We left the chooks alone again overnight as the family spent another night up in Sonoma County at Safari West. My folks were in town, and we gave them the whole safari experience (overnight stay in a safari tent and early morning tour) as a 40th anniversary present.
We had a great time up in Sonoma, including stops at some wineries, and wouldn't you know it, I kept seeing chickens in unexpected places. I'm getting the feeling my finding chickens everywhere closely parallels the phenomenon of buying a car and all the sudden noticing the same make and model everywhere you drive. In my case, however, I'm paying a lot closer attention to what adult birds look like and mentally sizing up the maturity gap that Sophia and ZsuZsu must cover before they become "adults."
So on our trip to Sonoma, I saw a handful of roosters, and each rooster sighting made my stomach sink a little further thinking our Sophia is actually a cockerel, not a pullet as I'd thought.
Upon arriving home from our trip, I went out to their crate and let them out so they could again decimate the backyard bug population and watched and listened carefully to Sophia as she led ZsuZsu on their bug-finding zigzag across the yard.
While ZsuZsu emits a stead cheep-cheep as she pecks around, our Sophia sounds a lot more cluck-cluck-ish. Not quite the archetypal cluck of a full-grown chicken, but nowhere near to sounding like the cheep of a young bird. Come to think of it, I haven't heard a cheep out of Sophia in a long while now.
And this morning, as I was drinking my coffee on the deck overlooking the yard, I could've sworn I heard a first attempt at a loud squawk out of Sophia. No, not close to being the cock-a-doodle-doo crowing I'd heard from the roosters in Sonoma, but enough to make my stomach sink again.
Methinks it's time to actually put some energy into planning what to do if Sophia turns out to be a Sean. No roosters in Redwood City, yet no single hens, either.
I'll keep you posted.