The Naming (and sexing) of Poppettes
January 14, 2014 § Leave a comment
As has been stated before, The Naming of Chicks is a Serious Matter. We often start by simply referring to the chicks by their leg-rings, but it does soon give way to actual names of various levels of permanence. Sometimes we give the chick the chance to choose their own name (as with Poppy, Olivia, Adelaide and Charlotte). Other times, it is their flock mates who choose on their behalf (as with Imogen). But the usual method is to just randomly come up with a name from wherever, and see if it sticks.
And so on to Poppy’s Poppettes, who all have names that feel (at least for now) to be a reasonable (if not perfect) fit. Freya and Remy you already know. The next name to be bestowed went to little Yellow (leg-ring). She (and we are pretty certain this one is a girl) was by far the quickest to develop visible wing feathers … so she is Jeannie, for the New Zealand aviatrix, Jean Batten. It wasn’t just the fact that she was a girl who got her wings; this chick is also fairly bold and adventurous, and not afraid of public displays of affection towards the monkeys who have access to mealworms …
On a similar note is our second-named Rhodie. This time it’s Pale Blue, who I am willing to bet an almost unlimited amount of money on being a boy. Like Jeannie, Stanley is an adventurer. (Puzzled? Does it help if I say the first name for this chick – which didn’t quite stick – was Livingston?) Off on his own, quite happily, quite often. If I don’t block the doorway properly when feeding them in the morning, it’s Stanley who is off around the far side of the coop, investigating the wilds of the rose bushes before I can react. And why am I so certain we’re looking at a son from Lola? Easy. He still has bugger-all feathers. And while it’s not an absolute rule, the general thrust is that cockerels feather up more slowly than pullets. And it is not in any way stretching the point to say that Stanley and Jeannie occupy the extreme ends of the (RIR) Poppette Earliness of Feathering spectrum.
The next named is the first of our Dual-option Names. (In other words, a name that can swing either way, depending on what gender said chick turns out to be.) This is the biggest of the Poppy-children; Red leg-ring, currently known as Rose, with an option to be “Ross” instead, if need be. The size suggests cockerel, and this chick isn’t especially well feathered. But the comb is so much finer than the ones I think of as boy that I really do think s/he is a girl. Just a fairly large girl. Time will tell. S/he is one of the quiet ones, although very fond of cuddle-time. (Both Poppy and Lola were always very people-oriented, so that doesn’t help in determining gender. Plus I got both Poppy and Lola’s genders completely wrong for an embarrassingly long time …)
Our final two are on to their second names (the first ones didn’t stick). Purple is known as Julian (option: Julia), although s/he was briefly “Louis” (as in ‘the Sun King’). Like Jeannie, he (and I’m fairly sure it’s a he) has a slightly olive-coloured cere and beak. Which means they both take after Lola, although their colouring is otherwise perfectly typical RIR. The feathering-level is intermediate (which doesn’t help in determining gender), but the comb is maybe a hint on the coarse side, which says ‘boy’. Time will tell.
And our final Poppette bears the Dark Blue leg-ring, and is now known as Indigo (or Inigo). I did try the name “Violet” for a while (ok, a week) on the basis that I hoped the chick was female, and we like Poppy having a couple of flower-name daughters (such as Rose). But I’m not convinced this chic is a girl. Comb development is pretty much intermediate, as is feathering. If I compare him/her to Jeannie, then I think s/he must be a boy. Compared to Stanley, and s/he looks definitely female. So this is one that may go down to the wire.
So that you can have the fun of guessing, we’ve got some photos below showing combs, heads in profile, and feathering. So feel free to compare, and offer your guess in the comments as to what gender you believe each chick will turn out to be. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the one person who can get it right …