Meet Muddie our newest Holland Lop doe.
She's super sweet and a broken tort out of Batton Rabbitry's lines.
So I was reading an article this morning and it was discussing Rooster temperament and many people had different opinions on the subject.
One lady was telling her story and I could completely visualize what she was going through. I've been. We've done it. She was describing her sweet Rooster who one day flipped. She resorted to going everywhere with her broom. Her kids were terrified. So were her dogs. Her hens were brutalized. They lived as prisoners in their own home. People told her to get rid of him, butcher him, try to retrain him. Nothing worked and she didn't have the heart to destroy him but finally did.
If I had read that story even 3 years ago I would have been disgusted. As an animals lover and dog rescuer I would have written her off as cruel, uninformed. I would have said she could have tried other things before resorting to THAT.
Then I recalled why I could so vividly picture this woman. Because I was once her. That's right. Our first Rooster was purposeful. He was a Buff Orpington and grew to be the largest and most gorgeous bird I have ever seen. I named him Patron. It was fitting. I like tequila and he had the stature of a Mexican Drug Lord the way he watched over the hens. He would constantly move them, hustle them, beat them if they came into the coop after he crowed at dusk. I'm not kidding. One evening I went out and one of Penelope's babies, now a young pullet, was frantic but refused to go in the coop. I could not figure out why. Then I saw him. Peering outside of the trap door. Watching. Waiting. I coaxed her in and it happened. Her beating for being late. He was a tyrant. Half of my hens were wearing aprons to cover their backs from where he would rip out their feathers during mating. We had to watch our backs just to get eggs. One summer day he got me so good I had a chicken foot print bruise on my thigh. And don't get me started on the kids. They wouldn't even come outside. Everyone was afraid. And I mean really afraid. Tears of terror would burst out if they had to go out when he was free ranging. The first question they would ask when they got home from school was "are you going to let Patron out". I kept telling them they needed go get over it. Show him they weren't afraid. Teach him who's boss. I began reading up on rooster behavior training (yea I know). I began working with him. Nothing helped. We began having battles in the yard over territory. You wanna feel good about defending yourself? Drop kick a chicken who keeps coming back for more like Terminator.
Then finally it hit me. Why were we doing this? Why were we letting him take over our farm, our lives? It wasn't worth it. So Patron got a date set to pack his bags for Freezer Camp.
I have never looked back since and it taught me a valuable lesson. I have only 2 requirements of my Roosters and that is that they keep my hens eggs fertile and that they play nice. I don't give chances. If they attack me or my kids, They get a butcher date. Right now I have 5 roosters. Not only do they all get along with each other but their interaction with the hens is different. Everyone is at peace. The Roos sleep along side each other on the roost at night. The hens will lay in the yard and appear relaxed and the only ones wearing aprons are the older ones still trying to heal their original wounds which I'm guessing at this point was permenant damage.
Not too long ago I found this sign at a store. Of course I actually laughed out loud at the words "Good Morning Sunshine" and the extra large picture of a Buff Orpington. It is now hanging in my kitchen.
Well, I finally thought I had this new extra large Brinsea OvaEasy down. That is, until last night when I candled my newest batch of 24 eggs at Day 7. They were all fertile (yay!), every single one of them but...they had a mysterious splotchy, clear spot on all of them. I had never seen this before. It wasn't a blood ring, I know what that looks like. So what was it?
Of course I set out putting in every google search I could find. Contaminated eggs? I doubt it. I sanitize the incubator thoroughly after each hatch. Temp to high? Couldn't be. Last hatch and the previous 6 before that did fine. Humidity too high in early development? Possibly. Last hatch was a day late but.... No blood ring to show death.
After an hour of google searches on incubation failure it hit me...I may be the cause of this. In the last 5 hatches since I got the OvaEasy I hated how the eggs rolled in their tray during turning. I was worried they would bump and possibly crack, scramble the embryo, or roll out. So...for this particular tray I locked them in. Thought it would be fine. What I did as cause them to not turn properly causing the yolk to basically stick to the membrane. Great....
I am leaving the eggs (now properly restored to their rolling ways) in for a few more days in hopes that it's not too late since I didn't see a blood ring. If development hasn't progressed then I will pull them.
On a slightly brighter note their is 1 egg out of the 24 that doesn't show this sign. One of my D'Uccle eggs. But.. We have another issue. It is a twin. The first time I have actually viewed 2 embryos inside an egg. From what I have read however, it is very rare for twins to ever progress to hatching. Let's hope on a miracle ;)
Here's a look inside. It's not the best quality but if you look close you can see a dark circle to the left and another to the right. They are both attached to blood vessels and moving.
I am a 2nd grade teacher by day and a full time farm wife by evening (and weekends and the summer!).