And Then There Were Two

All 3 girls roosting one night before they got used to their new coop.
Juniper is on the right. 
Two months ago we went to the feed and seed store and brought home 3 sweet pullets, (basically a teenage hen). Juniper won my heart from day one. She was small, sickly, beat up, and picked on and looked like a chicken who needed some love. Her black feathers gleamed green in the sun. Green like juniper berries, so her name came easily. My husband named the second chicken after me. (He pitched it as, "She is so beautiful and so nice to hold," so I certainly couldn't argue with that.) Chicken 3 was harder to name. She is a Welsummer, a skittish breed by nature. She is constantly worried and/or fussing about something which I found annoying, but after a few weeks we landed on Clementine. She seemed like the dramatic type who would appreciate being named after such a tragic song, "...Lost and gone forever, Dreadful sorry, Clementine." We now call her Clemme or Clem for short. My husband's chicken whispering ways have seemed to calm her a bit. (A few week's later my sister sent an article about Therapy Chickens one of which was also named Clementine which only confirmed our good choice.)

My husband and I both raised chickens when we were growing up. This resulted in him loving them and me hating them, however, seeing how he loved them, I figured I could give them another try. We had talked about having chickens now that we have a house, and our next door neighbors already had a coop with 3 hens. They had capacity for 6 so we asked them about a coop share and they said yes! We share the eggs, feed costs, cleaning duties, etc., and everything has been going swimmingly...until Christmas day. We were out of town visiting family for the holiday when we got this email from our neighbor: "It seems that your Ameraucana is actually a rooster."

We didn't entirely believe her. When we had left a week earlier, Juniper was her sweet, quiet, hen looking self, however we came home to find a reality we could not deny. Those long sexy legs of hers I had always admired? I realized they were for a proud strut. Her, now his, tail feathers had grown long and shiny and his beard had grown out. While he is still young, Juniper is Juniper no more. Our neighbors are not quite comfortable having a rooster so we had to find a solution, lest sweet Juni become chicken pot pie (the only way I think I could eat him - in the most unrecognizable form!). We called up our neighbors who own 8 hens already. They have always talked about wanting a rooster. So we boxed up Juniper and took him over.

A hen/rooster ratio of 10/1 is best so the rooster doesn't over use any one hen, so a huge yard and 8 hens seemed like a perfect home. And it was! Juniper has been renamed Martini, in homage to his gin inspired name. There was a bit of pecking from the new hens letting him know they are very much still in charge of his new turf, but overall everyone seemed to get along just fine. He's only a mile away so we can visit as often as we like, and over time we'll probably even buy a new hen, to replace the hen that wasn't.


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