Monday, August 11, 2008

That Sinking Feeling

"Hey lady! Where's the WATER?"

Day One of my vacation was somewhat busy for me. I woke at 9 which is uncharacteristically early for me, but I seized the opportunity to get some things done around the house. I put the ducklings out in the grass next to the back deck and gave them their food and water, plus a bowl of water to play in. They thoroughly enjoyed their time outside and I didn't bring them in until 7 p.m.! I think they grew since morning too.

When Jim got home we headed to Perrysburg to pick up a huge display case and some slat board from a "Linens & Things" that was going out of business. It's good quality stuff and Jim got a good bargain on it all. He's putting it in his gun shop to help display items. The display case was used for kitchen knives and it will work well in a gun shop. We borrowed my father-in-law's truck to bring everything home. On the way back from from returning the truck to him, a young buck ran in front of us on the bridge. This is a long pair of bridges that span the Toussaint River that borders the family property. Jim saw it coming well before it was too late but we still bumped him with the truck hard enough to knock him off his feet. Since he couldn't escape from us by jumping into the river he ran ahead of us until we got clear of the river, then he jumped into the ditch! What was really scary was there were two cars coming at us from the opposite direction and I wasn't sure if they could see the deer too. I kept elbowing Jim and telling him to high-beam the oncoming cars so they would slow down and not hit the deer.

Deer are STUPID and not cute at all. I've hit two in my lifetime. There are no large predators in our state to keep them thinned and I think there should be a year-round open season on deer in Ohio. PERIOD!

I have come to the very painful conclusion that keeping four roosters in the flock is out of the question. Just this week Roo has become very aggressive to little Silver and I am genuinely concerned for his safety. I have also seen Hector the Australorp display typical rooster behavior. Now don't get me wrong, I fully understand the function of a rooster and I'm not anti-rooster. I am, however, responsible for the well-being of the entire flock and must quickly decide what action to take. Penning the extra roosters separately is not an option so the reality is which three are going to end up on the table?

Everyone likes Silver because he's the snazzy medium-sized Hamburg with the pretty feathers. He's smaller than the girls and they don't really take him seriously, something that keeps him from becoming domineering with them. I have a feeling it's going to be the three heavy breed roosters that will have to go. I can't tolerate the constant fighting, chasing and screaming. I've seen Roo grab Silver by the neck feathers and not let go. Silver's neck is starting to look tattered and he refuses to come into the run if he sees Roo in it. Enough is enough!

Never again will I order roosters. They are more trouble than they're worth, unless you want to have them for breeding purposes.

Now, for more pleasant things...check out the ducklings enjoying a warm bath in the sink! They are intrigued by the water pouring from the faucet and they try to bite it. I would recommend ducks to anyone with the means to keep their desire for water satisfied, ideally a farm pond. I wouldn't have ducks here if I didn't have the pond. It would be cruel to deprive them of what waterfowl need to thrive. At the rate the ducklings are growing it won't be long before they'll be swimming in the pond.

Another interesting thing about ducks is they can't stand to be separated from each other. When I transfer them from their cage to the sink for bath time they peep loudly to each other as if to say, "Where are you?" Even if I only take two from the group, the others will call incessantly until they are all back together again. Ducks are wonderful birds, dedicated to each other to the point of affection.

video

6 comments:

  1. I think you're right. The ducklings have grown overnight! The video is cute!

    Boy, I can imagine the scene with the roosters! I'm getting a little tired of just one with the constant crowing and picking on the hens. He seems to be getting worse on a daily basis. I'm sure that's the natural course of things, but just makes me on edge thinking about the rough treatment the girls will be getting once he's fully mature. I hate to think about doing it, but I'm afraid he might have to go. I don't know how upset the girls would be losing their fearless leader, but I assume they will adjust. Then again, I hate to upset the balance of the flock. I don't know. I'm really on the fence. Your thoughts?

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  2. Susan, I don't think it would upset the balance of the flock. I tihnk the most dominant hen would assume the role of leader. I also think they would be much more relaxed without a rooster around to constantly harrass them. I've heard it said that if you don't need a rooster, don't keep one. They don't know they're birds; they think they're bulls! Also, you have small children at your place regularly and anything "new" or "different" (small visitors) can be seen as a threat to a rooster, who might then attack the "threat". Just a thought. Honestly, I think I'd get rid of any annoying rooster just to have peace of mind. In my book, if you aren't enjoying your birds, then you should make changes to correct that.

    I've also heard that keeping a small bantam rooster with heavy breed hens is a good compromise. The smaller rooster can't harrass the girls as easily and they won't take him seriously anyway. Just an idea! There are several very pretty bantam breeds to choose from. I might try one myself if anything ever happens to Silver.

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  3. It looks like the little ducklings are thriving Amy! They are beautiful. My Mom used to tell us stories of the rooster they used to keep with the chickens they raised when she was a young girl. He was nasty and they named him "Gangbuster". He used to chase them when they went to collect the eggs and peck holes in their leggings. He ended up being the featured protien on the Sunday table when he pecked my Gram...the wrong person to mess with!

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  4. I had originally ordered a straight-run of BOs from the farm store... which would have worked out pretty good, I think. Butcher about half of the roosters while still somewhat young (and while they gained weight quickly), and keep the other half (hens) for eggs. But, farm store ordered all pullets, with one rooster thrown in. :(

    I'm planning to keep George through the winter, so we can hopefully hatch a brood of chicks in spring. But, if he harasses the ladies too much, or shows any aggression towards people, we'll have chicken for dinner!

    Your photos, as always, sure are cute. Love those ducks. :)

    Ron

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  5. Mare, sounds like that rooster bit off more than he could chew! LOL Roosters are a pain in the patoot!

    Ron, I am keeping my fingers crossed for you that George has good manners. When chickens mature, their personalities change overnight and that goes for the girls too. It's bittersweet!

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  6. I'm sorry you're having rooster trouble Amy, but the sad truth is, mature roosters just will not get along. Too much competition, and their nature is to fight for their territory. (and hens)
    We had and Australorp Rooster (which we ordered) but McMurray sent us Hamburger as our free chick... we wound up keeping Hamburger and getting rid of the Australorp because he was so rough with the hens. (and Hamburger.)
    I think Silver would be my pick for a keeper- he will treat your hens very well.

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