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Saturday, January 12 2019
Alcatraz


Anyone who lives on a farm is familiar with the emotion. You have lovingly raised something. Poured your heart, your soul,
your time and your money into it. And then you stand in the barnyard and wish it dead. 

Rubber boots aren't made for running, but I still managed to kick him in the ass like a soccer ball. Roosters. I hate
them. If you only want eggs then you don't even need them. I started with seven Golden-Laced Wyandotte hens. No rooster.
Didn't want one. Didn't need one. 

Then my hens started free ranging. They soon left the barnyard area for excursions into the Land Of The Boogey Beast.
That's when I decided I needed a rooster. They do more than just procreate. Roosters are really good at watching for
predators and protecting the hens. Let me be a cautionary tale for you. Don't do this!

Because I'd been wanting to add Blue-Laced Wyandottes, this was the perfect excuse. I
got two beautiful blue roosters and eight lovely blue hens - who unfortunately were all infected with Marek's disease and
were not vacccinated. One by one I lost all but two hens to Marek's. The remaining two hens died of heat stroke last
summer, but not before I was able to save their genes. 

They had proven resistant to Marek's disease thus it was really important to me to save those genes. When the first blue
flock started falling dead of Marek's disease I had acquired two more blue roosters and two more blue hens that had been
vaccinated for Marek's. I pulled one blue rooster (Russell Crowe) and bred him to the last Marek's blue hens. The other
blue rooster (Egger Allan Poe) stayed with the new blue hens. Egger appears to be infertile but by all other counts he's
an excellent rooster (if there is such a thing) and thus he gets to stay. 

We marked and incubated the fertilized eggs last spring. None of Egger's eggs hatched.  Four of Russell's eggs hatched. We
were able to vaccinate three of the four chicks for Marek's disease. This was an unfortunate mix-up with the vaccine. Who
knew you had to use ALL the vaccine within a few hours once the vials had been mixed? Now we know. One chick was well
behind the others in hatching and didn't get his shot, thus this bird will be the experimental bird to see if the Marek's
resistent genes pulled through. It sounds good in theory. The reality is that I may put the little bastard in a stew pot
first. 

Three of the four hatched eggs turned out to be roosters. The single hen looks exactly like my favorite hen who died of heat
stroke - Margaret Thatcher, thus I have named her Maggie.

She is an angel. Her brothers are assholes. Well, not really. One
brother is okay. The ugliest one. The brother with no neck. He has a nice temperament. Beautiful plummage. But no neck.
His head kinda sprouts from his shoulders. Thus I named him No Neck. 

The other brothers are exquiste. They were exactly what I wanted to reproduce. They were so beautiful I even forgave them
for being roosters, until . . . 

Let's do some math. I started out with 7 Golden-Laced Wyandotte hens. I lost one to a predator when she left the barnyard and another got sick and died a few weeks ago. Let's ommit all the Marek's blue hens since they died. I can count the 2 new blue hens, and the one blue hen that I hatched. That's 8 hens. That's really all the chickens I wanted or needed, but then my mom ended up giving
me most of her Speckled Sussex hens - 10 more hens. One hen crawled into a spot to lay an egg and couldn't get out. She died there.
Another was killed by a raccoon. That left me 8 Speckled Sussex hens, 3 Blue-Laced Wyandotte hens, 5 Golden-Laced
Wyandotte hens and 5 Blue-Laced Wyandotte roosters. That's 4 more roosters than any sane person needs. BUT - 

My chickens do not stay together. They split themselves into four different flocks, each with its own coop and its own yard which opens into the main barnyard which they all share. (Think of it as apartment complexes which open into the same city.)

 

Egger Allan Poe has 2 Blue hens, and 5 Sussex hens. Russell Crowe has 5 Golden Girls. Three Sussex hens have opted to roost in a coop
by themselves with no rooster. No surprise there. And until this morning the 3 young roosters, and their sister, had a coop that they share with what guineas remain from Other Half's failed experiment with guineas. I had pulled the young hen, Maggie, out and placed her with another flock but she immediately escaped and joined her brothers again, and since I haven't noticed them harrassing her, I let her
stay. Until yesterday they didn't have real names. Now their names are: Colonel Sanders & Soup Pot.

Russell Crowe and Egger Allan Poe are excellent roosters. They take good care of their tiny flocks, but are being run
ragged by a pair of thugs bent of raping their hens. This recently came to my attention and bothered me greatly. The
little thugs lie in wait for the hens around the feeders and the coops, thus the hens cannot eat and they cannot return to
their coops without fear of being raped.

Their own roosters cannot fight off two thugs because while the rightful husband is busy chasing one
thug, the other thug is free to assault his hens. I complained to Other Half who dismissed it as the natural goings on in
a barnyard. This pissed me off further.  Other Half has not counted on a few things. 

1) This is NOT the natural order of things because in nature that many birds are not forced by food, fencing, and housing
to co-mingle in the same area. (That is what we call city life.)

2) I am the God governing this little planet that is my barnyard and if I say the behavior pisses me off, then God has
spoken and the roosters are either to be incarcerated, sold, or end up in a soup pot. 'Nuff said. 

3) The first little snot who attacks me will be beaten to death with a t-post. He might have Marek's resistant genes but
he doesn't have t-post resistant genes. 

And so this morning the sun rose on a new chicken yard - Alcatraz.

It's a 12 x 12 chain-link cell with a dog house in it. If a
raccoon gets past the Livestock Guardian Dogs and climbs inside Alcatraz then hopefully the dog will kill the raccoon on his way out. I'm not
concerned with the safety of prisoners. This pen is kinda like the goat in Jurassic Park. Actually, I did parole No Neck
since his only crime was being a rooster. No Neck was released into the custody of his sister and the guineas while the
Rapist Thugs will remain behind bars until they either go live somewhere else, get eaten by a raccoon, or end up in a stew
pot. The weather is getting colder. And I do love chicken and dumplings. 

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Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 01:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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