Lesson 1159 – More about Zelda

Let me put this right out there. As a  journalist, I’m taught to verify *everything* before I put it into print. I don’t blame people for doubting Zelda’s story (but you don’t have to call me a liar.) As someone who writes about chickens, I, myself would have doubted it. Your hen changed into a rooster and then she changed back into a hen, ooooooo-kay.

So, in an effort to provide more proof, Marc and I went out to the coop to take some close-ups of Zelda.

Note: even though she is a family favorite, she is not the type of bird to let you cuddle her. She’s never been particularly friendly, but (and this is her claim to fame) she was the very first bird in our flock to lay an egg and so she will always be a family favorite.


Here is a photo of Zelda’s bubble gum comb when she was a rooster. A comb is a bit like a fingerprint. Each bird will have similar but distinctly different combs.

Here is a photo of Zelda’s comb that we took this morning. And that’s the same Zelda eye there glaring at me.


Here is a close up of her feet. When you get really close like this, you can see that she has still retained some of the original grey color. It might be important to note that Zelda is at least 6.5 to 7 years old (we bought her when she was “about 2 years old.”)


And lastly, when we were finally able to hold her, we discovered that the grey “spot” on her side was actually a set of grey under feathers.


She also has some identical grey feathers on her other side. So she didn’t turn completely white.

Some people have questioned how I could not have noticed that she changed so drastically. We live with our chickens in the backyard during the summer. Once September comes around, with busy school schedules and me sitting at my desk for up to 8 hours a day, we hardly do more for our flock than open the door in the morning, feed and water them, let them free range and then close the door in the evening. Even our weekends are packed with school events and other obligations.We do daily counts but other than that, we let them do their thing while we do ours.

Obviously Zelda turned white sometime after September.

And yes, I know that her beak and feet have changed color, but they changed when she made her initial switch to being a rooster (and yes, I know that she wasn’t *really* a rooster.)

I realize that there will still be doubters, but that’s okay – you should question what you read and you should demand verification. We all should.



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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Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Personal

2 responses to “Lesson 1159 – More about Zelda

  1. OK, this might be unlikely but worth asking…is it in something she ate/is eating? I realize the other chickens apparently don’t have any issues but wonder whether she might have ingested something that had hormonal side effects? Your flock is free-range, right? Very curious!

  2. HI Wendy, I’ve had it with my flock too. It seems to be when they get older, or if there is not a Rooster in the flock. It seems as though one of the hens decides to dominate the others (or be leader perhaps?). I have 300 Isa Browns at the moment (we are free range egg farmers) and there is one Hen that keeps jumping on the other chickens as though she is a Rooster. At this stage she has not changed but I will be watching to see if this happens. Fascinating post Wendy, and I do believe you.

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