My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?


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King George and his trip to the vet

 

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We did manage to get KingGeorge into the cage.

After a few failed attempts at catching him, we decided to put some of his favourite treats into the cage and hope that he would just walk in. The cage opens fully at one end.

And yes, that is exactly what George did. He saw me sprinkle the treats on the cage floor and he wandered in and started to eat. I was behind him to shut the door.

King George behaved himself in the car and at the vets but unfortunately he is not with us anymore. I made the decision to have him humanely put down as he had a tumour on his spine and would not have recovered. At least now he is not in pain.

So for someone who did not like roosters and never wanted one, I am really sad at the passing of George. He was so gentle and caring of his girls and would eat out of my hand when I offered him treats.

I guess Jonathan Livingstone will take over the running of the flock now that King George has gone.

 


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King George is unwell

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King George is unwell. I am not sure what is wrong. I know he has a sore foot but I don’t think that would be enough to cause his general malady. He spends a lot of his time drooping and falling asleep whilst standing, like this.

Jonathan Livingstone in the background doesn’t seem to care.

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Somehow we need to try to get George into this cage for his visit to the vet tomorrow morning.

 


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Welcome to our home, Jonathan Livingstone

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The “other rooster” has finally been given a name, so I guess in a way I must have decided to welcome him to our home.

His name is Jonathan Livingstone. He is named Jonathan Livingstone because that is a nicer name than Seagull. He reminds me of a seagull because he runs in like a seagull, grabs a piece of food and then runs off to eat it somewhere on his own so that no one can take it from him.

I think he was a very hungry rooster when he first started coming here and upmost on his mind was to get food but he was a little afraid of King George. So he would grab and run.

Now he is not so hungry and tends to be a little more relaxed around the food but King George will still decide sometimes that he doesn’t want Jonathan Livingstone eating with them and attempts to chase him away. So Jonathan Livingstone will grab and run once again but not quite so desperate and seagull-like.

So of course with two roosters, I now need more chickens for a better ratio. I am now planning which breeds.


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King George the rooster has found his mojo

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Along with the return of King George’s feathers, came his mojo. George is once again the proud king of his tiny little brood of hens.

King George is once again crowing in the morning and standing proud throughout the day.

King George doesn’t care that there is another rooster living here during the day. King George is the boss and the other rooster knows it.

King George is once again finding food for his girls. He even stole some of my chopped silver beet stalks while I had my back turned while taking the lid off the worm farm. He didn’t realise his girls don’t like chopped silver beet stalks but he continued to steal them until I took the chopping board away!

Welcome back King George.

 


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Is this why George has lost his mojo?

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Perhaps this is why George lost his mojo. Ever since this rooster somehow found his way to our place from one of the neighbouring farms, to spend all day and every day with us, George has not been himself.

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Poor George. Maybe he is thinking he can’t compete with this newcomer when he is not looking and feeling his best!

Or maybe this newcomer’s arrival coincided with George’s moult.


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King George has lost his mojo

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King George was a very proud rooster standing tall with his chest pushed out and his tail feathers held high. He crowed each morning long before the sun came up, eager to start his day.

When he was finally let out of the coop each morning with the girls tagging along behind him, he would do his little morning dance and then spend his day watching and listening out for his girls, finding food for them and generally standing tall with enough crows throughout the day so that any roosters within hearing distance, knew he was boss. He loved life and he loved his girls.

Then something terrible happened. He started to lose his beautiful feathers! Beautiful rooster feathers lined the coop. Beautiful rooster feathers were all over the lawn. His beautiful neck and tail feathers were gone.

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King George did not stand proud anymore. King George did not crow anymore. King George did not do his morning dance anymore. King George did not find food for his girls anymore. King George was sad. In fact he didn’t feel like a King anymore.

He was just plain old George who did not love life or his girls anymore. He was miserable and he was grumpy and all he wanted to do hide was hide in a bush and hope no one sees him.

King George had lost his mojo.


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King George the rooster has broken two of my rules

King George turned up at out place and made my chicken coop his home. We didn’t want a rooster.

But we decided to let him stay but with three rules.

Rule number 1 – He doesn’t crow in the early hours of the morning.
Well of course he has broken this rule! One morning my husband Haitch said to me “that rooster has got to go. He was crowing at 4:30”.
I said to him “if you want the rooster gone, you ring our neighbour / friend and you tell him to come and take his rooster away and kill his him. If he takes him back home across the road, King George will just keep coming back here”.

