11/15/2011

Chicken Scratch - Part 8 - Rear Wiping, Gender Changing, Death

First time reading "Chicken Scratch"?  You may want to start here.  :)

I decided to give it another try.  This raising chickens thing, of which I am horrible.

Brand new baby chicks (one rooster and four hens), were delivered to our local post office early on the morning of Jonny's 4th birthday.  I couldn't have planned that any better!

Birthday boy with one of the chicks

The rooster was immediately named Roostie (I know, we are quite creative).  The other hens were named by Emilia.  I suggested names like, Hennrietta or Mildred, but those were not nearly "fancy" enough for my very fancy daughter.  She chose the names Bella and Bella (because we couldn't tell the difference between the black and white speckled birds), and Anastasia and Drizella for the black birds (because she didn't like them as well, I guess.  Why else would she give them those names?!).

Emilia and Matthew

Soon after we got them, I noticed that Roostie was "pasting up".  Dried poo covered his vent and would eventually kill him if I didn't do something about it.

Emilia with Roostie

A couple times every day, I'd go downstairs with warm water and a rag.  I'd dab at his little tiny rear, wiping away the crusty feces (very fun, let me tell you), and then try my best to dry him off so he wouldn't catch a cold and die.  Death seemed to be the common denominator if I didn't do my job correctly.  My position as Official Rear Wiper and Dryer (ORWD) was serious.

I was the ORWD for a couple of weeks.  Finally, he was able to poo regularly and my services were no longer needed.  I gladly retired my badge, knowing that I had been diligent in my duties.

When the five birds had enough adult feathers to keep warm during the cooler nights, we put them outside in the chicken tractor.  We double checked to make sure the tractor was tightly secured.  We didn't need a repeat of what happened the last time.

Jonny and the 5 chickens

In the weeks that followed, I noticed that both Roostie and (one) Bella had larger combs and wattles than the others.  You can see the difference in the the picture below.  Could it be that they had accidentally shipped us another rooster?  

"Bella" very quickly became "Herm".

Bella and Bella (I mean...Herm)

Herm and Roostie would occassionally fight, but it was Herm (the unwanted rooster) who became the dominant male.

Herm and Roostie

In fact, Roostie wasn't dominant at all.  He was even skittish around the hens.  I'd see the group of four darker chickens pecking around the yard and then, from out of nowhere, Roostie would awkwardly cluck himself into the mix.  The others would peck at or ignore him.  I would often find him alone while the others played their chicken games.  I felt bad for Roostie.  First his poo problem, then his demotion to second Rooster, and now his status as Chicken Outcast. 

Roostie

As if the aforementioned wasn't bad enough, one day I noticed that Roostie's feet and legs were swollen.  He'd stumble around the yard falling every now and then.  It got worse and worse until one day he couldn't get back up.  His white feathers were brown from thrashing around in the dirt as the other chickens pecked around (and occasionally on) him.

When Nate got home from work, he put him out of his misery and buried him.

Poor Roostie.

There's a fondness in my heart for all little rears that I wipe.



11 comments:

Shannon Popkin said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh, Heidi... What a funny closing statement! Your chickens keep me checkin'... to see what happens next! :)

Heidi said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks Shannon!

sarahz627 said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Heidi, what a great blog! I had no idea you started this. I thoroughly have enjoyed reading about your adventures as a chicken farmer! Nice work, mama!

The pictures of the kids are precious!

sarahz627 said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

P.S. - it's Sarah, your cousin;-)

Heidi said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks Sarah!

Emily Root said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am sooo glad to have alll this knowledge to look back on! we are planning on getting some chickens soon! the neighbors where we are at right now have some and I love them! They also have three ducks, a mallard and a goose! We have a fenced in yard at the new house so I can't wait to be able to have some chickens running around the yard pecking everywhere and then letting my puppy chase them! its gonna be a grand fiasco! Love and miss you guys dearly!!!! hugs!!

Heidi said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Fun! I hope your adventures are less bloody than mine were. :) I still have one to two more stories to write because these chickens also meet their demise.

Hope you're enjoying FL! Love ya!

Shannon Popkin said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Your last comment here says there's more to the story... Come on, Writer. You're leaving us readers hanging! :)

Heidi said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I know, I know! I'm waiting for the inspiration to grab hold of me again...ha! I keep thinking about it and I have started writing it, but can't get into the grove. It will come...at some point. Thanks for checking, Shannon. :)

Sennie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Heidi, this was such a funny, sad, hilarious tale of raising chickens. I think I'll stick to the human kind only:)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This sounds like my life! I loved reading about your chicken escapades, because we have lived them too:) My favorite was when you put the cone on the chick and said it was all at once the saddest and most hilarious moment.....made me laugh so hard! Thanks for brightening my day:)

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