An Update on Dots

Well, here’s a brief update on Double Dots.

His eye is, as you can see, doing much better. We are still treating his eye 3x daily with the Vetericyn spray and ointment. It’s helping. He can hold his eye open so much better. It also does not appear that the eyeball itself is damaged.

That all is the good news.

The bad news is that Dots appears to have PTSD now.

I’ve been giving him supervised visits with the coop and flock. I put in there with them and stay close. Watching.

Philip (aka Leapy) has chased him twice. Gone after him once. He’s run from him both times.

Sylvester, my usually friendly Brahma boy, went after him today in the coop and pulled a feather out.

And when Henrietta, who is usually Dots’ friend, came up to him to say “hi” he literally jumped on top of my shoulder to get away from her.

While sitting on the roost with me observing him, Lola (a sexlink hen) came up to sit next to him. He awkward and quiet.

He did not at all act like himself.

I’ve been visiting Google a lot. Looking up other sites to find out what can be done. I can accept that Philip (and perhaps Sylvester too) have wrestled control of the coop away from Dots. But I wish with all my heart that he can return to the flock when his eye heals without more clashes.

Google says that in most cases, the surrendered rooster will be okay so long as the new Main Rooster does not continue to harass him.

A little integration may help. I’m thinking that if his eye is looking any better by Friday, I may move the med came into the coop to ‘reintroduce’ him to the flock. If the boys can’t go back to something that looks like normal, we maybe have to go to Plan B.

However, after today, I worry about how timid he was with Lola and how afraid of Henrietta he was. It’s definitely PTSD.

And that concerns me, because if he cannot even talk to the girls, how can he live with them?

Also, Plan B… an unprecidented winter Freezer Camp. My DH hates culling in winter. We usually do fall or spring. There’s va good four months to go before we’d consider it again.

So if the Boys don’t find a new normal that includes Dots, we need Plan B.

But who do we send to Freezer Camp?

I like Sylvester. He is a big boy, but has a temperament not unlike Dots. He’s friendly and I can pick him up.

Philip is Pip’s only child. I like him too.

Dots is … Dots. But if he can’t reacclimate to hos ladies, should he be the one to go?

I hate making these decisions. They make my heart hurt.

The Most Heartbreaking Thing

I went down to our coop this morning to do usually morning thing. Feed the chickens, let them out, make sure the dropping boards are clean and the nests are free of poop.

I was surprised however, to see our main rooster, Double Dots, already outside, alone and walking funny. Hunched up. Covered in blood.

At first I think that maybe we forgot to close the coop last night and am suddenly terrified that bloody rooster = dead chickens.

But no, the coop is closed

Dots got locked out. All night, on a night where it was less than 19-degrees (farenheit), with a wicked wind blowing from the north.

There are so many things going on in my head.

1. Was Dots attacked in the night by predator?

2. Why was he outside?

You see? Dot is usually the first rooster in the coop, and he usually dictates who goes inside first.

However, we have a handful of young Roo-lings who were too young in September /October to send to Freezer Camp… and Dots is almost 4 years old. Could it be that he was outside when everyone was inside because there is a dominance war going on? Could someone else be stepping up to wrestle the role of Main Rooster from our Dots?

Dots was injured, his eye and comb pretty beat up. I have him in the dog crate that doubles as a hospital ward / broody breaker. I checked him over, there are no body injuries, just his eye and comb. Cleaned him up with warm water and sprayed his comb Scarlex oil and his eye with Vetericyn spray.

Called Tractor Supply to see if they had eye gel, and learned that green tea works for eye injuries too.

He will need to be separated from his flock until I can be sure his eye will get better. He will need care and patience and a lot of prayers.

I’m trying to practical. If his eye does not get better, he’s not much use to his flock. But this is our Double Dots we’re talking about. If I have to cull, I will be heart broken beyond words.

And .. that leads me to the other thought on my heart

3. Double Dots is one tough roosters. He survived all night, injured and alone. He deserves to pull through this.

Pictures below are heartbreaking.

Troubling Times

Double Dots, my three year old Golden Comet rooster

A couple of weeks ago, a troubling thing happened.

I was standing in the barnyard observing my flock, as I am prone to do. Pavelle had her babies outside and I wanted to get pictures. Also, as I am prone to do.

The chickens were milling around about me, as they are prone to do.

I was holding my phone, paying more attention to Pavelle and her babies than anything else, when sudden my I heard flapping of wings and felt bird feet on the back of my head. A couple of seconds later, my head rooster, Dots, goes flying over top my head and lands on the ground next to me.

He flew at my head.

It was puzzling, to say the least. Was he attacking me? Trying to perch on my shoulder or head?

Needless to say I’ve been a little (a lot) more mindful of where he is in the barnyard when I am down there now.

