Rosey the Riveter

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ode to Clara Belle

When we got our hens, one of the younger ones was a Blue Laced Red Wyandotte we named Clara Belle (CB, or Seabee, for short).

She and Rosie, the Lavender Orp, were best of friends.
Clara Belle spent all day with her sisters, foraging and dust-bathing.

After about a month, she seemed to double in size.  But I knew Wyandottes were large hens, so I didn't give it a second thought. But no eggs.  Which wasn't a big deal because Rosie wasn't laying, either.

Then last week I noticed that her waddles were getting really big and red and saddle feathers were coming in.
 And then the day before yesterday, Stephen was up before dawn (as always), and heard crowing. 

How could it take so long for a rooster to mature?  How could this be?  CB spent last night in our bathroom in a cat carrier so I could hear it myself (and not upset the neighbors.)  And there was more crowing.  I hoped beyond hope that she was becoming one of the dominant hens that I'd read about that would crow in the absence of a rooster... it was only in the morning, never during the day.

But I also knew that I couldn't postpone the inevitable.

So tonight I dropped CB off at a friend's 'funny farm'.  As soon as I got her out of the carrier, the other rooster started going at her, and she gave it right back.  They tussled, and worked it out.  The rooster crowed.  And then CB crowed.  Loud.

CB was a rooster after all.

It was difficult to explain to the kids that I was taking CB away.  And it was absolutely the wrong time of the month for me to be thinking rationally.  CB had a good life here.  He got to eat bugs and green grass and drink clean water, and his new home is even better, with more land and lots of hens and sheeps and goats.  No matter his fate, which I'd rather not know, it has to be enough that we did right by this sweet boy.

I also learned a couple of important things.
#1.  My soul longs to be on acreage where I can keep a sweet rooster if I want to.  I love our life here in VA, and goodness knows I love my neighbors, but I do not belong in the suburbs. 
#2.  Three hens is not enough.  Five might be too many.  But we're going to need to get another one.
#3.  I need to toughen up.

Normally, Rosie is the first one in the coop at night.  Tonight, she was last.

She circled the lawn, confused, looking for CB, then I lost it.  Yet again. 
And then there were three...

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