to the latest batch of cookies sitting in the tin on the counter.
I sighed and sent a silent long overdue apology to my now deceased grandmother. “Want milk with that sweetheart?”
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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