Nugget - Splash Orpington Rooster
It's been a rough year to be a chicken around here. We started out with 8 chickens - 5 adults; a blue orp rooster, a buff orp hen, a blue orp hen, a lavendar orp hen and a Jersey Giant hen plus the 3 chicks we hatched in early spring. We're now down to 3 of those and it's only July. And one of those is injured so maybe it's closer to 2 1/2 ???
First the coop was left open one night - gone - my handsome rooster and one of the hens. I never could keep straight which of my hens was blue and which was lavendar but one of them, Lilly, was gone. (Side note: Don't give the closing up of the coop at night as a chore to a kid with ADD. Bad idea.) Then on separate occasions 2 of the hatchlings got into the dog yard and that was that. What the dogs didn't consume the pigs did later than night although the pigs have never gone after a live chick and don't kill for sport the way dogs will. At least mine don't.
Sky - either a blue or lavendar Orpington
Next on the "oh no, my poor chickens" list, one of my adult hens, either the blue or lavendar hen...which ever she is that survived the spring coop mayhem, got mauled - twice....not once mind you, but twice by a dog. She hadn't fully gotten over the first attack and was nailed again. This time the dog dug into the chicken yard. Sky's been in a crate now for 2 weeks and she's just starting to be able to stand again. I thought for awhile, I would have to finish what the dog started but alas thankfully, she's on the mend. The dog on the other hand is now in need of a new home. I can forgive them for their instinctual behavior when the chickens are going to them but not so much when they are digging into the chickens yard.
Gwen - Jersey Giant
Then there's Gwen. Gwen has been here the longest along with Bonnie, the buff orp. I got them in my first Murry McMurry order a few years back. Gwen being a Jersey Giant can not move fast. This is a breed of chicken I would never get again. She can't even get up a couple of steps without great difficulty. And it takes her twice as long to get anywhere as it does the rest of the chickens. Her body is just too big for those legs. I had read about this when getting them but didn't fully understand how that would translate to life in general. Lets just say it's not an easy life being a Jersey Giant. They would make great meat birds but I only wanted layers.
Nugget, the lone survivor of the three hatchlings from spring, wasn't a kind and nurturing rooster to his girls. He was ruthless. He was young though and he may have learned as he matured to be the kind of rooster I'm used to; friendly, self sacrifing, nurturing and concerned for his girls. Poor Gwen got the brunt of his ruthlessness. In the photo above she's missing a bunch of back feathers...normal when you have limited hens and a rooster, but her comb is gone in the back and she's always got these sores on her head from him tearing pieces off along with any feathers in close proximity. She tries to get away but can't. He he's like a kid with a new toy... just can't put it down or stop himself. Bonnie is agile and got lots of attitude to boot so she would just chased Nugget off but poor Gwen couldn't. Bonnie would even try to help out Gwen and chase him from her too when she was close by. In the end though I had to intervine and say bye to Nugget. He was sent off to a new home to help them spread that blue gene of his. Hopefully for those hens he'll learn to be a kinder rooster.
And then there were 3.
And then there were 3.