The Real Opal

This is the Opal Imposter. He has been banned to a farm with many hens and a few ducks. I hope he’ll be happy.

On Saturday, Ken G, the friend I shared the chick order with, surprised me with a gift. The Real Opal.

Like her brother, she’s taller and heavier than the other pullets. Her legs are sturdy and yellow – I think she must be Big Bird’s cousin. But, unlike the imposter, The Real Opal is calm and not at all bossy. She doesn’t go gallumping through the flock. She doesn’t charge at the other girls just to see them scatter. She likes Little Blue very much and takes naps next to her.

It’s nice to have all girls, and it’s nice to have this sturdy white Delaware among them.


  1. Well, the real Opal is just beautiful and those pics really make it obvious Opie was a HE. So glad Little Blue has a sitting buddy to pass the days with. Looks like Opal has adjusted from Ken’s to her new home. Welcome !

  2. I know what you mean about having “all girls” …two of the six pullets we purchased this spring turned out to be roosters :(

  3. Lovely. She’s the genuine article. I’m still worrying about a couple of my chicks from our spring order as well. Will wait a bit longer to determine. Best of luck with your gems!

  4. Terry,

    Looking at the two pictures it is so interesting to see the differences. They are both very attractive birds but the first one is clearly a guy and the second a girl. Thanks for showing the differences.

  5. I don’t think you will have to worry about the imposters happiness. I’m not sure it could get any better for him.
    Terry, on the real Opal do her wings sit higher on her body than they should, look different than other hens. The Deleware I got this spring her wings don’t seem to be in the right postion, however, I’ve never had a Deleware before so I’m not sure if it’s correct or not. They just look “off” to me.

    • I checked the APA “Standard of Perfection.” It doesn’t mention that high wing carriage, but it does specify that the bottom of the wing should be horizontal to the ground. Maybe that, with the small size of the wing compared to the huge body of the pullet makes it appear out of whack?

      • Terry that’s exactly how she carries her wings. Perfect description. Glad my Del is “normal”.

  6. I got two columbian Delawares this spring. Lovely birds, gentle dispositions. They seems to have a happy glint in their eyes all the time, and like to play by pretending to be low flying aircraft…at least for a few feet! Mine have near solid black tails and quite a lot of barring on the neck. I think I may get more of this beautiful breed next spring.

  7. What a nice surprise!! I also have a Delaware hen for the first time- she is a BIG girl- currently standing taller than the Buff Brahma!

  8. Yay! You have your Delaware back – in female form. I’m so glad to hear that Little Blue has a friend. Looking forward to a picture of them napping together. :)

  9. Such a lovely little girl! Each time I’ve gotten chicks I wonder and worry that I’ll get a Roo. And just when I thought my biggest and most mature bird with big, bright red wattles and comb might be a Roo – she laid the sweetest, tiniest brown egg! (my four girls hatched Feb 1, and the first eggs arrived last week!) When do you expect your first eggs from the Gems?

    • September! The Welsummer and Barnevelder are supposed to lay dark brown eggs, so I’m looking forward to those.

  10. Thanks to Ken G for letting us all share this beautiful Opal and her friendship with Little Blue.

  11. I note, just like most youngsters, the Gems are outside puttering about in their yard long after the older girls have retired to the roost in their barn. I wonder why the old girls don’t stay outside a bit longer, given that it surely must be cooler outside? Oh, and Opal is lovely. I saw her yesterday with the other pullets and thought, gee, are my eyes deceiving me: white chicken; no fluffy leg feathers, etc.

    • Actually, the bedtime routine is very interesting. Some breeds go to bed earlier than others. Watch the HenCam and you’ll see that Buffy and the leghorns tuck in first. But, the difference in the habits between the two barns has to do with light – the windows are situated facing different directions and the large barn has more of them. It’s much brighter inside, and so the Gems have a later bedtime.

      • I find that the younger the bird, the later they stay up in the evening – Gladys has trouble getting the kids in at night! I wonder if, as they’re more vulnerable to predators, they have slightly better night vision?
        You’ll love your Barnevelder eggs – they tend to be darker and more freckled in the first year of lay. With Welsummer eggs you can rub the brown off if you’re quick at collecting them – use a wet cotton bud and write initials on them!

        • The Gems are all exactly the same age, and yet they go to bed according to breed. I’ve a feeling that if they were harried moms like your Gladys and Babbs that the bedtime order would change!

  12. Ahh she is so pretty. And I am glad that Little Blue has a friend. I see the gems are still young enough that accepting a new pullet is easier than your older hens. I am sure they would have had kittens instead of laying eggs if you brought in a new hen know. As for Opie, at least you ended up with a Delaware rooster instead of a breed that tends to be more anti-social towards humans. And that you found a home for him was double lucky as well, hopefully he will be a rooster that will pay back that luck and the work you have put into him.
    Your friend Kenny G was also quite nice to give you one of his Delawares, though I am sure you are already planning to pay back that favor.

  13. What a great outcome! I’m currently comforting a friend who took her one year old tame rooster to a butcher. She cried so hard, all the people with their truck loads of meat birds tried to comfort her. She now has him in the freezer and has a Julia Childs recipe in mind when the time is right.
    I forwarded this web site so she wouldn’t feel alone.

    • In theory, I have no problem at all sending roosters to the butcher. In real life? I’ve never had to do it and then eat the birds myself. I met Julia Child several times in situations where I could have real conversations with her. Her favorite meal was a simple roast chicken. Your friend’s rooster had a good life and a Child recipe is an end with respect.

  14. I did make a Julia Child roast chicken after watching that movie “Julie and Julia” was delicious..of course the chicken was a nice organic one from the heath store! I do have one roo..he is a barred cochin…He is harmless…He attempts to “mount” the hens that are twice his size and falls off on the other side….very humorous!