Look Who Showed Up
This afternoon as I was trying to close up my chickens for the night, I had a little surprise visitor. Actually I had seen her or him a couple of days before. Maybe he or she is hanging around because I have a waterer that I keep on the outside of my chicken pens under a flat bed trailor. About three years ago we ended a 50 year old business operation of raising quail. We raised about 100,000 per year and sold to hunting preserves. Mostly we sold Bob White Quail but there were a few years that we also raised Tennesee Red Quail. Evidently this little visitor is a mix between a Bob White and a Tennesee Red.
Here is a picture of the backside but the head is a little blurry due to movement.
Rooster or Hen?
Is there a method that is 100% accurate on detecting whether or not a chick is a rooster or a hen? My guess is there is not. Even with the sexing instrument they use to tell the difference it sometimes comes down to a very trained eye. According to most mail order chicken businesses you will find an accuracy record pretty close to 100% but not quite. The mail order business I order my chicks from states that they have a 90% sexing accuracy guarantee and will refund 50% of the cost of each chick that was not the correct sex reported between 10 and 18 weeks. I have ordered from the same company now for two years. The first year all my chicks were hens and was what I specified. This year my chicks are only 4 weeks old and I will not know for sure until later if all 28 are indeed hens.
I have included pictures of Scarlett (a 15 week old Rhode Island Red). Scarlett was named in hopes that she was a hen but only time will tell. She was given to me from a friend who loves chickens as much as I do.
I thought that the spurs on the legs would be a good indicator of whether you had a rooster or a hen but I have learned that most all breeds of chickens have early spur knobs, hens included. See the picture of Scarlett's legs below and you will see the small pimple-like protrusion where a spur may or may not grow.
But since this is not an early indicator of a rooster or a hen, then maybe the tail feathers will be. Here you see Scarlett's tail feathers are a little curly. This may be indication of a rooster but not sure yet.
Her neck feathers are starting to grow a little longer and glossier.
Behavioral signs may be present early in roosters like being bossy, or pushy and intolerant. Recall my previous post about Scarlett being intolerant of other chickens and especially of my dog, Buffy. If Buffy stands still long enough, Scarlett will let her know that she needs to move on. I have read that larger combs and wattles may be an indicator of a rooster but this depends on breeds and can vary within breeds too. I don't know but time will tell if Scarlett is truly Scarlett or maybe Scarlo. Anybody want to take a guess?
A Chicken At My Feet
Here is a little update on Scarlett. She rules the roost in her little world. She let's Buffy, my dog, know when she is not welcomed and if other chickens come down from the hill for a visit she also lets them know they are not welcomed either.
She does have a friend that she tolerates and that is Carlos. They are two peas in a pod.
Here's wishing all my chicken friends could enjoy a chicken at their feet. I got down on the ground for a good picture and Scarlett thought she would just come and join me.
Speckles Visits the Vets
Many thanks to Dr. Sara Hall and Dr. Ginger Kelly, two veterinarians at "Walking on the Moon Animal Hospital." Didn't they make a great picture.
I had to take Speckles, my Silver Laced Wyandott hen in for some surgery. Apparently she has bumble foot. Bumble foot happens when the foot becomes infected due to a cut or injury. Most of the time, the foot has to be opened up and the mass of bacteria must be removed. Dr.Sara and Dr. Ginger deadened the pain with Lidocaine and then proceeded to remove as much of the bacteria as possible. I appreciated how sweet and gentle they were because this surgery is very painful even with pain killer and Speckles' foot was badly infected. You can see her foot all wrapped up after the surgery. We are hoping for a full recovery. Thank you Dr. Sara and Dr. Ginger!
Walking on the Moon Animal Hospital always has your pet's best interest at heart and they really care for them. The people of Union Springs and the surrounding area are blessed to have such quality care close to home.
Field Trip to the Chicken Farm
Some new little friends and their mother came out for a visit today to see my fine feathered friends and also to see just where those eggs come from that I take into town each week. An apple a day keeps the doctor away but certainly does not keep my chickens away. They love all kinds of fruit. Marley offers Daisy an apple and Daisy gladly accepts.
Hannah is just 1 1/2 years old and about the same age as Rosie my Ameraucana. Rosie lays beautiful blue eggs.
And last but not least is Noah. Violet was sitting on her nest but quickly forgave us for picking her up when she saw the apple treat.
The three hens in these pictures are very tame and sweet and were given to me by someone who devoted a lot of time into their lives.
We all had an eventful time while they were with activities which included viewing the new arrivals and chasing down an escaped baby chick, feeding the hens, visiting the garden, a quick swim in the pool and some apple cider drink for refreshment. Daisy, Rosie and Violet say "ya'll come back you hear."
Goodbye my Dear Rufus
Today I say goodbye to my beautiful Sumatra Rooster named Rufus. I post this with tears - it's just the soft heart of a chicken farmer who loves animals of all kinds and thinks that we should treat them humanely. I tried and tried to make Rufus stop being a threat to me and to other people but he insisted on doing his job of protecting his hens and I was constantly trying to protect myself from his attacks. We could not continue to have this threat since we have people who like to come look at our flock and children especially delight in seeing our happy crew. I would feel terrible should something happen and someone get hurt. About a year ago, I came home to find that Rufus had been attacked by another rooster. I took Rufus in the house. He was bloody and beat up pretty bad. I doctored his wounds and kept his comb moist with coconut oil so that it would not dry out because it was very bruised. He refused to eat so I force fed him yogurt round the clock. I wasn't sure that his eye could be saved. But he did recover and had no ill effects as you see how beautiful he is in this picture. He was my prized beautiful rooster that I loved. So what is more humane - leaving a rooster enclosed separated from the flock for the rest of his life, isolated so that you don't have to interact with him for fear of attack, or putting him down as quickly as possible? I gave Rufus a good life - better than most roosters ever get. I'll miss him very much. Tearfully submitted.
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