And then… Yesterday it happened again. I was in the barnyard with my daughter, watching the chickens. She was holding her favorite hen. Dots was behind us on the barn stairs and suddenly starts flapping his wings and launches himself at me. He did not connect this time or get as high off the ground. But my Girl witnessed it and needless to say, we were both shocked.

This is a rooster I have raised from a baby. He usuallyets me pick him up, cuddle him, let him. He comes to the sound of his name. If I sit on the steps, he has been known to come and sit on my lap.

So, I ask myself, “what is going on with my handsome man?” Have I done something? Is he jealous of my attention paid to the younger roosters? Is he confused because I have lost 96 lbs and no longer look like the Mom who raised him?

Or is this a change in hormones or temperament?

He’s three years old, though and in that time, he has never been a bad rooster. He still is letting me pick him up and carrying him. Still likes pets, neck rubs and water massages.

I just don’t know what to make of this. I hope I don’t have to make a hard decision.

And Baby Makes Four

Occasionally when I go to the coop to be with my chickens, I have the opportunity to witness one of my hens laying their eggs.  Such was the case three weeks ago when I witnessed my sweet, inquisitive Maicey laying her egg.

I had a broody hen (Briar Rose) whom I intended to give eggs to that night, so I picked up Maicey’s egg and tucked it away so it would not get mixed in with the other eggs.  So I knew who that egg belonged to.

When I gave Briar her eggs, I labeled them, and Maicey’s egg became known as #1.

Number #1 turned out to be the fourth egg of five to hatch.  (We are still waiting to know the fate of the fifth.)

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It is a tiny little baby, with red downy feathers, a small crested-looking head and, much to my surprise when I picked it up to say “hello” … slightly feathered legs.

For those of you keeping score at home… I have three crested birds.  Pavelle, the little Pavlovskaya, and her two children, Heather and Phillip.

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Phillip, who is Pavelle and Pip’s offspring, is the only rooster I have right now capable of siring a crested (or in this case, partially crested) chick.  He is, himself, a barnyard mix of Pavlovskaya, Rhode Island Red and Golden Comet, which would make this little chick 2-parts RiR, Comet and Pavlov.  With feathered legs like its Auntie Heather. 

I’m excited.  I really am.  Not only is Maicey one of our favorite hens, but this is also Pip’s grand-baby.   You all know how much I love(d) and miss my little Pipsqueak.  And Phillip acts so much like his papa.   I’m so excited!

There is one more egg we’re waiting on to hatch.  I’ll let you all know how it goes in the morning.

 

The First to Come

I went down to the coop this morning and found this little chick peeking out from under Briar.

Isn’t cutie?

She had two mkre as well…

There are two more eggs to hatch and I hope they do. Today is actual Hatch Day so there is still plenty of time for them to join us in the big wide world.

Babies!!!

Day 19 and Briar Rose is anxiously awaiting for the hatch of her first little ones. One egg was pipped this morning before I left for work. I returned at Noon to two pips and the sounds of cheeps.

And also to Ashley sitting on them because she is still trying to borrow Briar’s nest.

So we removed Ashley and gave Briar back her babies… and then put four eggs under Ashley. I’ll talk about that later.

By 4:15 pm … still oy two pips, but they are bigger holes now and this one is almost free. There will be at least one baby by bedtime, I’m sure.

Good luck, Briar Rose and Babies!

Too Many Broodies

The Broody Bug has bitten my flock – big time!

First, there was Pavelle, who went back in March, but thanks to the cold and snow, I was able to convince her that it wasn’t time for babies.

Then, she went broody again, and as we all know now, has three week old babies.

The week Pavelle’s babies hatched, one of my Australorps went broody. All the way broody.

Briar Rose, a two year old Australorp who has never been broody before.

I gave Briar six eggs. When I candled them the first week, all six were developing nicely. Sadly, half way through the second week, one of the eggs was broken in a next squabble.

Five eggs remain, and they are due to hatch this Sunday.

Briar has been a good broody in the same tradition of Abby and the Buff Orps. She has barely left the next for anything since she started this adventure. She also tolerates me petting her (with screeches but no biting) and allows me to lift her up to count eggs and remove ones she has stolen from other nests.

I’m looking forward to seeing how she does with her babies this weekend.

And while Briar was sitting in her babies, another Australorp went broody.

Ashley.

We all remember Ashley, don’t we?

Ashley, who was a decent enough broody, but a questionable momma last time.

Ashley went hard and fast last week while I was working a full time week and no one was watching what she was doing. After the last time, I had decided that it might not be a good idea to give her eggs again, lest she lose those chicks like she did Maxie and her siblings. Last year when she went broody, I was able to put in the dog crate and break her.

This time? She wasn’t caught in time and she’s so deep in it could take a long while to break.

