This morning started like any other... the sky had just started getting light when I woke up the first time. I could here the girls out in their coop making their usual morning clucking sounds as they stretched their legs while pacing their run. Content that all was okay with the world, I drifted back asleep again for what must have been a half hour or so before being woken up by what I can only describe as a distressed squawk from one of the girls.
"Ah HA!" I thought, "this must be the sound they make just after laying an egg." As I lay in bed thinking what I'd do with this fresh egg, there was another squawk, followed shortly by a third, sounding more distressed than the first.
I jumped out of bed and ran to the window to see what was going on. I could see one chicken in the run (ZsuZsu?), and I could make out the shape of another inside the Eglu (Sophia?), so why the alarm?
Then I saw ZsuZsu stand on tippy toe (or whatever the chicken equivalent is), extend her neck toward the sky and belt out a horrendous (kwaaaaaaaah!) as she extended her head out and back.
What the heck?
Then she did it again so I was sure I hadn't imagined the first one before settling down and starting to pace the run again. Sophia emerged from the Eglu and joined her pacing the perimeter and I decided it was time to go investigate.
There was nothing wrong inside or outside the Eglu or run, and no egg in the nesting box, so what had I just seen?
Could it be this wonderful run of eggs (three days with, three days without, then another eight days with) has been thanks to just one hen while I've had a rooster in the coop with her?
Has all my confidence we've got two hens been misplaced? And all this time I'd feared Sophia was the cockerel when instead she was indeed the pullet? Oh the horrors.
Now, what ZsuZsu did this morning sounded in no way like a prototypical cock-a-doodle-do, but maybe she's working her way to a multisyllabic crow, starting with the initial kaaa?
So maybe I've just seen my hen crow? While ZsuZsu and Sophia aren't the same body type, they're close enough that I think ZsuZsu's just a little lighter because Sophia's the dominant one and therefore eats more.
Digging around the web via Google led me to this spirited discussion from 2005 on iVillage GardenWeb debating do dominant hens crow? And it would seem they couldn't agree. I'm heartened by seeing so many folks attesting to their dominant hens crowing, but I'm discouraged by just as many others asserting that hens never crow, ever.
Any other backyard chicken farmers out there experienced your hens making a crowing type sound? Linda? Laura? Granny Annie? Brad?
In the meantime, I'll keep hoping for a double-egg day to further allay my fears there's a rooster in my hen house.