Chicken Diary : Meet Chuck

I’ve decided to try a little series here called “Chicken Diary” to contain the chicken-talk in an orderly fashion. I’m planning on it being little updates about the birds and their antics as well as random thoughts on chickens and things I’m learning or enjoying (or not enjoying) about them.

First up, I’d like you to meet Chuck. It’s hard not to mention him when I talk about the little flock. He is our superstar. Everyone loves him. As a free extra they threw in the order, we didn’t know what breed he would be or even if he would be a he or she. All we knew what that his name would be Chuck (a friend asked to name one before I managed to put my foot down about naming our food.) It didn’t take long for us to realize he was a Sliver Polish top hat chicken. However, the gender still remained a mystery. I guessed he was a boy early on, based on the fact that he acted bold like the other boys. But some of the girls were pretty gutsy too, so I really couldn’t be sure.

Then, at just under five weeks, before the certainty of an audible clue, a friend said he knew how to tell the sex. So he checked Chuck over and said it was girl. We had all come to like the idea of having a rooster so we turned our sights on upgrading one of the meat birds to that role. And there wasn’t much doubt on which one it would be—one specific Buff Orpington. Even though he is one of the biggest (therefore the most practical to butcher), he is also the sweetest and most friendly of all sixteen birds. I made the mistake of not waiting for a definite gender identification on Chuck and let my brother name this Orpington. He chose Franz Joseph (the Emperor of Austria.)

But not long after, one morning, I opened the chicken door and they all came barreling out, Chuck in the rear. He stayed on the ramp and let out three of the most awkward crows I’d ever heard. He was officially a cockerel and claimed his position as our flock’s future rooster. Unlike the other birds, Chuck has been our “pet” since the beginning so his fate was never in the air. Either we’d have a mighty pretty rooster or an extra layer. Since I’m not sure two roosters is smart, poor Franz Joseph has returned to being a nameless bird destined for our freezer. (I’ll save the meat bird talk for another diary entry.)