Wednesday, April 11, 2012


(Grammy: You might want to skip this post. And quite possibly Kerri. I know there's no stopping George.)

The unavoidable-yet-I-wish-I-could-avoid-it thing has happened. We have had to put down (or "whack") one of our roosters, with another one slated for slaughter this weekend. The worst part of it is that it's really my fault. I let myself get overly attached to the roosters, and 3 is too many for 6 girls.

And the warning signs were there. The hens' backs (except for Waddly Wanda) are all torn up. Chicken saddles and blu-kote are necessary here. The manfriend and I walk around going "jeesh our hens look rough" a lot. Red (due to go under the knife this Saturday) charges the spawn and myself whenever he can.

It happened while I was at work, but before I left for work I couldn't find Itty Bitty (the teensiest of our hens, and a New Hampshire Red). The spawn's sister is in town (no. I do not have a blogname for her yet. Bear with me), and the two of us searched for her before I left to no avail. But the manfriend found her when he got home - being terrorized by Big Bunny and literally being ridden to death.

Anyone who has had chickens will tell you they are brutal. The will peck anything red as they LOVE meat, and if one of them is bleeding they'll attack it mercilessly - even if they had been besties 10 minutes before. Our chickens' favorite food (when they can get it)? Chicken. Seriously. They are kind of nasty in that regard.

Big Bunny was our first rooster and he had been through a lot. When we first got little puppy, he got a hold of Big Bunny and  tore all his back feathers out, and maimed his leg. He recovered. Big Bunny rushed the spawn one too many times, and when the spawn defended himself, Big Bunny ended up with a broken leg (in two places, I think) and a mangled foot. Most people would have put him down at that point, but we couldn't. (I told you this was all my fault!) He recovered, but was away from the flock (although visible to them through the brooder run which is right in the middle of where they roam most) for so long that he never really assimilated back into it. He was an outcast the last few weeks of his life, before he managed to catch Itty Bitty (my theory here, remember I wasn't home) and wouldn't let her up.

Itty Bitty *should* be OK - she is in the hutch with food, water with ACV, and a little nest thingy to sit in. Her back is completely bare, and her comb is a bit pecked out. She is COVERED in blu-kote, and if we can keep her from getting an infection, all should be well. We will pop her back in the coop at night so she can stay with the other chickens enough to (hopefully) not get ostracized, but she is absolutely not up to walking around or foraging for food. I hope she does make a full recovery - she is a great member of our flock.

Big Bunny did not suffer and again I am amazed and thankful that I have kids in my life that can be around life and death (as surely it is around us!) and for the opportunity to have a chance to educate them about life and death here on our 'farm'.

Big Bunny and Cindy as teenage sweethearts.

Sunbathing Big Bunny.
RIP Big Bunny.


The Japanese Redneck said...

that kind of thing goes with chickens, we lost a white hen last week for unknown reasons

George and Kerri said...

You went above and beyond for that bird. He was warped and had to go.


caitlinvb said...

Yeah... I just hate that it was my fault. And it's harder because he was our first. Oh well...