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  • Writer's pictureMissy Blankenship

Uh oh

Well, it seems we have run into a bit of a situation. A "that was supposed to be a hen, but is apparently a rooster" type of situation.

We had noticed that "Bertha" seemed to be much larger than the rest, and had developed her comb and wattle sooner. But she was a Tractor Supply purchase, and so we thought that she was probably just older than the others. Well, "she" has started crowing. And a closer look at her saddle feathers also leads us to conclude that "she" is actually a "he." So welcome to the backyard, Big Ben.

This also puts us in the position of having to make some tough decisions. Technically, we're not supposed to have a rooster. But, as our builder told us, it's Wise County, nobody cares (probably). And there are roosters just up the road, so it's not like we're in the middle of a fancy schmancy subdivision. No, to me, as the economist, I'm grappling with the marginal cost/marginal benefit issue. Because in my mind, Bertha/Ben's marginal benefit has now fallen. After all, Ben won't lay eggs. But we have been told by several people that we'll get better eggs if we have a rooster. Better how, I'm not really sure. And therein is a lesson that we have learned along the way - you can eat fertilized eggs. They may be fertilized, but they won't start to develop unless they are under ideal conditions. So we long as we gather the eggs regularly, they won't develop, and we can eat them just like any other eggs. But, as a Buff Orpington, Bertha was supposed to be one of our better producing breeds. So we've lost the egg production, but maybe gained "better" eggs (again, not sure what that means). I think we've decided to hang on to Bertha now Ben for a while and see what happens when the hens start laying. Of course, it's not helping that decision that Bertha now Ben is actually a bit mean. That certainly adds to the marginal cost, if you consider all the pecks.

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