Ava’s proud moment

 

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Little Ava

More than six months on, the new girls Little Ava and Mabel are settling in and contributing to their keep with an abundant supply of fresh eggs.

The first time Ava laid an egg was a morning of concern.

Now, most hens have a small comb on the top of their head when they’re not laying. But Ava, for some reason, has always prided herself with a vivid red comb. Much bigger and brighter than the other girls.

Okay.

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But then one morning I heard what sounded like a seagull in the garden. Crawk, the loud noise went.

I didn’t remember hearing anyone making that type of noise before.

I opened the coop door and saw Ava looking at me and making that raucous noise again.

Bright red comb. Squawk. Squawk… An unusual noise, unlike the other girls. Was it a squawk or a crow?

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Little Ava

Either she was going to lay her first egg or… What if she was actually a cockerel and they got it wrong at the farm?

I felt a tinge of foreboding. I had warmed to Ava and didn’t want her to go but if she was male, she might be too noisy for my neighbours…

Why would the farm get it wrong? The chickens were 12 and 14 weeks old when I adopted them, surely the farm would know.

Yet I had heard mistakes can be made…

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… And that female hens can turn into roosters.

Had I lived in the countryside, no problem, but unfortunately there were neighbours around who probably wouldn’t like a wake-up call at 5am every morning.

I brooded on this as young Ava went up into the indoor section and back down again. She seemed as confused as I was.

About 20 minutes later, I headed out again. It was nearly time to go to work and this matter must be left to one side for now.

Fortunately, events had reached a conclusion.

The result for the scarlet head, triumphant seagull sound and general confusion was that Little Ava had rather an eventual morning. She was proving she was definitely a lady with the egg she had just laid.

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Thank you Ava, I had never doubted you!

As for Mabel, she has proved to be a hard working member of the team, producing many delicious eggs. She is a little gutsy and always eager for an adventure. She will try to edge her way through the gate when I open it and I have often the need to tell her: “No, Mabel, you’re not going through the gate, stay in your own garden with your friends.”

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Facts of the Day

1. According to Andy Cawthorne, of Country Smallholding magazine, November 2016, ‘Hetty can become Henry overnight’ when ‘there is a part change of gender within a hen’. Thankfully – for those of us who have small gardens and neighbours nearby – this is not a regular happening.

2. A hen ‘will no longer lay eggs. Her comb and wattles will develop, her feathering and feather structure will become more male in appearance and she will even begin to crow’. She still is genetically a female though.

3. Andy says in his article that this phenomenon is caused by stress or illness and only occurs ‘in hens with one ovary’, the other remaining as a ‘regressed male gonad’ which can take over.

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29 thoughts on “Ava’s proud moment

  1. Thank goodness for you that she is female! We used to get visited regularly by the neighbouring farmer’s cockerel (whom my husband named Monsieur Coq au Vin) who had taken a shine to our girls and he was monstrously noisy! I spent most of my days just chasing him home again! I had no idea that females could “turn” male. How fascinating!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Monsieur Coq au Vin does sound a character! Cockerels do like to make themselves heard. At the Poultry Farm where I got my hens, they all seemed to be competing to be the loudest! If I had no neighbours and a very large garden I would have one (as far away from my house as possible so he wouldn’t wake me up at 5am!) πŸ™‚

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  2. Lovely story Clare. I have a friend who has chickens and they are so full of personality – each one a completely different character, and the smallest is very much the boss! Glad all turned out well and as expected. I didn’t know that hens could trans-gender! Fascinating stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Absolutely, one day I hope to have some of these funny and interesting little people running around in my back garden too. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So true – I’ve had some of my friends, and they’re in a different league from those you buy in the shops. πŸ™‚

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      1. I am learning many things about chickens Clare. In fact, I follow several bloggers that have chickens, and one of them has free-range chickens that often wander in the house and she has pictures of them sitting on her husband’s lap (or on his legs when they are up on a recliner) … kind of like a cat. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That sounds fantastic! I would love chickens popping into my house. Unfortunately because of the layout of my garden they can’t gain access to my living room from where they are but how wonderful that would be to have hens wandering in and out! I have to physically carry them in when they do come in. πŸ™‚

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      3. Isn’t that nice Clare? I’ve followed Kim for about a year now and if you look back on some posts you will see the chickens in the house, sitting on her husband’s lap or his legs if he is in a recliner. She got a new rooster about six months ago and did a long post on him. In fact she often has posts about the chickens. Sometimes her posts are poignant (some health troubles for her/husband the last year or so), but most of the time she makes me laugh and her photos are fun too. She is a good photographer. Glad I shared Kim’s blog with you Clare.

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  3. Good evening, Police Chief Matier here – not wishing to disturb you, however this is just to inform you that your name has come up in connection wirha crime here in WordPress – a murder – currently you need not do anything – well, at least until our Inspector deduces who has been murdered, if this happens to be you, then l can only but say — oops πŸ™‚

    https://aguycalledbloke.blog/2019/04/05/once-upon-a-blog-crime-8/

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