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Monday, June 21, 2010

Suicidal Chicken

There's a rooster in my flock who is looking to commit seppuku.

Every day, I let the chickens out of their yard so they can free range and forage for bugs and green stuff. I started them out slowly, letting one group out at a time and bringing them in after an hour or so.

Slowly, I've increased their time out. They've learned to come running when they see me because I'm the one with all the goodies.

Teaching them this has been an easy way to herd them back into their pen when the time comes. I throw some scratch into their aviary and they go racing inside.


All except one.

Sam.

Yesterday after a romp in the sun, I decided it was time for them to come inside. Everyone came in dutifully, except for one astralorp rooster. He's the biggest, and of course, the most independent.

But now he's messing with a tired, cranky woman who just wants to go inside and shower. What does he do? He races around the outside of his pen like a lunatic.

I have the door to his pen wide open. None of the inside chickens want to go outside because all the good grub is inside their pen. But not Sam.

I finally corner him and pick him up where he squawks like a big baby. I'm very gentle with the bird and pet him quietly so he knows nothing is going to happen to him.

He nips me!

:raises eyes to heaven:

I end up with a nice little welt on my arm. And he ends up with a new name, Suicidal Sam. I think he's daring me to put him in the pot.

All the chickens are doing well. I am seeing personalities in a lot of them. As far as I can tell I have four roosters among the astralorps and three roosters among the buff orpingtons. I only plan on keeping two roosters per each group.

The extras, we will allow to free range and I'll give them a place to roost at night, but I won't be feeding them grain. I'll dispatch them when they get plump enough. Sam better play his cards right. I don't go in for nipping and spurring. Well...at least not with chickens.

Update on my Victim chicken: Remember my little astralorp that was always getting picked on? It looks like 'he' is a she and since everyone has been going outside, everyone is getting along. No more bullying or 'hen-pecking'.

I am so happy my poor ostracized chicken is now an accepted member of the flock.

For more chicken stories, go here.

12 comments:

Dru said...

Looks like Sam may be one of those to go.

Glad the *victim* chick is no longer one and is getting along with everyone.

Have a good Monday.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: I was very relieved that my victim chicken is going to be all right. She's turned out to be one of my favorites.

--I'm going to have to give her a real name. *g*

Joanne said...

I don't know, in a way it seems Sam is stealing your heart with his spunk :)

Maria Zannini said...

Joanne: LOL. Does his spunk have to leave welts?

I deliberately didn't handle the chickens a lot when they were little. I didn't want to get too attached.

But they're used to me walking around them, and they'll come running when they see me.

Marguerite Butler said...

I find that with roosters, some will "volunteer" to be dinner. They start out as spunky, graduate to obnoxious and occasionally even all the way to psycho.

Some chickens will just get to your heart no matter how distant you try to remain. I have one silly girl who insists on flying onto my shoulder and riding there. Yes, I now have a pet.

Marianne Arkins said...

When I was younger, my job was to feed the chickens and collect the eggs every morning. We had one rooster who would wait on top of the door for me to enter and the LEAP!!! and attack me.

After two or three times of this, I told my step-dad that either that rooster ended up the stew pot or I stopped collecting eggs.

We had chicken the next night and I relished every bite.

So, yeah, I completely understand.

RE: Victim Chicken -- I'm so relieved!!

Maria Zannini said...

Marguerite:

Ref: volunteer

LOL! That is so true! My husband wants to rename our crazy rooster 'Spur-Me-and-Die'

That is so neat about the hen who likes to ride on your shoulder. I love it when they're sweet like that.

I'm so glad you stopped by, Marguerite!

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: You had a ninja rooster! I hate it when they're mean like that.

One day I am going to have to tell the story of our zombie rooster.

He rose from the dead. And we had to kill him twice.

Mac said...

(Waves hello - followed a link over from Marguerite Says.)

Heh. The last rooster I had was a bit of a monster. I didn't go in his pen without a shovel to fend him off -- but we had a rather ridiculous population of local racoons and possums and other predators, and he never, ever lost so much as a feather off one of "his"hens.

Still, when he died (of old age and a debauched life) I was a little relieved.

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Mac!

Ref: a shovel to fend him off

We had a male rhea once that required leather gloves and quick feet.

Ref: ...debauched life...

That is hilarious!

I can see I am really going to have to tell my zombie chicken story. That was one rooster I was not sad to lose.

Thanks for popping in and following!

Shelley Munro said...

Oh, man. There's always one in the group that makes life difficult! I enjoy reading your chicken adventures. They look and sound as if they're doing really well.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: It's been a circus around here, but for the most part great fun.

And you're right. There's always 'one' in every group. *g*