Thursday, September 3, 2015
Chicken Adventures - Chickens are Racist and Other Enlightenments
I haven't given a chicken update in a few days so I thought I would schedule one for tonight. As you may or may not remember we left off at the point that the two roosters were over using the hens badly. Out of the 13 hens I thought I had procured only six of them appear to actually be laying and of sufficient chicken breeding age, at least to the point that the roosters see them as fair game. This caused some real issues and was damaging the poor six over worked girls.
On top of this I was trying and failing to find a few more hens within a reasonable distance to attempt to take some pressure off the six. The two roosters were also becoming not only pissy with each other one of them, Bullwinkle (Top right) was actually holding the breeding hens prisoner in the coop.
Something had to give.
Saturday evening I had enough and kicked the roosters out of the coop. What I really wanted to do was just send Bullwinkle to freezer camp but Mrs. PP and my Mother would not hear of it. They tried to find him a home and kept failing so the hens have been locked up away from the roosters all week.
This was NOT my plan for chickens. I wanted a nice tranquil flock that would run around eating bugs and digging in the barn to loosen up all the crap I pull out of it by the truckload. The eggs are nice too I might mention.
Locking up the hens made them start laying eggs again although with only six layers (and four of those old hens) I was only getting one or two a day. Still more than we need actually. I was still unable to find more hens to buy and the roosters were beginning to fight each other when they were near the coop.
Bullwinkle pretty much never left the coop door. He stationed himself by it and wanted in. Rocky on the other hand would leave occasionally and overall seemed less obsessed with the hens but when he did go to check on them Bullwinkle would get pissy and kinda challenge him.
So today I found another eight hens I can go pick up Friday. This would bring us up to 21 hens and the 2 roosters. However I have one hen secluded in the dog crate because she was acting sick or almost dead and the other hens were pecking her head and I need to add another roosting bar if I was going to bring in more hens. The hens were also getting real tired of being cooped up.
I tried letting the hens out and the same old scenario played out. Bullwinkle charged in going for his preferred red hens and Rocky would try and cut him off and they would both end up almost killing the poor hen.
I didn't have time for this crap today as I had hay to bale. All the hens were out of the coop enjoying themselves as long as the roosters left them alone so I locked up the two roosters and left the hens out.
I should add that I did see an interesting display from Rocky before I locked him up. The four Barred Rock hens that the roosters generally take no interest in were together as they always are. I have noticed these hens stay with their own breed more than anything else so I think they are racist or breedist as the case maybe. Rocky went over to them and began making soft clucking sounds and then actually lead them out of the chicken area and into the main barn section. I haven't been able to get any of the hens except Littlebit to leave the immediate coop area yet but Rocky actually got them out there.
Rocky's value went up a little more at that.
So when I got finished mowing and baling and evening as coming on I decided to open the coop door and let the hens back in to roost. Rocky and Bullwinkle came charging out and just about killed one of the little red hens again.
That was the last straw. Bullwinkle met his maker at the end of my pellet rifle. I made sure Rocky saw me do it too. Rocky immediately jumped on the corpse and started acting like he was the victor of some fight too. I pushed him off and showed him who the victor was and let him know if he doesn't change his ways he was next. I then evicted him from the coop fr the night too.
So we now have one rooster and he better play nice too. I am going on the assumption now that Rocky was only being mean because there was some conflict between the two roosters and just maybe Rocky will now settle down and take on the role he is suppose to and be nicer to these poor hens. Of the two rooster Rocky didn't bother to try and court any hens but he also didn't seem to be totally obsessed with them either and hold them prisoner. I am really hoping to get some Barred Rock chicks out of him and the four Barred Rock hens next year so I am giving Rocky a little probabtion period.
As for the other old hen I have isolated I don't know what is going on with her. She seems like she maybe egg bound or something. She was very lethargic and the other hens pick on her mercilessly. At first I thought she was just a victim of the roosters but now I think she is ill and was a victim of the hens. She seems perfectly happy to stay in her crate though and will eat and drink and be awake when I go check on her. If I let her out she goes to a corner and lays down and the other hens go by and peck her. She won't actually come out on her own either. Maybe she is just old as the guy who gave her to me told me she was ready for culling. Rocky however seems generally worried about her and goes and checks on her frequently.
So this is where we stand now. I have eight more hens coming in Friday morning and Rocky is on probation. I don't have time to deal with constant chicken drama right now and I am not going to wait on sentimental foot dragging anymore either. If Rocky doesn't shape up fast he will be joining Bullwinkle.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!