*** Just a quick public service announcement…. yes we are still home. If you read my blog through a feed reader you might have had an odd post pop up last night that said we were leaving today. That was just a glitch in my pre-posting schedule… so you should get that post again tomorrow night, right before we leave for real. Sorry everyone… now back to the regularly scheduled blogging.****
It seems we have bad luck with roosters.
Our first rooster – Red the Randy Rooster (who was white) met his maker after his second head to head battle with Foxy Loxy only 6 months after we got him. It took us more than a year to decide to get another rooster and even longer to get our hands on the particular breed we wanted, but eventually we were gifted ‘Aladdin’ a majestic Wyandotte Rooster. He was young and fairly friendly and just gorgeous. He was a little on the whimpy side, still being hen pecked by some of the old Isa’s weeks after he arrived and he never did get it together enough to crow… but then that could have been because he was sick.
About a month after we got him we found him stumbling about, not able to hold his wings up. We popped him in a nice warm box of shredded paper and fed him up while I googled. We are pretty sure he had Marek’s disease, which by all accounts is not good. We gave him some golden seal and vitamins just in case it was some kind of infection and he seemed to come good… He was walking again, feeding and even doing the deed with a few of the smaller hens, but he was still dragging one wing a little.
We hoped he might be ok… but we found him the other day unable to walk again. He’d been on the floor of the ‘day house’ (the chooks have two houses in their run, but for some reason they all choose to sleep in one and hang out in the other on hot or wet days) and had scrapped all the skin off his toes on the concrete floor trying to get up. Poor guy…. he’d fought a good fight but we decided we needed to do the right thing and let him go, so the Baldy Boy put him out of his misery.
It was sad to see him go… not only because he was a lovely rooster, but also because we have a very clucky Wyandotte hen (Jasmin – Alladin’s princess) who now has no chance of anything hatching from her eggs. Plus Marek’s disease is nasty…. it is possible we will loose all of our chooks to it.
Yesterday we found a hen who was not looking good – one of the ‘fluff head twins’. We have been looking after her but she got rapidly worse during the day and by the afternoon couldn’t even hold her head up. We decided we needed to let her go as well.
The girls asked if they could watch her being dispatched. I was a bit uncertain about that initially. We talked to them about how it would happen, that there would be blood and they asked a few questions about whether it would hurt the chook and what happens after it is dead. They were still keen to watch and while I know some of you must think I am nuts, I did let them.
I feel quite strongly that if we can’t kill our own animals (at this stage we only have chooks) and eat them then we shouldn’t eat meat at all and going along with that theory I don’t think we should shield our children from the process either. It was done as humanely as possible, for a good reason and I don’t think we have scarred our children for life by letting them be a part of it…. but I guess we won’t know that for sure until they start therapy as adults and it all comes out….he he he
Hopefully we won’t loose all of our chooks to this plague but there is a good possibility we will. Even if we don’t loose them all, I think those that don’t die from it will at least be carriers of the disease. So any new chooks we get, if we get yet another new rooster, could possibly become infected from being in contact with them and we’d be back where we started from. We are left not really sure where we stand or exactly what we should do.
Just when we were happy with the number of hens and eggs and ready to have some chicks of our own, the plague strikes us down. It is a cruel cruel world.