No, Not You… The Bow-Legged One

Advance warning: this entry is all about SEX. Chicken sex, to be exact. And by “chicken sex,” I really mean, “egg laying.”

Cue record scratching/music coming to a screeching halt. What do my scrambled eggs have to do with chicken sex, you may be wondering? And by “wondering,” I mean, “totally freaking out and rocking in the fetal position in the corner of your kitchen, as far from the cast iron skillet as you can get.”

Let’s back up. One thing we’ve learned in this first year of chicken rearing is that there are a few misconceptions regarding the magic of the chicken egg. People ask us all the time if you need a rooster to get eggs. This usually sparks an interesting, sometimes uncomfortable conversation likening egg laying in chickens to egg laying in humans, which is essentially what we females of child bearing age do every month. Chickens are just overachievers about the whole business (or, more specifically, our unfertilized eggs are worthless and we humans have never been bred to pop out a fresh egg daily).

In fact, if you want edible eggs (i.e. eggs that do not contain little baby chickies, waiting to be hatched), then you really DON’T want a rooster anywhere near your girls – just like we ladies should probably stay away from dudes if we absolutely don’t want a chubby, bald, eating, pooping mini-me of our own.

So when chickens start laying eggs, they are essentially saying that they are ready for sex. Really. What’s even creepier about it, though, is that their demeanor changes, too. About a week before Dino Puppy started laying, I went to pet her, and she did this weird hunkering down move, where she got low to the ground, centered herself, and spread her wings out a bit.

What was going on? To put it not delicately at all, Dino Puppy was ready to be mounted by some lucky rooster. And she apparently thought my hand was a rooster. See? I felt like a total creep. I just wanted to pet my sweet girl! Little did I know, my sweet girl was suddenly a grown-ass woman.

This all brings me to Beaker, our oldest chicken and the only one of the five not yet laying eggs. She’s also the only one of our day-old chicks to survive triple degree temperatures last summer.

20120329. Beaker.

Baby Beaker.

The other day we were chilling in the yard together (like we do). When I went to pet her – are you ready for this? because I don’t think I am – she did the weird chicken sex pose. My little girl’s all grown up!

20120822. Me and Beaker. Beaker and me.

Big girl Beaker.

Just you wait: the next time I go out there, she’ll be singing this song, word for word. Stay tuned – we’re hoping she lays blue eggs!

6 thoughts on “No, Not You… The Bow-Legged One

    • I KNOW!!! Isn’t it horrible?! I mean, you know, circle of life/magical time for a young lassy/blah blah blah, but really?! Girls, I am not a mate.

      I am super pleased that Beaker appears to be about ready to start laying, though. We had pretty much accepted that she was just not going to end up being a layer. She’d just continue on, being top chicken, picking on all the other girls while they work hard for their money.

    • YES! I mean, there’s really no delicate way of saying it, is there? We’ve been really surprised by some of the questions we’ve gotten from friends, too, like not understanding the basics of egg laying. To be fair, though, I really had no idea how frequently a given chicken lays or much understanding of some of the finer details, like how light impacts laying, etc.

      One question we’ve gotten more than once now which has really surprised us – friends asking how long “unpasteurized” eggs are good. I think without that grocery store expiration date, people don’t know what to do… and it seems people don’t really understand what pasteurization means. If anything, I tell them, this is the freshest egg you will ever eat since it hasn’t been sitting on a truck or on a grocery store shelf for a month or two already.

      • Best comment I’ve heard is from a colleague that has a small flock. Her neighbor told her “I’m not eating any egg that came out of a chickens butt.” *facepalm*

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