Also, she’s been pushing Briar off her nest in an attempt to have those babies. I have to remove her twice a day, leading to me wonder which hen will be on the nest when the first baby hatches.

I’ve been debating just giving her a handful of eggs and getting it over with, because maybe she’s matured in the last two years?

But then yesterday… This happened…

Amy, a three year old Rhode Island Red who has never been broody before.

Amy is one of the RiRs who go through the motions every spring but never follow through. She’s done it two years in a row but never actually falls broody. She spent most of mid-April walking around in “thinking about it” mode and then stopped. I assumed that was the end of it.

Silly me.

Yesterday, I found her in a box, puffed up and bucky. I guess with Briar and Ashley acting like it’s fun, she went and jumped off the deep end.

So now I have two extra Broodies. I need to come to a decision about Ashley soon, and now Amy as well.

Do I give them both eggs? Or let Ashley chill out in the dog crate for a while? Can I trust her again after last time?  Decisions, decisions.

 

See How We’ve Grown!

On Thursday, Pavelle’s two little chicks will be three weeks old. Last week, she moved them out of the cat carrier nursery where they hatched and into the nests. I know, I know, we’re not supposed to encourage our chickens to sleep in the nests, but YOU explain that to a broody momma with babies to protect. Especially my little attack pineapple. Seriously, it’s much better to just let Pavelle handle her babies in her own way and clean up after them than it is to try and impose my will on her.

Other things to note… I was quite wrong about them not having feathered legs. The bigger of the two, who came from an olive EE-cross egg does, in fact, have feathered legs. Given the overall size of the chick and yellow coloring, I am guessing Sylvester the Buff Brahma to be the father.

They go outside almost every day now. Almost because we’ve had very up and down weather, and on the cooler, rainier days, Pavelle does not stray too far from the coop.

Here are some pictures of them from around the 1 1/2 – 2 week mark. If you look closely at the bigger, non-black chick’s legs, you can see the feathers on the sides.

 

And now here are some pics from over this past weekend.

 

 

Rhode Island Eggers

I wanted to share with you all what the “Rhode Island Eggers” in my flock look like.

Again, these pullets had Rhode Island Red mommas and an Easter Egger father.

This is Nutmeg. Her mother was an RiR hen. Her father was an EE rooster.
She has the look of an RiR, doesn’t she? Body-wise, I mean.
See? From the back, you could hardly distinguish her or her sister Cocoa from the older RiRs.
But those cheeks tell a different story!

And that’s Nutmeg. 😀

She and Cocoa are curious little birds with gentle personalities. A little skittish of humans sometimes but not in the freak-out way my full EE hen Padme is. They approach me for treats held in my hand and listen when I talk to them, but dislike being held.

Broody Hens & Baby Chicks

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So this is my little Pavlovskya-mix hen, Pavelle. You’ll all seen pictures of her before, because she is a very unique little bird.

Back in March, Pavelle went broody, but I refused to let her have eggs then because it was still too cold and snowy for little wee things.  She went broody again last month, and after a few days of watching her, we decided to let her have a couple of eggs.

Which hatched into the cutest little babies…

This one was the first one to hatch, a brown and yellowish chick that came from one of our olive egg layers.

The olive egg layers are all the children of last year’s Easter Eggers, Padme (the hen) and Luke (the ill-fated rooster.  Yes, he did father three little hens and one rooster before we sent him to freezer camp).  Best guess as to which hen supplied the egg?  The size of the egg suggested Iggy (the EE cross Pavelle raised last year) or Cocoa and Nutmeg.  Cocoa and Nutmeg I call my “Rhode Island Eggers” because they are the color of my RiRs and have EE cheeks.  I suspect their bio-moms were RiR with Luke as the father.

It will be interesting to see how this little one feathers out, won’t it?

And this little precious came from a small brown eggs.  I have a lot of smaller brown eggs right now, because all of the chicks from Little Dude’s Hatching Egg project are laying now.   This one, as you can see, is all-black and tiny.

I have only one all-black hen, little Bella, the ‘Mad Scientist’ chick that My Pet Chicken slipped into our order.

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Bella, the Mad Scientist. Which is just another word for some kind of cross. My Pet Chicken couldn’t even tell me what breeds went into making her.

Bella must be the bio/egg mom to the little wee black baby.

As to who sired them?  I have three roosters, and haven’t been around much to see who has been hanging out with whom.  I know what Philip (my little Leapy Boy) and Sylvester both have small followings and they are mostly the younger girls.  But it’s hard to tell right now.  Neither of them have feathered legs, which is possible with both of those two roosters.

And lastly… I will leave you with this…

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The Australorp in this video is Briar Rose. She seems to think she is going broody right now.

I guess it really is spring here on the farm… finally!