Sunday, October 23, 2016

Donkeys and a few chicken stories

Just because I love to look at them! Although it's surprisingly tough to get good donkey photos - almost as hard as getting good dog photos!

And Nina, my very favorite hen. She runs right up to me, talking to me in soft little clucks. She is also an odd one - for days now she sat on a nest in the barn, even at night a few times. I finally carried her down to the small coop, with her fake egg and the other egg (somebody else's egg!) and put them all in a nesting box. She chirped and squawked and ran off into the woods. Next day, she was sitting on the (now empty) nest again. CRAZY BIRD!!

And then there was Georgy Porgy, who began to tend towards some rather violent domestic abuse, cornering and then viciously pecking at hens who were not interested in sex. He tore the entire scalp off one; I had to put her down. I didn't see a chance of that healing up without infection in a barnyard, even assuming I could sew it up. The bones of her lower jaw were exposed and everything. It was gruesome. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, wondered if it was an accident. Apparently, chickens have skin that easily tears. But I was out there a few days later when he was going after another one who had gotten herself stuck in a thicket. I hate to interfere in interactions of other species, and she was hard to get to in the brush. he finally pecked her unnecessarily quite a few times on the head and stalked off. I hauled her out, praying she wasn't dead. Or massively injured. Her comb was torn in two, she had lost a LOT of feathers on the back of her head, and she had some lesions through the skin right there, too, but the skin was primarily intact, so I let her go. And pondered what to do with George. 

I manged to sneak up on him later (all that nonconfrontational nearness paid off!) and snatched him up and threw him (literally) into the small coop, to protect the others, while I decided long term plans. His gorgeous coloring made him a lovely candidate for making babies - and some of the hens didn't mind him mounting. So after a week, I put a few hens in with him who I've seen he breed with in the past without difficulty. Unfortunately, it seems he liked being violent and mean, as he went after one of those hens, too. In the ensuing ruckus, the first hen escaped, terrified. I hauled him off the second hen before she was injured, and flopped him around by the feet for a while until she left the coop. So, the end of the story is that now I have just one rooster, Goldy Roo, who so far is quite a darling although wow he is huge! Photo coming soon, with a comparison hen near by.