You know how we thought Tilly might be a rooster? Well, she’s not. She’s just large and manly and no-nonsense, in the tradition of Julia Child and Sally Ride. But, rest assured, she is all woman.
Ollie and Maggie have not yet given up on the idea that she might actually be a Billy instead of a Tilly. When my brother was visiting they tried to convince him of Tilly’s maleness by holding her up by the neck and squeezing until she uttered a strangled and pathetic little squawk. “See,” they said proudly, “she’s cock-a-doodle-doing.”
I assure you, she was not.
Other things our chickens don’t do? They don’t come when you call them (I use “chick, chick, chick, chick” because although it is completely useless, it’s fun to say). And they really don’t LAY EGGS.
Nary a one. I know they are still adolescents and have not yet reached reproductive age (my brother once described the difference between fertilized eggs and non-fertilized eggs as the difference between “eating a chicken abortion, or a chicken period.” Appetizing, I know), but we’re getting a little impatient. We want them to mature quickly and be productive, like little avian Doogie Howsers.
The gals are going on 14 weeks this Friday. They look, act, and sound like full-grown birds. But they are useless. Elizabeth Jardina calls it the “eat and poop and wait” stage.
They could start laying anywhere between 17 and 22 weeks (stay tuned for the guess-the-date-of-our-first-omelet-contest).
In the meantime, they poop.
I had no idea how much chickens poop. Chickens poop like they are getting paid for it (and they would be if Sloat would cough up some of the revenue from the $7/bag chicken manure--suckers!). I would estimate that your average chicken drops a load about every 10 minutes. Maybe 15 if they are feeling backed up.Which is fine, and good for the garden, and basically not that offensive as far as feces goes. Except that that’s ALL THEY DO. They eat and they poop. Oh, and they eat dandelions as long as I pull them up first and deliver them to the coop. Little divas.