When we purchased our 8 pullets to get back in the chicken business (really the family egg business) this year, we paid extra to ensure they were "sexed" - poked and prodded or whatever they do to determine chicken gender. Pullets should be all laying hens, as in no boys allowed.
Imagine our surprise when one of the "girls" grew a comb, wattles, upright tail feathers, and grew faster and larger than the others, and then, of course, began to crow. Oops. Well, now we have a rooster. He's friendly so far and seems protective - he is the first one out of the coop and he stands guard while the ladies eat.
We lost one chick soon after we moved them from the safety of the indoor holding area to the outdoor fully enclosed chicken coop with attached yard. Snakes will find their way into anything and sure enough, a young chicken was constricted and eaten up to its "shoulders" at which point Jake the snake realized he could not consume the broader part of a young chicken. This, with the gender identity issue, put us at 6 laying hens, just about enough to keep us in fresh eggs.
Their favorite garden surplus item so far? Cantaloupe!