The Hen's Crow

March 7, 2015

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This morning, I woke to the sound of a hen crowing.

This crow wasn't your typical robust rooster crow, but a poorly executed, off-putting, gurgly attempt at the act. I was deep in dreamland when the first crowing pulled me violently from my slumber. Luckily, Matt was already awake and heard the noise, too, so he went outside to investigate, and found Milly, our Black Copper Marans, standing at attention in preparation for attempt #2.

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(Milly is the small black hen in the back.)

As humorous as this whole scenario is, I've read about hens taking on male characteristics, growing spurs, long feathers, crowing and, worst of all, giving up their egg laying tasks. And if you've been following along with our backyard chicken journey, we bought Milly specifically for her eggs. Out of all four chickens, she's the only one of the flock who wasn't hand-raised by us. We found her on Craigslist after Olive died, and slowly integrated her into our flock last year so we could maintain our four-chicken city limit.

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And if you've been reading my monthly egg counts, you'll know that Milly's egg productivity is outstanding. She's an egg laying machine, and her eggs are usually huge and come out a gorgeous dark brown. The above photo is from yesterday's egg collection, however, which shows a much lighter brown egg than is typical. I have to wonder if the lighter egg color from yesterday and the crowing from this morning are more than just coincidence. Could it be due to a hormonal change? Is she going to turn into a little boy hen?

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In other chicken-related news, all four girls are laying as of Thursday, which is when I found a suspiciously tiny pink egg laying in Starbuck's favorite laying box. As the largest of our girls and the worst layer, her eggs are notoriously small and inconsistently lain, but we're excited to see her back in action.

7 comments:

  1. Love reading about your chicken adventures!

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  2. Copper Marans, I want one in my flock so badly. I have read online that they can tend to be rather misleading, laying the beautiful chocolate brown eggs early on in their laying cycle and then eventually switching to a lighter egg. Perhaps this is what is going on with your lady.

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  3. Hahahah! Before we had a rooster, all of our hens were way louder in communication their feelings. Is she a lead hen in your pack's pecking order? Because it's possible that that's why she might be crowing more, to give instructions and asserts her power <3

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  4. Oh, how exciting! I never knew so much was going on in a flock of hens :) Hope she doesn't give up laying!

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  5. I wouldn't worry about it, our Hens can be pretty loud (louder than our roosters sometimes)! She could also be trying to communicate with other hens in your neighborhood. Our roosters go off when they hear the other roosters nearby.

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  6. Huh. That was a very interesting chicken fact that I just learned!

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  7. gosh, I love your photos, I love the subjects of your photos. And your words. Lovely

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