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Homeschooling The Well Prepared Child: The FFA Hens

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The FFA Hens

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     Finally got a few photos (that are a little better) of my FFA hens. Their names are 'Prissy' and 'HeShe.' Funny story, I was writing this post to see what everyone thought about the chicken 'HeShe.' Then we had some strange developments and I am pretty sure we have our answer now.
     We have actually had this chicken for several months now. It always seemed a little off, but we never questioned if it was really a hen, until a little over a month ago. 'HeShe' has always been an ugly chicken. Her face just looked mean and grouchy. She has a gimp leg that turns in a little, and she does not like to walk, run, or stand for very long. Her feathers never really laid down nicely, and at first we thought she might have been our Roo's favorite, (hint, hint, wink, wink) because she always looked harassed. Then suddenly, Roo stopped messing with her. Completely! He turned all of his attention on our Prissy Hen, causing a huge tear under her wing. Now I am going to skip over to talk about the eggs we have been getting. But first, check out the difference between Prissy and HeSHe.

Prissy and HeShe

At this point, we as a family have wondered, 
"Why is HeShe looking so much like a rooster?" 

That's when we named her 'HeShe.'

     Okay, now back to the eggs! HeShe couldn't be a rooster, we were getting way too many eggs for just Prissy to be laying them. One day we had 2 perfect little hard shells and 3 rubber eggs. The hard shells were laid in the nesting box, while the rubber eggs were scattered all over the hen house. We had seen Prissy use the nesting box, so we were confident she was the one laying the perfect little eggs. So who was laying the other, rubber eggs if not HeShe? 

      We were happy with the eggs we were getting and we were getting a lot of eggs for just 2 little hens. I figured HeShe would eventually get the hang of it and start laying normally. After all, these were extras from an FFA Meat/Show group of chickens. I was told they would never lay, never mate, never be good for anything except for meat. Also, they were prone to suddenly freak out, fly up in flapping wings of fury style and just die. I added egg shells and oyster shells to their diet in hopes this would help. 

     We started with 7 chickens. 6 hens and one rooster. Our Roo was glorious. We knew which one was the rooster from the beginning. Within a month after getting him he started to crow in the morning. He stood tall and proud, showing us his 'cock walk' often. We loved him. 

     But as rooster do, he mated constantly with our hen, Prissy. To the point he was hurting her. Not his fault. I had researched you needed a minimum of 6 hens to keep a rooster happy. At the time, however, these were just meat chickens I was to butcher for our meat. They were not supposed to lay eggs, or try to mate, or live past 3-4 months. Our other chickens were not old enough to put into the big coop with these chickens. So poor Prissy was 'harassed' on a regular basis. To the point she was ripped under her wing so bad I was sure we were going to have to cull her. Roo might have made it past this point, if it was not for the fact he started to attack my brother in law (super funny) and my 18 yr old son (still funny.) But, when he started attacking my 10 yr old daughter, that is when we decided Roo would have to go to freezer camp. It was a sad day for my daughter and I. Even though he was attacking her, we still loved him. But we knew, this was not a petting zoo, these were not supposed to be pets, this was food for our family. 
RIP my Roo! 

     Now we still had the problem of HeShe. Is it a boy or a girl? Her body was all hen. Big, fat, plump hen! She is short, she walks a bit funny, but definitely like a hen. My daughter wants me to also add Prissy and HeSHe both come running to the hen house like a couple of airplanes trying to take off. :) Roo did not run the same way. HeShe's comb and waddles were getting longer and darker, and looked more like Roo. Her feathers around her neck were becoming longer and wispier looking like a rooster. Slowly her tail feathers started to part and look fluffier. What was going on? OH! and right before Roo was sent to 'freezer camp' they had a scuffle only seen out of the corner of our eyes, 'Did HeShe just try to mate with Prissy? Is that why Roo attacked?' WHAT IS GOING ON HERE????

So tell me, is this a hen or a rooster? 
     And why would it have taken MONTHS for him to even look like a rooster? MONTHS! He started out just not being as pretty as our other hens, then grumpy looking. Then in came extra comb and waddles. Lastly, the feather change... So is this a hen or a rooster? I have showed HeShe's picture on a chicken group I am in on Facebook. Consensus was it was a hen that just had more male qualities. But I still wonder.. At least I did wonder. The morning after Roo's demise, I walked out, saddened by the fact that my Roo would not great me with his morning crow, only to be greeted by the morning crow of HeShe! (Now named Frankie) Has anyone ever had this happen? Has anyone ever heard of a FAKER chicken? 

     Now we have had to remove 'Frankie' from the rest of the flock to allow Prissy time to heal and let the younger chickens get used to the coop. We are not sure what we are going to do. I think he will meet the same fate of Roo, because we are pretty sure our new chicks have a boy or 2 in the flock. These will be a nicer breed of laying hens. It kinda makes Frankie useless except to be dinner. That was the whole reason we got them.  Prissy will be the last surviving FFA hen soon. I just hope she keeps laying the big beautiful eggs she has been laying, (and I secretly hope Frankie lays an egg in his pen, rubber or not, so he can stay too.) 

 Our laying chickens! 

Prissy is not sure what to think of the newbies in her house! 

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