A Nickel Bet

FM and I have a very civilized way of agreeing to disagree. When we cannot meet eye-to-eye on a topic, we propose a nickel bet. A nickel is the highest monetary stake either of us is willing to take, yet it is a small enough fund to make the bet an easy way out of any disagreement.

For almost five months, we have been trying to figure out the sexes of our chicks. For most of that time, we have both waffled in our beliefs. For a while, we agreed that, whatever the sex, both chicks were the same. And then we both decided that Florentine was a hen. But Benedict has been difficult to figure out. About two months ago, I decided to bet my nickel and my bet was that Benedict is a rooster. FM quietly voiced his disagreement and claimed that Benedict is a hen. With time, these claims would prove a winner.

Today the truth was revealed.

Benedict is a hen!

Benedict left the flock this morning and is nestled in the nesting box!

When I was leaving the house for work, Benedict was missing, despite my scratch offerings. I peaked my head in the chicken door and, lo and behold, Benedict was tucked away in the nesting box.

When I came home from work, there were two tiny eggs together in that same box. So, as an offering to FM, I let him know that he was right (as usual) and left him this little peace-offering. With two different colours, two tiny eggs and photographic proof that Benedict was in the nesting box, we can be assured that this non-meeting-of-the-minds has been resolved.

A well-earned nickel!

A well-earned nickel!

Hooray!  We now have 5 laying hens! And still no rooster!


Double Wing Tuck

Waiting for new baby chicks to reveal their gender seems like endless detective work! Every day, I watch them carefully to see any hints that might reveal the truth beneath their feathers. But each observation sheds no light and I continue to have no idea. The end result is an uncertainty as to become attached to possible hens or indifferent to possible roosters. (It makes me sad to see it written down so harshly!)

When we originally started down the chicken path, we thought that three laying hens would suffice. So we got six chicks, figuring that 50% of them would be hens. To our surprise (and delight), five of them were hens. We loved the way they all found a ‘bestie’ and would stroll around the Queendom in pairs. Every window’s view would contain a couple of chickens. Pure delight!

After losing one egg-bound hen and culling one nasty rooster, we were left with a seemingly tiny flock of four. Since then, two new chicks have hatched and FM and I are scrutinizing their every move for an indication of gender.

Now six weeks old, Benedict and Florentine are in full pullet-mode, flapping and spinning, chest-bumping and peeping, launching and flying. Both of them are instigators and both of them are victims. They hang out together all the time and seemed distressed if they get separated for long. Whatever sex they are, we think that they are both the same. Tweedle Mum still watches them carefully and protects them from their inquisitive Aunties.

Florentine under Tweedle Mum's wing. (Benedict is on her other side)

Florentine under Tweedle Mum’s wing. (Benedict is under her other wing)

But yesterday, I caught both little chicks during an afternoon catnap chick-nap. Both had their heads tucked under their wings! (Sadly, I don’t have a photo of it for the post but I’ll keep working on it) I have read that roosters never sleep with their heads under their wings. Could it be that we have just added two more hens to our flock?! Or is the wing-tuck story merely an old wives’ tale?

If you know the truth, let me know! It is hard to keep these beauties at arm’s length!

Florentine enjoying a dust-bath while Benedict keeps an eye out for danger.

Florentine enjoying a dust-bath while Benedict keeps an eye out for danger.

Addendum: Once these chicks hit four and a half months, they both began laying eggs. For the time being, I’ll support the myth that only hens tuck their heads under their wings when they sleep.