Well, I guess he was just a late bloomer, the crowing has begun! He is the sweetest rooster I've ever met, once caught he just let's us do whatever's needed. We fitted the DIY no-crow collar, it's taking a bit to get the adjustment right. Somewhere between quiet enough to stay and strangulation. I figure a couple days will tell whether we can muffle his song enough. He is a beautiful boy! I do wish we were out where it didn't matter, I personally like the crowing. When the sun hits him, he is just stunning.
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Thank you to everyone! We were hoping for six hens, but this one is much larger with beautiful tapered feathering at hackles and saddle, slight spur buds and very elegant carriage. I've decided he can stay as long as he doesn't crow, may try the collar otherwise he'll have to join my mothers girl in the country. He is a beautiful specimen.
The last batch of birds we hatched from purchased hatching eggs and we had eggs at 5 months and put the cockerels in the freezer. So we know the waiting is worth it. I was happy with the Australorpes last time, but wanted try some reds. The New Hampshires are my favorite right now, there's just something old fashion and homey about them. This batch is from a different source, they seem stronger and more defect free, so we'll see. If the mute rooster stays that way I may use the incubator again. Time will tell!
Just a little update, Ferdinand (from the story, Ferdinand The Bull). started practicing HIS crow. I was pretty sure of the gender, as he looks like a picture book example of a RIR rooster. I fashioned a no-crow collar and almost couldn't stand putting it on him. Twenty minutes of diving backwards and he was done fighting. He sounds like a broken ahooga horn, really not loud. Some days he only crows a few times, but if he feels the ladies are under threat he can go on for a looooooooong time.
So far he has been a perfect gentleman with his ladies, no feather pulling or aggressiveness. Though he's the head (only) rooster, the girls still tell him what to do.
The girls are coming on line. I thought the eggs were small, as expected for pullets, but they are running between 55 and 62 grams. Oh! am I happy to be through with the store bought eggs!