Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Alls calm on in the chicken coop....now

Well it has been a rough few days.  I merged the flocks together and expected some pecking and ordering to be going on.  I did not however expect to see what all had happened as was posted in my last post.  This has never happened to me before.  I watched the flock and seen first hand what was going on.

The Comets were taking pecking order to a whole new level.  I was never too fond of the Comets and this behavior just sealed the deal for me.  As much as I do not like killing my chickens I could not stand by and let them kill the new hens.  They pecked apart 4 of them and 1 of those actually died as a result of the pecking.  They pecked her complete lower back/butt clear through to her bones.  At that point I had enough and started rounding up the 4 Comets.  One of them seemed ok so I let her live.  I took each one out of the coop and killed her using the broomstick method.

I do not have any pictures of this process, as it is a two hand process and I was alone doing it.  It is part of chicken ownership so I will describe it here.

Once the chicken perp is sentenced to death and caught, lay the perp down on the ground on their belly. Place the broomstick or other thin board (I use a furring strip of lumber) across their neck.  Stand on the stick on either side of the perp's head and pull up on their legs.  This stretches their neck under the pressure of the stick and kills them.  You will feel and sometimes hear 3 pops.  You can stop after the 3 pops.  If you do not stop you will rip their head clear off and that causes a bloody mess.  I quickly grab the perp's wings and hold them close to the body until the flapping and jerking stops.  Some folks will just lop their heads off and let them flap or run around.  To me that is a terrible thing to do....so inhumane.  I try my best to treat the bird with dignity by not decapitating them, and also holding their wings tight until it is all over.

I seriously do not like killing my birds.  I have finally gotten to the point that I no longer cry over it, but I do sulk and brood over it for a while while I dispose of the body and move on.  I killed 3 Comets and the rooster that day.  I really hoped that taking these bullies out would calm things down.

I went out the next morning and watched the last Comet, Phyllis, go around to several of the new and a few of the old ones and just peck them all hard in the butt.  My patients were shot!  I was so infuriated with Phyllis, I stormed into the coop grabbed her and broomsticked  her so fast the youngins did not even know what happened!

I sprayed the hurt one's areas with the purple spray again and checked on the ones I sprayed previously.  Again my hand is stained purple.  That is ok - at least I know I am taking care of my birds.  I am now down to 1 old easter egger, Fuzzy, 3 old Rhode Island Reds, Red, Lucky, and Curious,  and 23 new birds - a mix of ester eggers, astrolopes, and lace wyndots.  I am sure I did not spell those correctly.

To end this post on a good note - things do seem calmer in the coop now.  Everyone seems to be getting along and the stress is leaving the girls.  I am only getting 2 eggs a day now from the 4 old hens that are left.  Two of the new girls have started laying now.  I am getting a tiny green egg and now a tiny blue egg from the easter eggers. They all kinda look green in this picture but the are different colors.  They are  so small they knock around in the carton.

It is just a matter of time before they all start laying.  All we can do is take care of them and wait.

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