I’m sure everyone wants to know what the chicken election results will be. There’s been no clear top hen since Paris left. But first, we need to catch up on the rest of the chicken situation.
The Teenager Department
All Winston Cheepers’ first sons from the teenage batch that hatched in winter were culled. Because egg laying was just picking up again at the time, most of that batch were out of Jenny Cheeply. She is Frodo’s daughter, who carries some red feather genetics. Unfortunately, while Jenny Cheeply doesn’t have any red feathers, most of her sons had red feathers coming through on their necks. None of her daughters do. I am considering giving up on the Frodo line, but will keep trying for a bit with Helen Cluck and the best of her and Jenny Cheeply’s daughters. The chicks aren’t old enough yet to tell if they’ll have red feathers.
Aside from Jenny Cheeply’s offspring, there were three other teenagers, a Morpheus girl, who is still with us, a Trinity boy, who got sick and was culled and one boy who was from either Morpheus or Trinity who’s leg tag annoyingly fell off, so he got mixed up with Jenny Cheeply’s. Thus he was in the culled bunch. Winston Cheepers has no successors or back-ups yet. The next oldest boys are the 7-week-old chicks.
Without enough non-Frodo line boys, I cannot yet tell whether the Winston Cheepers/Chippee Hackee line was compromised with red feathers. On the other side, Jacinda and Jemima, who are daughters of Duchess, are looking beautiful with no sign of red feathers. I haven’t bred them this season because they weren’t old enough when Todd was breeding and I don’t want to breed them to Winston Cheepers unless I know he’s in the clear.
I have been looking back at chicken photos though, and I’m starting to wonder if either of Duchess or Chippee Hackee were compromised after all. It all hinged on one of their sons who developed red feathers. The possibility that I didn’t explore was human error. My error. I’m wondering if I stuffed up during egg collecting, labelling or chick tagging. That one boy could have been the son of Frodo, as he did have some facial features reminiscent of Frodo. That would be the best scenario, meaning I hadn’t stuffed up the Chippee Hackee and Duchess lines after all. Still, I patiently, PATIENTLY wait.
I have observed that any lingering red neck feathers usually come through on cockerels by 12 weeks of age. In five or six weeks I ought to know whether Winston Cheepers and his line, plus his sister Ninja, are in the clear or not, since we have boys from untainted mothers to judge.
But what about the chickens’ election? Well, all of these goings-on: broodiness, movements of mothers and chicks and young ‘uns growing up, caused more delays in the election. But those hens sure are still campaigning for top spot. I have to admit, I really thought Tiggywinkle was a shoo-in for top hen spot, but you just never know what’s going to happen in an election. I was surprised to find Tiggywinkle and Jemima having a decent fight one day. Fighting within the party ranks! Jemima has always been second fiddle to Tiggywinkle, but apparently she’s not taking things lying down anymore. I’ve also seen matriarch Frodo throwing her weight around, when she’s not broody.
A further surprise was when I saw Morpheus win a food fight over Tiggywinkle one day. She defended her pile of greens and Tiggywinkle backed off. What was that about?! When Morpheus is broody she’s feisty. Everyone avoids her when she goes all puffer fish. But she is no longer broody or looking after her chicks. It looks like some of her broody clout may have carried over into general clout. Interesting. And Trinity, well, she still likes to stand on top of high things and look down upon everyone. But then she goes broody and loses momentum.
There’s another game of broody tag-team going on at present with Ribby, Frodo, Trinity and Helen Cluck. Helen Cluck is probably never going to aspire to greatness because she’s too busy thinking about going broody again. Same thing with Ribby, plus Ribby is too sweet to be the boss.
Winston Cheepers is so busy keeping everyone in line that he hasn’t had much chance to update his opinions on who he wants to work with. Tiggywinkle, at least, has been trying to resist his leadership. Can Winston Cheepers handle all these headstrong ladies? He might be wishing for a deputy soon.
In closing, the election cannot take place until Jenny Cheeply is back from motherly duties. Because I know she’s got something to say about the proceedings. In about two weeks, we ought to find out the election results.