The conversation with the chicken lady


Remember my daughter sitting by the coop trying to discover which chicken was crowing? Well, she did. And then caught a different one crowing, too.

I decided to contact the seller and first ask if she still had hens.

CL: Yes, I have plenty. When are you able to come by?

Me: Great! I was actually wondering if I could exchange some of the hens we got from you, as they turned out to be roosters.

CL: How many roosters do you want to exchange?

Me: I’m not entirely sure yet how many are roosters. Two were caught in the act of crowing. Others look suspicious.

CL: Sometimes hens start crowing to assert their dominance.

Eh, what?

Me: Well, here are the two that crowed.

CL: Oh, yeah. Those are roosters.

Me: Do you have hens around the same age? These hatched March 1, you said.

CL: No, I only have ones born on May 14.

Me: Would you be willing to exchange two hens for each rooster considering the roosters are much older and we’ve been feeding them all this time without benefit of eggs in roughly two months?

CL: Yeah, that would be no problem.

Me: Wonderful, thank you. Can I send you pictures of the other chickens for you to help decipher what they are?

This last one surely looks like a rooster, right?

CL: Those are hens. You can bring the roosters, and I’ll exchange them for some hens.

“Some” hens?

We worked out that when we’d get there the next day, her father would be there to help us.

Me, the next day: Does your dad know about our two-for-one exchange rate?

CL: I’ll exchange the roosters you have for the small hens we have.

It made me nervous that she wasn’t acknowledging our arrangement. Nevertheless, we wrangled our two fowl beasts into a box and two of my girls carried it to the trunk of the van.

As they did so, a rooster crowed.

We froze, wide-eyed. The girls looked at me. I looked at them.

Me: Please tell me that crowing came from the box.

They shook their heads.

A coocadoodledoo sounded again. We ran to the coop.

I took a picture of the offender and again sent it to the Chicken Lady.

Brown one in the foreground.

CL: That’s a hen.

I said nothing more to her. We packed up this third rooster and took it to her father to have a look. He agreed that it was a rooster and gave us six young chickens. I would have honestly settled for five, but I was quite grateful.

Also, phew!

To be sure there would be no ill will for this exchange, I thanked the father profusely. Then I texted the CL to let her know we’d come and gone and to thank her as well. I figured her dad could fill her in on the third rooster.

Me: Your dad is so friendly. Thank you!

CL: No problem. Hope these actually come out as hens. πŸ™‚

Me: I hope so too! I told your dad, “I hope you don’t have to see us again until we’re ready for a new set in about two years.”

CL: Hahaha. Thank you for coming. πŸ™‚

Me: Thank you so much for allowing us to make the exchange. Awfully decent of you. πŸ™‚

She “hearted” that text.

Our new chicks.

Now here’s the kicker: Since we’ve been home with the new chicks, another brown rooster crowed, and we’re seriously suspicious of the big white one, too. That means 4 or 5 of the original 7 “hens” they sold us are actually roosters. Of the 6 new ones we acquired in this exchange, who knows how many are roosters. We’ll be feeding them for months before we know for sure, and chicken feed isn’t cheep. (Pun!)

So, what to do?

Try to get rid of the confirmed rooster online? I listed it days ago. No takers. Shocking!

Process and eat it ourselves? Not happening.

Keep the rooster and start our own chicken farm? We’d need a bigger coop.

Take it back and ask for another exchange? Hrmm…

Or just ask if I can bring it back and leave it there?

I’m leaning toward the last option. We may want to drop off more roosters in the future when the current chickens get bigger.

What would you do? Honestly welcoming your opinion on this. I’m beginning to think this entire chicken venture may not have been worth it, but who knows what the future will bring. Perhaps we’ll get super lucky and have all hens in this new batch, but I seriously doubt it given this man’s previous track record of picking out hens.

The kids enjoyed moving the chicks to their new home.

74 responses »

  1. What a story! I had no idea that keeping hens and/or roosters could be so problematic– and humorous. I’d just give any unwanted roosters back because are they really worth keeping around? I mean, are they earning their keep? Other than keeping you guessing/entertained about who’s a hen and who’s a rooster.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, that’s what I’ll probably do. I hope they’ll take it/them back. Hubby doesn’t want me to ask about it until we’re certain the white one isn’t also a rooster. Then again, if we raised our own chicks, we’d have a constant supply of hens coming. How to get rid of the excess is the hard part. Learn to butcher them ourselves? Eep!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The chicken venture is totally worth it – think of all the entertainment you’ve provided us! πŸ™‚ I like the idea of just dropping the roosters back off. Maybe take a pictures of the chicks every day as they mature and start a hen vs rooster identification chart? And then drop them?? Good luck with that!

