Mysteries of the Universe

As we approach this Christmas season I ponder many deep things… like the nature of faith and the blessings of family.  But sometimes I ponder the shallow things too, like “why does this happen on my farm?”

Here are a few of the unimportant mysteries that I have not been able to clear up.  If someone out there has a clue…please share!

1.  I have raised chickens for 20 years now, and for the first time I have one with this feather like I’ve never seen before. See the dangly white feather on his back side. It looks like a cat toy attached there.  What’s up with that?

Here is a stock photo from Murray McMurray Hatchery which clearly shows what the rooster should look like.  Notice, no cat toy suspended from back side.


2. When lambs are born this is what the lovely scene *usually* looks like:

So they may be a little dirty in some of their nooks and crannies but I think we can all agree that they are white.  In my current flock I have all white sheep.  Genetically speaking there is a nearly 100% chance that the offspring will be white.  (There is a tiny chance of a mutation that will create a black sheep, which I believe is where black sheep came from originally, but this possibility is remote).  OK, so it is pretty SAFE to expect white lambs, and MAYBE once in a lifetime a black one will show up………  but orange?

Alright, they weren’t really born permanently orange sheep.  But there is some mighty powerful orange goop on them, that refused to be rubbed off.  It gradually faded over a few weeks and then was gone.  But what WAS it??  The mother had lambed before and those babies were white from the beginning.  Again, nearly two decades of watching ewes give birth and this was a first.   Even with the vast internet I could not solve this mystery!

(photo: the umbilical cords are still attached… they were just born)
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5 Responses to Mysteries of the Universe

  1. Debbie says:

    Red headed, or um, furred, (not so step) children? 🙂

  2. Glory Lennon says:

    Mutations happen all the time so that ‘cat toy” tale must be that. The orange goop? That is a weird one. Maybe the mom sheep eat something ‘funny’? Or maybe God just wants to keep you on your toes, you know, keep you from boredom….I’d go with that one! 🙂 PS- Love the snowy effect on the blog! Pretty.

    • Julie Helms says:

      I forgot to say that when the rooster was roosting up and high and with his back to me (he isn’t very friendly) that I gently tugged on that feather because I was sure it was a loose feather that just got hung up on its way out. Well, it was FIRMLY attached!

      re:sheep goop. I too wondered if she ate something strange, but this picture is in winter before anything was growing–and all the sheep are on the same feed and hay. And you are completely right about God!

  3. Sue Martin says:

    My two free-range roosters grow that long tail feather, too, sporadically. But I haven’t seen it on any of my more confined roosters. They are two different breeds. The black rooster usually gets a longer feather than the white and red mixed rooster. The mixed color rooster is dominant, so I don’t think it has to do with dominance. I just thought it might be a latent gene from the various jungle cocks that have those long tail feathers. Whatever, it’s beautiful, and when they fall out I keep them when I find them.
    I have some bantam roosters and some blue-laced red Wyandotte roosters that I’d like to sell, if you’re interested.

    • Julie Helms says:

      I noticed, too, that it grew very fast. If you look at my post “meet the (other) flock: White Orpingtons” there is a picture of the same rooster a month earlier– and there is no overly-long feather there. So in about a month it grew 4 or 5 inches!

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