We're new to backyard chickens, and we got a little flock of 10 girls plus one extra that always stood out as a little different, so we called it Dude. Since we got them in the mail, we figured the hatchery popped in a roo to keep the pullets warmer during shipping, something that we've repeatedly read can happen.
But is Dude actually a LADY? (Cue the Aerosmith.)
We got them in the second week of April, so these birds are closing in on 6 months of age. Our flock is 3 Buffs, 3 Barred Rocks, 3 Aracaunas (we only ordered 2, so the shipped extra was an Aracauna--that's what Dude is), and 2 ISA Browns (definitely top of the pecking order). Here are the pieces of evidence for and against Dude's sexual identity as a male/female:
1. Dude has always had markings distinct from the two other Aracaunas (Actually an Aracauna-Americauna Strain from Townline Hatcheries). We have always been able to spot "him" from a distance. Dude is a roo?
2. Dude initially dominated the group, but now "he" is way low in the pecking order. There are no (other) roos in the flock. We had 2 groups of meat birds this summer, and there were roos in there, but they're long gone. Dude is a lady?
3. We are getting 8-9 eggs/day from the flock, and every day we get exactly 2 green eggs, which means that 2 Aracaunas are laying and 1 is not. Dude is a roo?
4. Beard. Dude has a distinctive under-beak feathering that really looks like a civil war era beard with sideburns. It's very different than the other two Aracaunas' feathering. Otherwise, comb and wattle development is on par with the two other Aracaunas'. Yep, we're anthropomorphizing here for sure, but...Dude is a roo?
5. We have never heard any crowing from this flock. The meat birds (Freedom Rangers) developed some pretty impressive little roos for the 12 weeks we had them, but we never had a peep from the egg layers, and Dude never seemed particularly threatened by the meat bird roos. Dude is a lady?
Any insight out there? The suspense is killing us!