First, I'm sad to report that the wee Ms. Judy Garland (one of the lavender orpingtons) died this week. I believe she was afflicted with the same thing Ms. Fiona Apple had. Google research reveals there is a chicken disease called RSS (runting-stunting syndrome). If I understand correctly (and most of the articles I read are geared towards more industrial chicken farmers, so I may be understanding it or I may not) it's a suspected genetic disease that interferes with the absorption of nutrients. Basically, the chick's hatch-mates get bigger, but the afflicted chick quits growing. The day before Judy died she could walk underneath every other chick in the flock. (If not for the fact that I knew it meant that something was seriously wrong with her, it may have been sweet--rather than picking on her, the other birds were oddly protective.)
But, everyone else is doing wonderfully, so that's good. Everyone is also getting close to feathered out, and my goal is to start increasing their outside time around Memorial Day if the darn weather would just cooperate and get warm.
And, of course, the games of "Who Can Pick the Roosters" continue between Sweet Husband and I.
For my money, if Joni Mitchell (the other lavender orpington) is not a roo, I'll run naked down Mass Street (the main drag in Lawrence) stretch marks and all. Both Sweet Husband and I are so disappointed about that--with the loss of Judy, it's looking like we're just going to have to try the lavenders again next year.
Based on behavior alone, I still also suspect Florence (one of the Marans) too. Every time the other chicks cluster at the feeder she runs straight at them like a bowling ball. They all scatter like pins, and then reconvene at the other feeder--which is a safe distance away--and glare at her. If this behavior continues, I fear that, rooster or not, Flo may not be long for the world. Even if the little guys put up with her bullying, I can't imagine that my big girls won't very quickly let her know that she's not queen of the coop!
The jury is still out on Etta. I can't decide if she's a roo, or if she just has an absolutely sparkling personality.
I so hope it's just personality though! That's her front and center there--have you ever seen such an interesting looking bird? And so inquisitive too! Truly, she's vying with Tori for the title of "Meryl's Favorite Chicken". I don't care if our little "franken-chicken" never lays an egg--as long as she doesn't start crowing, she'll have the longest, happiest life in chicken-dom.