Thursday, May 3, 2012

Saddle Up!


"'Cause I saddle up my horse and I ride into the city!
I make a lot of noise 'cause the girls, they are so pretty!
Riding up and down Broadway on my old stud Leroy,
And the girls say...
'Save a horse, ride a HEN?'"

I really hate to admit this, but we need to address the issue that is Foghorn Shawhan. The above Big & Rich lyrics are his theme song and have been for quite some time. I purposely did not add a photo to this post for two reasons: ONE if it's not mine I have to credit the source and I'm not 100% sure how to do it 100% correctly. TWO my hens have not been photogenic for a few months now. (I don't need PETA on my farm...)

My poor hens have not had feathers on their backs for a few months. Several reasons ran through my mind: they were molting, they had bugs/lice/mites, something was lacking in their diets. After all they don't get the roam of the property anymore like last summer. They were such beautiful birds...but I don't believe pain is beauty. As in I'm not going to watch the destruction of my flower beds for the chickies to have beautiful feathers blowing in the breeze...

So after some wonderful Google research...what would we do without Google and Youtube?...I found out that the above was not the problem at all. My problem is a nymphomaniac  rooster! (YES people, this is a SEX post...cover the children's eyes, but I live with farm animals after all and the birds and bees gets seen and discussed as casually as the weather.)

I try to correlate the time of the weasel massacre with the disappearance of feathers. I know I named Molt because of that...she looked like she was molting and maybe she honestly was. We have 2 roosters for only 9 hens...maybe that doesn't satisfy them enough. My fear is that Flock 2 will get raped the second they walk into the big girl pen and I don't want them damaged because of that. If that can happen...

So the answer for the feather loss, according to the trustworthy Internet, is over-breeding. A rooster's spurs can cause damage too, especially if the feathers aren't there to protect the skin. Plus the birds look like crap. Some say you can trim the spurs...but that won't cure the over-breeding problem. And I really don't want to try and even touch Foghorn. Chaz doesn't intimidate me as much.

The solution? I can order chicken saddles to put on my birds that strap on and cover the back promoting feather re-growth and spur protection. Do I do this at $5 a pop? That's $45 for my adult hens. (Plus shipping and handling. Then if it's Fed-Exed and I'm not home, my "saddles" end up at the neighbors, who think I'm a freak for ordering "saddles", or the post office where I have to go in and ask to pick up my "saddles"...sounds a little dirty doesn't it? Basically a "sex saddle"...I know what you perverts are thinking!)

I'm not sure that adding the newbies will help or not. It may help take the work load off Flock 1. It also seems to be condoning the rooster's actions. (Knowing Foghorn he'd think it would be kinky...HAHAHAHA..sorry.)

OR I can have me some chicken dinner....

While I wait for my answer, Foghorn Shawhan is on probation. He has installed a slight fear in me, which is not good. He came after me that one night collecting eggs, though he didn't actually attack me. He ran after Dan one morning even though Foghorn was in the kennel and Dan was outside. I even get a little nervous opening the door for them in the mornings because it's usually a rooster that comes out first. (I think Chaz steps out first.) I really don't want our chicken-sitter, Kaleb, going in one night and getting attacked. And I don't want my new babies getting torn up by him either. And OK...sometimes I yell at him to shut up because the crowing gets old!

Dan's solution is to take him on a little drive to Eli our Amish chicken farmer down the road and get him processed for dinner. While I'm partially on board for that I still have a hard time with it. I did, after all, raise him from a chick. It wouldn't be much different than when the others got killed...he's still my little boy! So what to do, what to do...$45 dollars isn't all that much...

"'Cause I saddle up my Percheron and I ride out of the driveway!
I make a lot of noise 'cause the girls, they are so pretty!
Riding up and down Sinking Spring on my old stud Charlie,
And the girls say...
'Save a horse, ride a Foghorn!
What? What?
Save a horse, ride a Foghorn!'"

                                                                               ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

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