Good news and bad news on the homesteading front: as I mentioned in the last post, the pullets have finally started to lay!

They are healthy and happy, though their cropped beaks do seem to seriously hinder their foraging. They can’t peck well into the dirt. Thus they find less of their own food, eat more of the feed I have to pay for, and generally provide less of a profit margin. At least they seem to get along very well with Joseph.

He’s protective of them… here he comes now to make sure the camera is no threat.

He crows a lot less now (or we sleep through it) and he is good to these three girls so he will be staying with us a while longer. Except…

I think they only like him because he’s not Taking Care of Business. If you know what I mean.

Not a single egg fertilized. One rooster, three laying gals… what’s going on here?

When he was in the tractor he endlessly assaulted the older gals (Josh started calling him The Rape Machine) but never successfully mounted one that we could tell. Could he be deficient in the trouser department – maybe the reason he was abandoned in Chicken Neighbor’s yard to begin with?  Or maybe the redheads are just too young for him yet? He shows no interest in them that way – though it is touching to see him guarding them, showing them where to peck, even “dancing” for them sometimes (making “purring” noises and stepping from side to side dragging one wing or the other).

Maybe he’s just not into redheads.

6 Responses to “Pullets”

  1. Diane Says:

    How do you know they’re not fertilized? I didn’t know that you could tell with the naked eye until they were further along than when normally collected (the same day they’re laid). I’ve not read up on it so am clueless.

  2. Diane Says:

    Just found this link: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_know_if_the_eggs_you_get_from_your_hens_have_been_fertilized

  3. debbie swickard Says:

    Yes, I’m rather curious about that, too. You never cease to amaze me with your wealth of knowledge.

  4. diana Says:

    I’ve been told that you can tell a fertilized egg when you break it because there will be a little red spot on the yolk. (They’re still perfectly edible.) Mostly I know they’re not fertilized because he’s not mounting them at all. They have no displaced feathers – and they really should be looking sort of worn out by now if he were doing his job, since there are only three of them for him (and there should be 6 hens to 1 rooster). I think they may be too young yet; they only started laying this week after all. Maybe he’s just a gentleman. :)

    I didn’t want to go to the trouble of candling because we’re just going to eat them anyway; but if I’m still doubtful in a few weeks I think perhaps I should.

  5. Marvin Says:

    Or.. maybe he’s just not…

  6. Amber Says:

    Hm. My chicken experience was a decade+ ago (the intense yellow yolk freaked me out for months) but I remember something about hens ‘storing’ the … um… fertilizer. They could still produce fertile eggs for awhile after the rooster had been taken out. So maybe it takes awhile to get in?
    If you collect eggs every day and refrigerate, you’re not going to get the red dot thingie. Sometimes there IS a red dot, but that’s often just a hen ovary part. (Also fine to eat.) When you crack ’em open, the fertilized eggs have a sort of white ring like a bulls eye, just a touch bigger than the normal white spot. I guess not technically “white” but, you know, not as yellow. So… Tiny white spot = no successful humpin’. Tiny white circle outline = fertilized.
    Glad he’s good to his girls now.

    p.s. I love you! *smile*

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