I heard the back door slam shut, and I felt my daughter enter the house before I saw her. There was a blast of cold air, and I’m not just talking damp winter outdoor air; I’m talking about the iciness of her frozen over chicken-loving heart.
She stomped into the house (without removing her mucking boots – a very important fact to her mother), her face red and her hair all tangled from battle. Next thing I know, she’s yanking up her sleeves, showing me her bloody arm, and muttering things about Armando.
Armando is our rooster, named after my father. Annaliese got him when he was just days old.
Here’s the thing about baby chicks: they are cute in an ugly duckling sort of way. They chip-chirp and hop all over. They eat out of your hand and sleep in a big pile of newly sprouted feathers. Unfortunately, you have no idea which chickens are the boy chickens and which chickens are the girl chickens.
I know, I know…roosters and hens are the appropriate terms.
When you want chickens to lay eggs, it’s pretty important that you get girl chicks, or hens, in your batch.
Some people have a keen eye, and can spot a rooster from a mile away. I’m used to seeing chickens on my plate, and by that point, I couldn’t care less if it’s a hen or a rooster.
These chicken aficionados are kind enough to make teaching videos for us ignorant city-folk. They look at combs, beards, tails feathers, and wings. They give very precise scientific guidelines. After watching about two hours of chicken footage, I felt pretty confident. I learned a new skill. My mama would be so proud of me.
My daughter and I headed to the coop – me the inspector and Annaliese the chicken wrangler.
Two birds into this ordeal, my phone starts ringing. It’s my husband.
“Hey, I can’t talk now. I’m sexing chickens.”
Friends, these are the words I never thought I would utter.
My husband was, of course, confused. I assured him “sexing” chickens was nothing like “sexting” chickens, and I hung up.
That day, I did not make one correct sexing assumption. I’m convinced you don’t really know if you’ve got a boy or girl chick until they either crow or lay an egg.
Armando is most definitely a rooster. Every single time one of us steps out the back door, he crows for food. It doesn’t matter if he just ate five minutes ago. He’s the noisiest bird I know.
Annaliese held out her arm and exclaimed, “I’ve had it! That rooster has to die. He attacks me every day now, and today he bit me. I don’t want to see him again until he’s dead.”
The girl loves her chickens, both in the coop and on her dinner plate.
Armando, the poor unlucky rooster, is in solitary confinement, awaiting the death penalty.
Sorry dad. You’re namesake didn’t fare too well.
In this blood feud, it’s more than appropriate to sing out…
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!