Sunday, March 22, 2015

And then there were six

Two freaky / disturbing chicken pictures back to back.  One from Friday, and one for today:
The picture doesn't do his wounds justice.
He was a bloody mess yestereay.
The above picture is of one of my older, sort'a lame rooster after he had taken a nasty, probably life threatening, pummeling from another of the younger roosters yesterday.  He's now in the "Hospital Pen" of the barn.

He's got foot problems.  We hatched him out a few years ago and his toes don't spread out all the way so he basically walks around on chicken-tippy-toes.  When he was smaller I had thought about doing him in, but he managed to get around pretty well so I figured I'd let nature take care of him.  If he survived, great, if not, no big loss.

He doesn't pick any fights with the other roosters, probably because he knows he'd totally lose, and he's nice to the lady chickens.  He's never attempted to rush, peck or flog me or my daughter.  As far as roosters go, he's a pretty nice fella.  Anyways, up until yesterday, he'd been holding is own in the flock.  Then, for whatever chicken-brained reason, the Rhode Island Red rooster decided to take whatever poultry frustrations he had out on ol' Twinkle Toes.  Paul said he had seen them running around the yard earlier in the day, but I had just seen the attacks later that afternoon.  The RIR rooster was relentless in chasing Twinkle Toes and the poor guy, not being able to run, let alone walk / gimp very fast, was literally being pecked to death.  His head and neck were covered in blood.  The RIR bastard managed to corner him in one of the goat huts and was just pecking the living crap out of him.

Normally I let the roosters go at it....I actually kind of enjoy the show.  Yes, I'm horrible, get over it.  They (with the exception of T.T.) are all pretty much evenly matched and the brawls don't last very long before one concedes the fight and is able to run off to avoid any serious injury.  But apparently the RIR was in a particularly pissy mood and Twinkle Toes was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Paul was throwing rocks at the pair to try and break it up but the the RIR just kept at it.  We both went into the pen and I was able to get close to them because the RIR was so fixated on pecking Twinkle Toes that he was oblivious to the 5'-4" woman wielding a stout stick.  I missed my mark (his chicken skull) but managed to whack him hard enough that he was thrown several feet across the yard and hightailed it to a sheltered area under the barn.  Where he (smartly) remained the rest of the day.
Not a home run, but definitely a base hit.
I know that there has to be a pecking order in the flock.  But this went beyond pecking order.  So I, being the Head Pecker in Charge (I might get a t-shirt with that on it.  Maybe not.), wielded my ultimate authority in the guise of a cedar bludgeoning device.

I picked up the beaten and bloodied Twinkle Toes and put him in the infirmary (i.e. small kidding pen) with a pan of water and chicken scratch.  One of his eyes was swollen shut and there was a lot of blood on his neck feathers and his comb and wattles were bloodied.  Even though he looked pretty bad, there didn't seem to be any major cuts or injuries, although I have no doubt that if we didn't intervene he would have been pecked to death.  He'll get a few more days of rest in the pen and if / when he looks ready to go back to join the flock, I'll let him out.

That evening when I went to shut the chickens up, I found the RIR rooster in his usual (very annoying) roosting spot; on the milk parlor door.  I can usually pick him up somewhat easily and take him to where he is supposed to roost (you know, in the coop, with the rest of the chickens) but he obviously still had that afternoon's beating fresh in his chicken cranium and he wasn't going to have anything to do with me.  He flew right at me and in the process scratched up my arm with his spurs.  I don't care if it was an "accident" or not.  I grabbed him, bashed his skull in with the cedar stick (still conveniently located near the coop) and that was the end.

Well, not really the end.  I skinned him and cut him up for Charlie's supper.  I would have made soup out of him, but it was late and I was lazy.

There is no room for mean livestock on our homestead.  Charlie's supper was also known to chase Rhiannon around the barn until I told her it was OK for her to chase the roosters.  Which she now does on a somewhat regular basis and seems to enjoy (maybe a little too much).  I don't let Rhiannon chase any other animal on our farm.  Is it cruel to let her run the roosters down?  I don't think so.  They get more of a workout from being chased by their other male flock mates and I honestly think it helps to reduce or eliminate the tendency of the roosters to chase after her when they realize she'll spin around the chase them (sometimes with a long stick).

We still have six roosters here and that's about four too many.  I really needed to thin them out ages ago, but I'm lazy.  Maybe we'll have us some rooster soup this week.


  1. my limited experience tells me that rir roosters are poison. will not have one. the one we had was snake mean and a bully.deb h.

  2. Good job on a nice dinner! I made a point when my teens where younger to tell them if the rooster chases them or tries to spur us give him a swift kick where ever it's convenient.

  3. Hm. I think I should be glad I don't have a rir rooster. My barred rock is pretty tame. Sounds like some stew is due.

  4. Ya we had a couple of RIR roosters when I was a kid. Meanest damned things in the barn yard. The cats were especially terrified of them but so was my cousin when she came to visit :)

  5. I have heard the same thing about RIR roosters....there will be none here. I can't believe Rhiannon will chase the roosters back. I am scared to death of them.

    Our last two roosters have been sweethearts, thankfully.

  6. We've had good luck with our roosters through the years, but did have one (I can't remember the breed) that would run at anybody within "his" territory. I remember telling our daughter that it was acceptable to turn and give him a good boot as hard as she could. I also remember the look on her face. Kind of incredulous first and then, O-KAY!