Rule number 2 – He is gentle with my girls.
King George is huge and I am scared he is going to squash my girls when he has his roostering way with them. I have never seen him doing anything with my girls so I was thinking that he is aware of his enormity and is therefore being a kind rooster and leaving my girls alone. After all, Hannah Hen, my bantam, only comes up to the top if his thigh!
I had some friends around last weekend and they know about chickens. They said that King George would definitely be having his roostering way, so to prove it, we broke one each of my girls eggs into a bowl.
Hilda Hen’s egg was fertile.
Helen Hen’s egg was fertile.
And yes, tiny, little Hannah Hen’s egg was also fertile.
And then a few days ago, I heard a ruckus and looked out to see Helen Hen looking indignant at King George and there was the tell tale sign, he had one of Helen’s feathers in his beak! So rule number 2 is on the verge of being broken.

Rule number 3 – He is not aggressive in ANY way
This is my most important rule. I have not seen any sign of aggression so far. He is very gentle and is learning not to run away from me when I go outside. He is learning that I have treats. He has even started coming over to me when he thinks I have food, but not too close of course.

So you see, King George has broken one rule and partially broken the second rule but he is still here. I know I said if he breaks any of those rules, he is out. But I’ve grown attached to King George the rooster and they are my rules, so I can choose to remove them on a whim.  (And then of course reinstate them, even without letting King George know.)
I hope he never breaks rule number 3, because there is no negotiation on this one.


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King George the rooster has finally made our house his home

I have watched King George in the evenings when it is time for bed. King George is a visiting rooster who “lives” across the road. He spends all day with my girls, returning home to his one lonely bantam girl across the road, only once my girls have gone to bed.

I have watched him when my girls are putting themselves to bed. He stands beside them and watches as they peck and scratch and fill their tummies before they go to bed.  He then watches them as they make their way into the coop, taking one last drink of water before they walk up the ramp and into their house to bed.

Then King George stands for a while, looking unsure. He finally turns to walk away and start his journey back to where he “lives” and where he has his lonely bantam waiting for him. He, stops after a few steps and then turns to look back at the coop. He hesitates and then turns and continues his journey. He hesitates again, this time turning and walking back to the coop and looking through the door.

He then turns for the last time and this time walks around the corner of our house, walks across our front lawn, walks down the hill, goes under our fence, walks across the road, squeezes himself under the neighbours gate, walks across a paddock and disappears into the bushes.

This morning I went to let my girls out and who should be in the coop, patiently standing beside the door, waiting to be let out. Yes, King George. I do feel sorry for his poor little lonely  bantam sleeping across the road on her own.


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The visiting rooster, King George

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King George visits every day from across the road where he lives on his farm. We are not sure if any of his flock are living there with him or whether the hawks have eaten them all.

Last weekend, King George visited my girls as usual, eating the treats I threw and generally being a welcome guest.

Later in the afternoon, I decided to go down to the bottom of the hill in front of our house to pay them a visit.  So with purple treat tin in hand, I made my way down the hill, ducking and weaving among the trees and trying not to slip over.

When I got to the bottom, there were the three girls happily scratching and pecking among the trees. King George was nowhere to be seen. Maybe he was just hiding somewhere. He is still a bit wary of me but he is starting to learn that I am not a threat and I often come with treats.

So I sat for a while with the girls and the neighbour’s pet sheep talking quietly to us through the fence. It was so peaceful with the winter sun shining down on us. But no sign of King George.

A little while later, I decided to take my three month old grandbaby boy for a walk down the road to give his mum a wee break. As we were wandering along, we happened to catch sight of King George on his farm amongst the hedges. Then to my surprise, there was a little bantam hen that looked very similar to my Hannah Hen. Was it my Hannah Hen? But she disappeared behind the hedge before I could see her properly. I hope he hasn’t lured my girls across the road to his farm.

So we wandered further up the road towards our place and when we got to the bottom of the hill where my three girls had been scratching and pecking among the trees, there they were. All present and accounted for. They were making their way back up the hill as it was nearing their bedtime.

So King George is two timing his remaining flock (possibly of one), or maybe he is just visiting for the food treats. I did notice the other day that he has learnt to use my girl’s feeder. But then he does spend much of the day here. I wonder if his remaining flock miss him and will she / they end up following him over here?


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A rooster has made himself at home at our place

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I have some really good news. Harry Hen-boy has found a new home.

But I also have some not so good news. Look at the above photo. Can you see a rooster? That is not Harry Hen-boy. That is a rooster from the farm across the road (same farm that Hannah Hen came from). He was living across the road on the farm and when he lost his girls to the local hawk, he decided to come across the road and spend the day with my girls. He still goes back to his farm to sleep and we never hear him crow.

We don’t want a rooster. That’s why we let Harry and Howie Hen-boy go to new homes.

But my husband and I agreed that this massive rooster can stay as long as he abides by the following rules:
1) He doesn’t crow in the early hours of the morning
2) He is gentle with my girls
3) He is not aggressive in ANY way

If any of the above rules are broken, my farmer friend across the road will be getting a call to have his rooster turned into dinner.