Here everyone, have a laugh. So as most of you all know by now I have been raising chickens for the past eight months or so. I have documented my rookie mistakes as a frontier girl and shared my goofs with you all. Today, I have a sad story turned happy, and I’d like to share it with you.
As it always goes, you give the bad news first. Right? Well, I had six chickens. My big, beautiful, colorful, plump rooster, and five hens. One of those hens was part of the original three that I started with. The third bird was killed by my dog months ago. That was my first tragedy.
So technically I had two birds left over after that massacre. I didn’t think that either bird would make it because the dogs had gotten hold of them too. They were both in terrible shape and just about nekkid from their beautiful feathers being torn out. I felt terrible. Granted, it was a freak accident, but still, no one wants to see their pets suffer. And for me, my birds are pets.
So after realizing just how amazingly resilient these creatures are, I added to flock! I bought six more chicklings and raised them until they were big enough to be introduced to the coop. My grandma wanted some chickens, and quite honestly, my coop wasn’t big enough for all eight birds, so I gave her two. Thus, how I ended up with six.
Well, my neighbor is a peach of a fellow, let me tell ya. His yard is awful. scrap metal and junk everywhere, the house is falling apart. He’s there maybe once every two or three weeks. It’s just disgusting. He had two beautiful horses and two dogs when we moved in next door. Those dogs bred. The momma had eight pups. Of those eight, three survived, the others were shot, ran over or run away. None of these animals have had proper shots, nor nurturing. And when he left for three months over the holidays, he made NO arrangements for these animals. My other neighbor lost 60 chickens in a month due to these rabid animals. His horses were taken away by the sheriffs department, and his dog just had another litter. Yea, it’s awful. And you may be wondering where animal control is in all of this? Well, I called them, several times actually. They said that I could come pick up a trap, trap the dogs myself, then take them to the pound. Basically, they told me I could do their job for them. The next idea they offered was to do away with them myself. Let’s not even go there.
So anyway, I began to train my own dogs to protect the flock rather than attack them, yes people, it is so possible. My dogs don’t even give my birds a second thought now. So the other day when I let my birds out to roam, I got confused and somewhat panicked when I heard a ruckus outside, and growling! As I ran outside, I caught my neighbors dog on my porch. I screamed at him, and threw stones at him, and he took off. I ran to my coop and the younger chickens + my original hen were all present and accounted for, not a scratch. But my rooster was nowhere to be found. My heart sank a little. The last time my coop was attacked, he hid in corners rather than running inside the coop. No, he wasn’t very bright, but this is what he did so that the other birds could make it inside faster. He basically made himself the target, it seemed. So this time, the damage was done. That rabid dog destroyed my rooster, and I was heart broken. These animals are not fixed, don’t have shots, and are not able to be caught. It’s awful, to say the least.
So here I am, a rooster short. I was frustrated too, because you can’t tell when they’re babies if they’ll be a rooster for sure or not. And I was planning on having my hens hatch some chicks this spring. But I let it go and focused on keeping my remaining birds healthy and safe.
I started to notice that one of my younger birds were outgrowing the others at a rapid rate. Big ol’ red bird. I thought nothing of it and just named her Bodacious. The feathers weren’t distinct enough for me to tell if it was a rooster or not, and when the egg production kicked up, I just thought it was her that was laying them. When I can home yesterday, my sweet fiance had been doing some work in the barn and he came to greet me. He said, “I don’t know how to tell you this,” (GREAT, more dead birds, I thought) “but Bodacious isn’t a hen. He’s a rooster.” What?? I spend all afternoon with these birds, how the heck did I not notice this? The thought crossed my mind that perhaps it could be a rooster, but I just figured it was a large hen. But no. Upon closer observation, I realized that Clint was 100% right! I was thrilled. I am just floored that I didn’t notice sooner.
Obviously now that I look at him as a rooster, it’s completely obvious that he is such. But after the heartache of loosing my other rooster, I suppose everything happens for a reason. After too long, they would have started fighting and I would have assuredly had to get rid of one. And although I miss my rooster, I am thrilled to be able to hatch more chicks this spring! It’s funny how things work out.