Saturday, March 9, 2013

Identifying our Mystery Chicken

We have been chicken raisers now for 3 months, wow that was quick.  Here at The Shire, things are starting to show the first signs of spring, temperatures are rising, snow is melting, days are getting longer and seeds are getting started inside.  Our chicks have quickly grown into chickens and we are hoping for eggs next month.

If you have been following along on facebook you know there has been one chicken that has been a constant mystery for us.  Today we are going to take a picture-journey from chick to chicken, and share a surprise cock-o-doodle-do ending.

Our chicks a few days after arrival
Our Mystery Chicken at about a month old. 
We thought this was a silver laced wyandotte hen
based on the coloring.

Mystery Chicken standing with Worf, our rooster, who clearly was a rooster by 6 weeks old.  Worf was easy and obvious with red wattle and single comb. We had doubts about Mystery Chicken being a silver laced wyandotte, because of it's brown feathers, but what else could it be?

But at 8 weeks, we could see it wasn't exactly a Wyandotte, maybe part falcon?

Well now, what is this? Are those blue and green feathers in your tail, that must make you an Ameraucana, as they are our only chicken breed with blue green feathering.

But Pikachu here, now she's definitely an Ameraucana hen and she looks nothing like Mystery Chicken. And her comb is much smaller than Mystery Chicken's...
Could it be just the perfect disguise, a rooster disguised as a hen?
But where is the large comb? The wattles? I mean, Worf, now there's a rooster. But wait, aren't Ameraucana's are supposed to have Pea Combs, Worf has a single comb...OMG. Worf's an alien.

My, what a colorful rooster tail you have Mystery Chicken...


Who me, did I cock-o-doodle-do at you?   That's right, listen to me do it a few more times. Me and the rooster down the road are having a competition for the loudest.  

 So, maybe be have more than 1 rooster. And maybe our for-sure-rooster, Worf, is a some kind of cross which gave him the single comb. And though our Mystery Bird, which Farmer Figgins has taken to calling Priscilla, Drag Queen of the Coop,  looks like a combination of 4 breeds, she is in fact a he, and he is an Ameraucana, the mutt of the chicken world.

So, any name suggestions for our colorful rooster? 


  1. We are first time chicken farmers of 6 weeks. we also have a few pullets that are appearing to be Roos' Is there a dead give away... and what do you do now that you have more than one Rooster... I was told that you should always only have one?

    1. The best thing to look at is the comb. If all your chickens are the same breed, the males should have bigger combs than the rest. Ours here threw us off because he has a small "Pea Comb" while we had one rooster that had a much much more prominent, single comb. The second sign is they will grow faster, and their tail feathers will be different. If you have a mix of breeds like us it can get a little less clear, but it gets easier we already can spot the males in our batch of Cornish X chickens.

      We certainly have been happier with just one. Firstly all the attention of those fiesty boys, was leaving a few of our lower pecking order hens a raw spot just above their tail feathers. Our hens were split into two groups one inside by our dominant rooster and a smaller group outside all the time with the less successful rooster. Since getting down to one rooster we have seen none of this and all our chickens run around outside.

      Having 1 rooster is important though. Look for the one that shows the most protective instincts with out being too agressive towards you and work your way down to one slowly!

      As to what to do with the extras, there are a couple options. One use for them is to use them to keep another area bug free (a barn for example). If you're a backyard raiser (very cool for you that are) you can always see if anyone wants them from craigslist.

      We decided to test ourselves and process our first farm to plate meal and we posted a great chicken pot pie recipe that works great for the tougher rooster meat.

      Best of luck to you, and feel free to check us out on facebook