Sunday, January 9, 2011

Drama in the Big Henhouse

There is something going on in the big henhouse, and it's not nice.

We think Baby Rambo, now called Rambo, is beating up the little roosters.  Those of you who keep chickens will laugh... we have far too many roosters here, but you have to understand that his daddy, Rambo, our Buff Orpington rooster, kept everyone in line peacefully.  If he saw a little rooster mounting a hen, then he would hip-check the little rooster like a hockey player, and the little one would run off squawking... no blood.  Rarely did we have any true altercations, with bleeding etc.  Every once in a while there would be trouble... we had to re-home Barney and Betty, a purebred buff brahma bantam pair, because after two years Barney started getting the brunt of everyone's ire.  Then, sadly, two years ago we lost mighty Rambo, dead of natural causes.

There are only two of his get left, as Fred, the Japanese bantam, was far more prolific until he died in the dog attack.  One is Birdy, hatched by Helen, our turkey hen, who has always been a flighty girl.  She will be four this year.  The other is Baby Rambo, from the very last hatch of big chicken eggs.  He has become a nice rooster... not golden like his daddy, but nice all the same, from one of our Wyandotte hens while they still layed, we think.
Thursday, when we got home from work, we found Butch bloodied. 
We would not have been so amazed at this, but Butch lost an eye in a fight over a year ago, and has lived since then in the feed room of the big henhouse.  He goes outside only when I put him in the dogpen in the chicken yard, where no one can hurt him.  
The only way up to him is at the very top of the dividing wall, where there is an opening that several hens cross daily to come and lay eggs on the feed room side.
The culprit who hurt him either crossed back over, or Butch had crossed to the roost side, and then came back.
You can see the dividing wall behind Keith and Butch.

We kept Butch in the rabbit hutch for 24 hours, because we thought we were going to have to put Neosporin all over his head to open up his one good eye (opposite what you see here).  However, it opened up on it's own in 24 hours. 
And on closer inspection... I found this:

Note bloody comb...

You can't tell, but these two have blood on them, too.

Rambo has gotta go.
We have never deliberately had to cull a perfectly healthy rooster before... and he is a good guardian to the hens... but I love my bantams and we just are not going to tolerate Peace by Might.  If it keeps up, Rambo is going to disappear one night.  We have a friend who butchers, and when approached yesterday, told us that if the weather let up a little, she would do the dirty for us (paid of course).  If not, and there are more injuries, Keith will take care of it.

We know we need to cut down on roosters, and that would be a start.  We are hoping to ship off any new ones to some local workmen... but that will be for this coming year.  Right now, we are just about full up on boys.


  1. Yup, looks like the guys are battling. We just went through our chickens and butchered a ton of young roosters. Things are much calmer now in the chicken coop.

  2. mary ann, what a dilemma! i don't think i could do that, i am such a chicken (no pun intended!) i hope the person who culls will be gentle and quick. your poor babies getting all bloody, that is awful but i don't have chickens so i have no clue what you all put up with. i think i would just have hens for eggs. thank you so much for listing farm tails, just noticed! i will be sure to listyou on my blog list. it is so much easier to keep up with everyone on that list! ;-) take care and stay warm!

  3. Goodness- you do have a drama on your hands, Mary Ann! I know you hate to get rid of a good roo, but sometimes it's for the best. I know from my owning some myself that he poor little japs are so short-legged they have a hard time putting up a good fight.

  4. What a problem. Have you and Keith put on your referee shirts lately? Love, Mary G.

  5. We have 4 and they are all in separate kennels. My husband threatens them all the time, but as long as I breath he knows he can't do anything to them.


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