Trust me

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

Mom and I are so grateful for your kind messages and words of encouragement regarding Roxie and her recent medical procedure. We just wanted to take a minute to thank you and bring you a quick update on how she is doing. It turns out, she is indeed, at present, a rooster.

Picking up where we left off, on Thursday Charlie and I took Roxie on her first road trip to Fairfax, Virginia, to the office of a highly specialized avian vet who confirmed what Google and common sense had already tried to tell us: our crowing chicken is, in fact, male.

I told Charlie I wouldn't use this picture.
Songs she sings along to

And since we weren't terribly surprised by this news, we were ready with a plan and had the vet insert a Deslorelin implant in her. It was quick, safe, and pain-free. Roxie was briefly sedated, we went to Starbucks, and by the time we got back with our lattes, she was ready to go. Hardly felt a thing, any of us.

In case you’re unfamiliar with how it works, a Deslorelin implant (NOT pronounced "DeLorean, like the car," I keep being reminded) is inserted under the skin of a bird’s back where over time it slowly releases hormones that reduce sexually–motivated behaviors, including crowing. In a way, it’s a like a cross between an IUD and the pill, but for roosters. This was the part of the explanation when Bruce looked at me like I had just taken the chicken to a gynecologist.

“No,” I told him, “it’s a highly specialized veterinary procedure.” Which of course prompted his favorite question, “How much did that cost??”

“SO much less than neutering her, which was our only other option.”

“I’m not sure it was the only other option,” his look said.

“$4000 less, by the way. I literally just saved us $4000!”

“Does it work?” he asked.

Definitely in ferrets.”

He said nothing, just stared at me, amazed. I can’t blame him. $4000 is a great savings.

You're welcome.

So the morning after the procedure, when I was awakened by the sound of Roxie's crow, which actually sounds more like a donkey’s bray, I sprang out of bed, ran to the coop, and scooped her into my arms. “Roxie, please,” I whispered into her tiny earlobe with an inappropriate amount of personal agenda inserted, “I’ve got a lot on the line here!”

But she did it again, and then again. So I proceeded to do what any one of us would do, and walked her around the garden in my arms for the next hour, rocking and singing to her like you would a fussy baby. Occasionally I put her down and let her walk and forage with her sisters, which she enjoyed. Every time she started to bray, I crouched down to her eye level, stroked her back and tummy, and repeated, “Quiet time, quiet time,” which I'm certain she totally understood.

About 45 minutes into this, the back door opened and closed, and I heard the dignified sound of men's oxfords walking across the deck. Dressed in a suit like a normal person about to enter the real world, Bruce handed me a cup of coffee and said, “You know, it's funny, I thought I heard a rooster out here!”

I took it with my free hand and let Roxie peck it with her beak. “It was probably a donkey,” I told him. “I think someone has a donkey.”

Her posture just before she brays

The DeLorean implant, for the record, takes about 6 weeks to start working in dogs, and between 5-14 weeks in ferrets. On the subject of roosters, there has been considerably less research, which is why I'm asking people to just roll with me on this one and not overthink it.

My plan during the transition is to wake early, let the other girls out in the yard to free range, and use that time to bond with her in the laundry room. We tried it this morning and it works splendidly! I get a jump start on washing and folding, and she gets to make whatever kind of animal sounds she wants. Everyone wins!

Roxie's new favorite perch

As for Bruce, he seems to be adjusting well. In less than a week he's transformed from "We cannot have a rooster" to the "No roosters in the house" stage, and is right on schedule to enter the "Come on in, have you met our chicken-in-transition?" stage. I'd call that progress. He still looks at me funny, but I'm pretty sure it's just because he has no idea how to thank me.

So that's the Day 4 Post-Op Update. Mom just arrived to go over a few items of business and pack some boxes, so I had better wrap this up. I don't say it enough, but I really do appreciate her willingness to share office space with livestock. We've got some great new "Party Grab Bags" for graduates up on the website, so check them out if you're local and want to pick up a fun gift on your way to a party. More updates to come- on both party bags and Roxie's transition. Thanks again for all the well-wishes. Your support during this time means the world to her and she asked me to tell you that.

Have a splendid week, friends!


Roxie looking over the Party Bag ideas