Tag Archives: young roosters

Close call for Stewie

The rooster formerly designated as “Stew” got a reprieve today.   Jack the Jerk went in the pot, and is missed by absolutely no one.  He was just a menace whose mission in life was to disturb the peace.  GH world is much happier now.But Stew was also scheduled for demise due to bad behavior.  We wrangled him up, but I couldn’t pull  the trigger on him because I have a soft heart and he doesn’t know any better.  He’s young.  He had bad role models.believe he had a bit of an attitude adjustment, too, after a protracted period of being hung by the feet while his future was under debate.  I cried.  He watched, passive, one alert eye watching the discussion. It’s hard.  One strong rooster who is aggressive ruins the atmosphere for everyone else.  The hens are on edge, the other roosters are looking over their shoulder.  Roosters have a role – a very important role in a free-range flock that I always advocate for – roos are on constant lookout for threats, they “herd” and keep track of all the ladies, and they announce food discoveries.   Good strong roosters who do these things are priceless.  But when a rooster doesn’t do these things, he’s a liability.

Amazingly, he’s not afraid of me, even though I helped catch him hours earlier. Anthropomorphizing is a fine line, but animals often act “as if” they know quite a lot more than they are generally assumed to.

In the end, I decided I’d do the work of putting him on Kijiji and rehoming him, because he’s very good-looking and still might do very well elsewhere.  So he was returned to the GH, and by all appearances, is much subdued and has a new perspective after his near-death experience.   We’ll see if he sleeps that off.

The Poultry Palace is palpably more peaceful now.

Since I don’t eat them, and don’t think of them as meat, or a farm product, birds here get to live long good lives, and get executed only as a greater-good calculation.  Farm animal death ethics is something I mean to write more about.  Not today.  Today, I feel good about Jack being gone, and also good about a second chance for Stewie.

Dispatches from Silkieland

from Oct 17

Look at those feet!

Look at those little wings!img_4515 img_4514

Look at mama looking back.  What’s taking so long?

img_4506This mama has ideas.  At night I put them all in the box for the night.  In the morning she lets herself out to graze.  The chicks know where she is, but all frustrated.

Seven chicks survive.  She hatched an amazing, record setting nine, but two didn’t make it.  It’s almost normal for one chick to die every setting.

Chick death by hanging from the mother’s underfluff is a very real risk, as bizarre as I thought it was the first time.   I saved three chicks from this hatch from hanging.  I found two at once being dragged around by the neck.  What a fate.  Her underfeathers were glued together at the ends, poop no doubt, and chicks had their heads stuck in the loop, probably from burrowing under her.  I saved them, phew!, pulling the feathers apart, and feeling for other knots.     I suppose the solution would be combing their bellies shortly after hatching.  You first.

It’s a bit like 101 Dalmatians around here now.  Chicks everywhere.  In the greenhouse, in the chickeries – I’ve lost track of how many sets there were this summer.  Some hens went broody twice.  There are a lot of chicks scampering around.

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The last remaining greenhouse setter is good as gold in her broody box, but she loves breakfast.  She eats nearly her whole bowl of food every day, and she goes at it enthusiastically the moment it’s given (as opposed to other broodies, who eat a bowl of food every week or two, and pretend they don’t care about food when you put it in with them).

Outside, it’s cooling off.  The birds come tumbling down the ramp every morning, and then, ugggh!, halt on the ramp to hunch their shoulders and fluff out.  Sometimes they just go back inside. Not ready to greet this day. 

There are two ways to identify roosters.  1) Even very small, they start beefing with the other baby cocks.  They lower their heads and stick their necks out, then stand up really tall on their toes, beak to beak.  If that doesn’t settle it, there’s some chest bumping.   2) Baby cocks hero-worship the rooster.  I’m gonna be just like you someday!  They are first to arrive when he does his food clucks, and they tag along with him, everywhere.

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I came home to Snowball out of the Silkie paddock, who knows how or why, and whaddya know, Wannabe Jr. is out there with him.  Note unflappable (harharhar) white hen looking on.