    Liked by 2 people

      • I think you should copyright “Blog Buddy entertainment!” Quite a catchphrase. We had a chicken when we lived in the Philippines when I was a kid. He turned out to be a rooster too and would chase my mom all around the yard when she’d tried to feed him. I think she gave him to the cock fighters when we moved. Or that might just be family lore. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hilarious! As a city chick, I’m clueless, but I’d think a person dealing in poultry could look at the anatomy and tell the difference? I guess I’d just take the rooster back and call it a day.

    Suburbs around here have been battling with people who want to have coops in their backyard. I can understand why a neighbor would not appreciate the cockadoodle doo early in the mornings, but maybe you learn to ignore it?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Betsy, maybe we should call them “they” since they are gender non-specific. My daughter and her boyfriend are down to eight hens, since a hawk came for a visit. They sell the eggs for $5 a dozen to work colleagues. No roosters though. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OMG what a story! I vote for just returning the new rooster without an exchange. I have not thought about this at all – you’ve introduced me to a whole new thing here. Question though, don’t you need a rooster to get eggs? Or are you just raising the chickens for fun?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I imagine you feed your cats, every single day. And actually the chicken food and water bins don’t have to be refilled daily. Only every few days, so not very strenuous–says the woman who only needs to delegate the chores. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

    • The roosters were full grown. The new chicks were little. They all ended up in the same box before we took our roosters out. I’m not entirely sure that man knew what we were doing. He tried to give us 7, or maybe he just wasn’t keeping track. Then he sort of milled around like maybe he was waiting to be paid. Who knows!


  6. Wow, what a story, Betsy! I wish I had advice but I’m clueless. You’d really think someone who raises chickens like CL and her dad would be able to tell the difference.

    I loved all the photos and the new little chicks are adorable. We have a farmette across the street with an assortment of chickens, ducks, dwarf goats, turkeys, and some birds I can’t identify. I love seeing the menagerie every time I drive past. Further down the street (still can’t figure out where) someone has a rooster. I always thought they only crowed at dawn but this guy talks all day long. I love hearing him but my hubby is not so enamored! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • The dad was flipping them over and looking at them underneath. Nothing in my research indicates that you can sex chickens just by glancing at their undercarriage. Maybe he was just doing that for show?

      For years a nearby neighbor has had a rooster. My reaction is the same as yours–surprised to hear it any old time, but also happy to hear it. I don’t know if Hubby has an opinion on it. But he certainly has an opinion on OUR rooster crowing.

      Seeing the farmette sounds wonderful. Wish I could visit with my kids. I love animals. Someone else taking care of them is even better. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a … well, I don’t know. Fiasco? I’d just drop off the rooster(s). Sounds like you have plenty of chickens left.

    We’ve never gotten a rooster in our batches (that we know of. Not sure about the younglings that fell victim to various predators. We always get our chicks from the local farm and fleet store when they have them in the spring. We’ve still got four hens, and I’m working from home, so no opportunity to sell there, which I did for a little while when we were getting a couple dozen eggs a week. We live in the country, so a lot of people around have chickens. Hubs keeps talking about goats (they’re great for eating weeds; a friend of mine says they love poison ivy), but I reminded him that goats need fences. And lots of food in the winter. And we have long winters …

    I have to say Joe is ADORABLE with that chick! (now read that phrase and imagine ten years in the future πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Today is Joe’s 4th birthday. In ten years he’d better still only be with the feathered kinds of chicks!

      You were lucky with no roosters! (That you knew of.) Too bad so many neighbors have coops too, or you could barter eggs for something. Jam, maybe?

      I wanted a goat, but Paul wisely pointed out that they’d eat the plants we want to keep also, so no go (at) there.

      Thanks to a tip from a commenter about checking the wings, we think we’ve sexed most of the young chicks and will probably take one or more of those back too. Maybe we’ll be allowed an exchange on those. We’ll see, I guess. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Because I know you’ve been losing sleep over this | parentingisfunny

  9. I’m so sorry but I had to laugh so hard reading this! I know, it must be quite stressful for you, but it does make for excellent story material. πŸ˜‰ Also totally loved the pun about chicken food not being cheep – LOL!
    I’d never have guessed that it’s that hard to identify young chickens, and truly hope you’ll end up with more hens than roosters soon! As to that rooster problem – did I mention that I often say out “yummy” when seeing a healthy chicken? πŸ˜‰ It does earn me weird looks but what can you do?! LOL! Though maybe it would be different if they were my own? No, strike, that, I think it would definitely be different!

    Liked by 1 person

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