Our nice rooster is still in the Recovery Room, but he's not doing very well. I went in to give him a look-over to see how his back was (it has healed up nicely), but when I picked him up I was shocked at how light he was.
He's been eating and drinking, but now I've noticed he's got diarrhea. And he's also limping worse than before. His leg isn't broken so maybe it's dislocated in the hip area? I don't understand; he was walking ok last week. I'm going to keep him locked up and hope for the best. I just hope that I don't make him suffer more than need be.
Other news on the rooster front here at the farm is that I think I've found a sure way to determine if a chicken is a rooster or hen. Usually I can tell the difference around four weeks of age; they have slightly larger combs & wattles. Then as they get older, their neck, tail and saddle feathers grow longer than the hen feathers. They also have little bumps on their legs where their spurs will be.
But this year, I've had trouble figuring out if one of the more colorful chickens was a rooster or not. S/he kind'a had little bumps on the legs, but the comb was short and the feathers weren't really long for a rooster. Some of these chicks that I hatched came from a friend's farm and his chickens had rose combs and some of these chickens also had rose combs so I couldn't tell by the comb.
I was herding chickens yesterday and there was a young rooster trying to mount a young hen. When they are this young they are very clumsy and really end up just tearing up the hen's backs and yanking head feathers in a feeble attempt to keep their balance and get the "job" done. Needless to say, the roosters are not paying attention to anything other than their chosen hen and after watching one really work a hen over, I felt sorry for her and yanked him off. Of course he was pretty surprised and vocal, flapping like crazy and trying to right himself up as I held him by the feet.
Yes, I'm getting to the point.
Obviously the chicken mounting the other chicken was a rooster. But he wasn't the one I was questioning. Anyways....
While I had said rooster in hand, and as he was flailing around squawking, the other roosters came running from across the yard just to attack him! They were trying to kick and peck him even as I held him higher....they were like crazy-insane-roosters!
I launched the rooster and he scurried off, but was then able to defend himself so everyone went back to normal. Just like that.
Weird. And kind'a scary.
So I tried it again later in the day. Yeah, yeah, call the Humane Society on me....I'm torturing poultry. But I really wanted to see if it would happen again. And it did. Even with a different rooster being held upside down by it's feet. They came from out of nowhere to attack. But I saw what I was hoping to see; the chicken-in-question is a rooster as HE came running with the rest of the pack to get a whack in at the rooster pinata.
Do I have crazy-mean roosters? Or do I have adolescent roosters just doing their teenage-rooster thing?
Regardless, I'm going to have to get rid of most of them. Of the nineteen chicks that we hatched, seven of them are roosters. And if our current Alpha rooster (well, used to be at least) doesn't survive, I'm going to have to chose one or two of them to replace him. I want to continue hatching our own chicks, so a rooster or two is kind of a necessity. There are twenty-five hens now so I figure two roosters is about right.
Paul has put the word out at his work and I think we have homes for at least two of them. If the others don't find homes, they'll end up as a tasty soup. I just have to do some rooster-watching and figure out which is the nicest of them. Too bad we couldn't all just sit down and have a little chat and tell them if they don't treat the hens nice and if they don't respect the humans they'll end up plucked and in a pot with various root vegetables.