Day 295 of 365
That time was last night. It was mostly on Ron, as we have a routine in general: I wake up the chickens in the morning while he takes care of the ducks. At night, I put up the ducks because we have to play the “duck game,” and Ron puts up the chickens. Still, we had both been outside last night, in the coop, because we had to trim Mary Jane’s beak. Mary Jane has an unusual beak that just keeps growing, so we have to trim it every few months.
Anyway, we were both right there, and neither of us noticed the little door was open. It was dark, but it’s still a worry we both missed that. We have a fence, but we live right next to the woods. There are so many chicken predators out there that could definitely go through or over a fence.
I woke up a little early today because I had a dentist appointment at 7:30. It was just a little past 6:00 when I went downstairs and saw Dvorak, our young rooster, looking at me from the chicken run. I swear, he was looking at me like, “I don’t think we’re supposed to be out here.” By the time I got out to the chicken run, there were several chickens outside, and I started to really worry when I saw what had happened. I was afraid to open the big coop door and go inside. I didn’t know what I might find in there.
But I went inside and didn’t see any issues initially. I was trying so hard to count the chickens to make sure everyone was there, but when some are inside and some are outside, it’s hard to count. So I tried to just look for everyone I knew: Ruby, check. Mary Jane, check. Faure, check. Arwen, check. I could see the Faverolles and the Orpington sisters. I saw Schumann and Schubert and Pumpkin. I saw Rooster’s tail through the window. It seemed like all was well.
When I went back to the coop to get ready to bring in the water, I noticed a fairly large blood stain on the straw in the floor. It was pretty big, about the size of a saucer. That was terrifying. I started checking people for injuries. I ran back outside and didn’t have to look far, I saw that Rooster’s comb had been beat up pretty badly, and oh the head wounds bleed! I just couldn’t imagine that Dvorak would hurt him though. Dvorak knows his place very well and always stays out of Rooster’s way, but Rooster looked pretty bad.
I scooped him up, took him in the house, and cleaned him up. He was such a good boy about it. At first he grumped, but after a bit, he just leaned into me. It’s so funny. He’s such a big tough boy, but it seems that he doesn’t mind being babied by me if I talk sweet and give treats. I put some antibiotic ointment on him and gave him bread scraps for treats, all the while wondering who had done this to him and also all the while worrying about being late to the dentist. I was a little down when I realized there would be no hot tea this morning and definitely no breakfast. By the time I had all of this wrapped up, I was worried I might be late for my appointment.
When I took Rooster back outside, I told him he was maybe going to have to sleep in the garage tonight, and when I sat him in the coop, I noticed what had happened. There was blood all on the wall where Rooster sleeps at night. Someone had pecked him on the head while they were roosting, which meant it was a hen! What a low-down thing to do!
But, truly, the winter is long, and people start to get grumpy right before spring. Plus, Rooster still has respiratory issues because he’s old and struggling, so he snores really loudly at night. I have no doubt that a hen got tired of listening to him snore and let him have it.
Poor, poor Rooster. He’s definitely in the decline of his life, and he’s so regal, so stoic, so proud. It’s hard to watch his fall from grace as the strong leader of his flock.
Tonight, when I went to get him off of the roost to put him in the garage for the night, just until that big wound heals, I saw who was next him–Jane! Now, I am not saying she’s the one who did it, but Jane is a known b*%$#. Well known! She used to not be this way, but she is this way now. So I wonder if it was her.
Still, Rooster is okay, and tonight, I confirmed we still have 38 chickens. We are so, so lucky. Leaving the little coop door open was a risky mistake for sure.
Oh, and I was late for my appointment, but it wasn’t exactly because of Rooster. Ruby, Kate, and Juliet were all running around the driveway because they insist on it. Normally, in the mornings, I give those three a little scratch as a morning treat. I had no time for it this morning because of the chaos with the coop door and Rooster.
Well, when I opened the garage door and tried to pull into the driveway to leave, those hens wouldn’t budge. I was running so late, so I tried honking at them. Nope. They didn’t budge. I tried to shoo them away, but no. I had to go get the bowl and give those three scratch before they would move. Sigh.
I have been late so many times because of difficult chickens, but I don’t know what else to do but let them be who they are as much as I can–and then just write about it all, I guess.
It’s certainly interesting to see how chickens behave when they are given agency, isn’t it?