Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Back Porch Rooster

Doesn't everyone have a back porch rooster? No? Well, today's blog is about my back porch rooster. His name is Roosty Roo. I know. Original, but hey I try to keep it simple around here. I stopped naming the hens a long time ago. Too many of them, and they look alike, so I can't tell them apart anyway.

Back to my back porch rooster. How did he become a back porch rooster you ask? Well, last summer I noticed one day that he came up lame. I wondered if he had bumble foot, but I couldn't see that anything looked amiss, and his foot kept getting bigger and bigger and he kept getting lamer and lamer. I finally relented and took him to the vet. That was an expensive experience. They did all kinds of tests and x-rays and said: "Well, we can't really tell you why, but it looks like he's always going to have this swollen foot; but we could do surgery on it and scrape out all the swelling that has turned to a cottage cheese like substance". Oh yeah, I say? And how much will that be and what are the risks and recovery, etc. "Oh, it will be around $800 and he'll have a big, open wound that will eventually heal over with time. You'll need to doctor it everyday and change bandages, but that will only be for a couple of months". UUUUUHHHH, I don't think so! I love my rooster and all but.....

We finally settled on us giving him twice daily tubings of pain medication and antibiotics. Plus, soaking in epsom salts. The vet taught us how to tube him without killing him.... or so we thought. Anyway, after a few days of tubing the poor guy, he was so overwrought with it that one morning he decided to put up a fight when I tubed him.  Right about the time I was stuffing that tube down his throat. You have to be careful that it goes in the right hole at the back of the throat because chickens and birds have 2 holes: one to the esophagus and one to the lungs. Get the medication in the wrong hole and you force liquid down into the lungs. Of course, the chances of them dying of pneumonia then is pretty high. I managed to get half of the liquid down the wrong hole that morning. I thought he was a goner for sure! I called the vet crying asking if I had just killed my rooster. They said if he is breathing without gurgling too bad that maybe he had a chance. He didn't seem to be gurgling though (OK, maybe a little), so we just watched him carefully for the next couple of days, and he lived. BUT, I decided then and there - NO MORE TUBING! If this rooster lives, then we are going to find another approach. He lived. The vet tried convincing me he would be in pain and I should just put him down. I had already spent an ungodly amount of money on him at the vet, so I wanted to give him a chance and see if he improved at all. He did.

I now live with the rooster on my back porch at night. He limps around during the day in his chicken yard, separated from the main flock and the big, bad alpha rooster. I alternate putting a couple of girls in with him each day so he feels like a rooster again. But Roosty Roo gets around pretty good. He is even back into mounting his girls, just not like he used to be able to do. A little awkward, but he seems to be happy enough. He doesn't seem to be in pain, and has accepted the way he is. He is pretty special to me. Every night, I go put his girls to bed with the main flock, and tell him it's time to come inside for the night. Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
He waddles up to the house with me and goes into his "nightie night crate".
He gets his treat for the night (usually some scratch with some meal worms mixed in), and when I close his door on the crate he always tells me "night night" in his chicken chuckle voice.
 Photobucket He has a fantastic crow; you should hear it in an enclosed porch!   He always seems to be in great spirits and is quite alert and has gained a lot of his weight back (he did lose some at the beginning of all this).  He was a free bird I got several years ago, and the people I got him from had no idea how old he was.  I think he is pretty old, and the vet actually agreed with me on that.  He is a mix of Ameracauna and Golden Laced Wyandotte.  He's very pretty and very big.  Anyway, he's a good boy and lets me pick him up and never tries to peck at or attack me.  I love putting him in my lap and stroking his head and back feathers while he takes a nap, comfy as you please.  He's a cool bird.  He would get beat up by the alpha rooster if I didn't separate them.  So..........that's why I now have a back porch rooster.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it! 

Good night all !

1 comment:

  1. I'm nosing around through your archives, having nothing else to do on my lunch hour. This story makes me smile. I had a half Silkie hen, Michelle, who lived to be 14 years old. Her last 2 winters we kept her in a cat carrier next to our woodstove at night. She'd come to the back door when it was time to go to bed. Chickens can be remarkably affectionate if they have the opportunity. I think it's sad that many people will never know that. Thanks for spreading the word.