Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another well known phrase or saying.

What's this I hear from the hen-house-on-wheels, home to my small and motley flock of poultry? It's a rousing 'cock-a-doodle-doo'. As I open the door the birds come spilling out - and here they are at my feet milling expectantly for pellets and grain. The cockerel struts about in that macho way beloved of the male of the species everywhere. I'm glad he's crowing - it's what cockerels do and it's a real sound of the countryside.

But from the interior of the hen-house-on-wheels his crow is answered by another. What? What's this? I only have one cockerel and he's here, outside.

I investigate. Up on the perch, with head thrown back and throat stretched to the heavens sits the Cuckoo Maran - crowing her heart out. 'Tis flying in the face of nature - a crowing hen - and there I was expecting an egg from her any day now....
'Limp wristed - moi?'
I Google. It's a good place isn't it, the t'internet, for everyman and his dog to put their 'two penneth' in? The wild and wacky, the sane, the scientist and the slap-happy amateur all rub shoulders in a glorious melting pot of idea and opinion. Who knows what my search criteria: 'crowing hen' will throw up.

I'd rather hoped to have found a more rational explanation than 'it's the Devil's work...'

A crowing hen is apparently not an unheard of phenomena - Google throws up over 50,000 references. (Sadly none of them suggest that 'Crowing Hen' was big chief of an obscure Native American tribe.) There are not many scientific explanations either - I'm thinking hormonal here - which might account for 'her' behaviour. (I have already begun to think of her as male.) She's well developed and quite assertive - but that's probably a characteristic of her breed. I'm none the wiser.

It seems that 'A whistling woman and a crowing hen are neither fit for God nor men'. I read with foreboding that a crowing hen might portend misfortune, or worse still, a death in the house. Oooh er....Folk tales are pretty strong magic and on a cold dark evening with long shadows in the corner of the room I feel a little spooked by this. It seems to be a global belief too. I tell myself, bearing in mind there is probably a grain of truth in most maxims, that eons of experience have shown that a hen showing this male characteristic is unlikely to be a good layer and will not be worth her keep. How sensible is that?

I'm going to keep an eye on her. Her vocal outburst may amount to nothing and a deep brown egg will prove she was just a 'tomboy' at heart and this to be a passing phase. In the meantime I've winged an email to my brother ('poultry keeper extraordinaire'), a guru in hen-world, because if he doesn't know the answer I don't know who will. And there's not much point in having an expert in the family if you can't make use of their talents is there?

7 comments:

Nan said...

Our girls make incredible noises all the time, mostly when one is on a nest and another one wants that particular spot. The sound could be called 'crowing.' It certainly is much louder and more aggressive sounding than their usual sweet songs. Fear not.

ChrisH said...

Oo-er! I'm puzzled by hens at the best of time so cannot help you. I'm glad that Nan has a less sinister explanation than some you've found on the net!

lampworkbeader said...

I had that 'Whistling woman/ crowing hen' proverb quoted at me quite often by my father. Never one for the liberation of women theat man.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Cerikey - maybe she is of the if you can't beat em join em ilk - ie noisy male birds.

You should contact your local tV station they might be interested in a hen that crows . . . think of the fame and the fortune . . .

elizabethm said...

You had me a bit spooked there too! We haven't had any crowing hens but I would love to know the answer when your brother reports back!

snailbeachshepherdess said...

A whistling woman and a crowing hen will get owd Jack (the Devil) out of his den.
I never believed that it could happen until I heard one of ours doing it.

Nikki-ann said...

Can't help you with the crowing hen, I'm afraid. I'm interested to known why she's doing it though... Maybe she's just a tomboy as you said!