Tag / rehoming rooster

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Saying Goodbye

Well, sometimes the best laid plans can change.

After I finished posting yesterday, my friend with the farm called and asked when I was going to bring my chickens over!  Her ears must have been ringing!  She also asked about Chocolate and if I was ready to bring him too.

 

Past Winter, reminding Chocolate who is boss by cradling him on his back.

I went through the motions almost trying to numb the reality that today was going to be the day that Chocolate would be rehomed.  Chocolate became very symbolic to me.  He helped me advocate with the town to allow individuals to keep backyard roosters.  He graces the cover on the Agricultural Commission brochure that I helped to create.  He also served his flock well, protecting and warning his girls from danger.  He is the father of our first brood.

I caught him and gave him the most love that I could.  As tough as it was, I placed him in the box.  I also decided that Meesha our little Silkie girl who has been broody for over 2 months was going to need a change of environment if she was going to survive.  Sitting in the nesting box had made her very thin.  As much as I could, I intervened but it was just not enough to break her broody spell.  Next, I took all of the chicks from the brooder except for one of Dolly and Chocolate’s chicks and Dottie Speckles.  I placed them in another box.

We drove over to the farm and the little Silkie Chicks went right into the run with my friend’s twenty or so baby silkies of mixed ages.  Soon they blended in so well and seemed so happy that they were no longer decipherable.  They were happy.  Next Chocolate and Meesha were placed in their very own cage.  I had done it.  Chocolate could no longer try and harm my daughter.  Meesha would be nursed back to health and the babies were now in a large chicken daycare waiting to find new homes.

Later that evening, Dottie Speckles and our little Silkie newly named Fifi joined the larger flock under the cover of the night.  I placed them in the nesting box with Dolly.

Photo Credit:  GLC

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Chocolate’s Silver Lining

I called my friend who lives locally over in Cotuit.  She has a lovely farm with a menagerie of animals.  She is involved in so many wonderful organizations and she always goes above and beyond to assist animals in need.  Most recently, she has decided to raise Silkie Bantams.  The other day we were visiting and she showed my daughter her incubator and about 10 newly hatched Silkie chicks.

When I picked up the phone to call her, first day of school butterflies were fluttering about my stomach.  I had not felt this way in years!  As I waited for her to answer, my mind was bombarded.  How could I ask a friend to “take care” of my rooster?  I guess I felt badly not knowing entirely what went on between my daughter and Chocolate.  Did he give her just a warning peck that startled her or was it something more?  At some point in his future, Chocolate would most likely need to be culled if he continued on his aggressive path.  I surely could not do it; especially because I love him so. On the other hand, farmers consider their animals livestock and view their animals differently from pets.  I could not take another chance with Chocolate being aggressive toward the children.  The risks are too great.

I expressed all of my concerns.  With much patience and understanding she listened.  Then she said, “He can come live with me on the farm”.  I was so shocked.  I asked her if she was going to cull him and she said no.  “He is too beautiful, plus he is docile and gentle.  He was most likely doing his job, letting her know that those were his girls.”  My heart was overjoyed.  My eyes welled up with tears.  Chocolate’s life would continue on the farm with her Silkie Bantams.

She only asked one thing of me.  As Dolly is broody, she wanted me to let her try and have a set of chicks.  I agreed.  Yesterday, three silkies laid eggs.  Dolly had them all nestled under her breast.  I quickly removed them and penciled a number on each egg.  With each Silkie egg laid, I will place it underneath Dolly until the total reaches around 10.  Numbering the eggs will help me keep track of the eggs.  If all goes according to nature’s plan, we should have baby chicks in about 21 days.

Instead of losing the life of Chocolate, my beloved rooster, we will be creating new ones. At times like these, I am grateful for fellow chicken owners.  This journey’s rain cloud has a brilliant silver lining after all.

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Numbered Days

Yesterday’s weather was a Spring teaser.  Temperatures were in the mid-50s and the sun was shining.  In late afternoon, I decided to let the flock free-range.  They were so happy.  Chocolate was especially feeling good.  He was definitely the one in charge dictating each new destination in the yard to the girls.  He was also spoiling them with each new treat he found, generously giving them to each of his girls.

My almost 4 year old daughter was out there with me as well.  She loves to visit each chicken, say hello and stroke their heads and backs.  The chickens enjoy her company too.  To be completely honest, I was a little nervous about having her out there with Chocolate, but I was there.  I gave her a quick reminder on rooster etiquette and closely monitored their interactions.  I was never more than 5 feet away from her at any time.  Chocolate usually loves her holding him and showering him with affections.  For the most part, the chickens that like her best are Chocolate and Feathers.

Standing there, I noticed that the waterer was dirty.  I took it out of the coop and tilted the waterer to the side; refreshing the water.  All of a sudden, I heard my daughter scream.  I literally looked away for about 15 seconds and Chocolate decided to give her a warning.  He seized the small crack in the window of opportunity.  I quickly grabbed my daughter and tried to figure out what had happened.  She was shaken and said that Chocolate had pecked her on the knee.  I saw no marks.  Once she was consoled, I walked over, picked up Chocolate and returned him to the closed coop and run. 

I decided in my heart of heart I needed to act sooner than later.  I could never forgive myself if something that I can prevent from happening indeed happens.  I called a local friend with a farm.

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

The Inevitable

When is a rooster mean?  I am not sure that it is entirely easy to draw a line in black and white.  How much does nature and hormones play in their actions?  Can a rooster suddenly turn mean?

I guess I have been thinking about these things lately because Chocolate, for better or worse, is starting to really get more aggressive over these past two weeks.  I can still grab him and hold him. He sits quietly and seems to enjoy my affection.  However, he is really becoming very territorial with his girls.

I can say that all the girls respect me.  They understand that I am the human leader of the flock.  They are curious to see me, giddy almost, and the conversations that ensue as I make my way over to the coop are priceless.  On the other hand, Chocolate does not appear to be so thrilled.

About a week ago, I was going into the nesting boxes to collect the eggs.  All of a sudden Chocolate came storming into the coop.  He had has wings extended outward and fire in his eyes.  I felt like I was going to be dealt with by the rooster.  I was entering his house.  I narrowly escaped his fury by quickly closing the nesting box.

These past few weeks, he has been asserting his dominance with me; dancing his rooster dance trying to let me know that he is the boss.  I was truly nervous when I had to go into the run myself.  I thought that if I bent over for a second, he would surely have his rooster feet implanted into my backside.  His need for humpty love is becoming insatiable. I feel bad for the girls. Finally, today as I was retrieving the waterers for cleaning and refilling, I was pecked. 

My heart is heavy.  Chocolate is just being a rooster.  In my heart of hearts, I feel as if we may have to rehome him soon.  I know that his fate may not be nice and that saddens me.  I am still dealing emotionally with rehoming Peanut. I would love for Chocolate to live a long full life.  Unfortunately, it does not come easy for me.  I am not a farmer.  These chickens are our pets.

I have to come to terms with the reality of the issue at hand.  I think it is now safe to say that I’m pretty sure the answer is not if the time comes, but when.