I don’t think I mentioned our current menagerie yet. Mid August we acquired (finally) 4 ducks, 5 hens, 2 roosters and 1 chicken of undetermined sex. Our “undetermined” has been slowly moving from the hen to rooster category… “It” has spurs. That was all “It” had that made us wonder at first. We thought it was a hen. She’s a big girl with big comb and wattle. She’s very friendly… Though they’re all seeming to go a little more feral now that it’s been a good month since we got them. But It didn’t crow. Then we started to notice that after the rooster (one of them, we removed the other to a bachelor pad and he free ranges by himself all day) that’s penned with her mates someone, It would run over, during or at the end, bite the hens wattle and try to mount, sometimes pushing the rooster off. So far he seems to put up with all this. I figured oh, ok, it’s some sort of dominance thing. Then we started noticing It attempting mating without the rooster doing anything, but It always seems more violent about that business, so we still figured dominant hen. This week my husband noticed It crowing… Kind of. So now we’re unsure. I know in the absence of roosters a dominant hen will emerge and sometimes take up all the rooster functions including crowing, but we’ve got a rooster. Two in fact. And they were getting so nasty with each other that we had to separate them- and our “It” and rooster seem to get along just fine. I haven’t seen rooster mate with It, but I have seen him do his mating dance to her/him (I call it his flamenco routine).
This is our first go at chicken or duck keeping. We’re learning as we go.
The other news is regarding my longtime pet cockatiels. I came home from work and Husband told me “little chicken doesn’t look right.” Yes, she was already named chicken, or rather Chicken Junior, CJ for short. I acquired her with that name (apparently named after her mother, Chicken Senior, and apt naming as she has proved to be an avid egg layer). Inspection showed CJs vent clogged with stool and she didn’t look that happy. I soaked her butt in some warm water to clean it off, and noticed it was distended. Put her in her transport box with towels and watched. Then I saw the straining. Poor thing. Pushing and pushing and you could even see the shape of an egg.
I’ve always worried about egg binding having a bird who loves to lay. I’ll let you know now, you know it when you see it. So I steamed up the bathroom and got her some heat packs. I took some mineral oil on a Qtip and did my best to lube up the vent. I forced some water down with a syringe in case she was getting dehydrated. Then I watched and waited. Nothing. Straining or pathetic-ness. My poor little bird. I gave her some food and millet and she picked around at what would normally be her favorite treat.
Please keep in mind THIS IS A BIRD EMERGENCY. I made the decision that since we live rurally and the “bird vet” I found in town isn’t really a bird vet (he’s more comfortable with big chickens and livestock or traditional pets), that I would wait it out and take her in in the morning – egg or no egg. It’s risky and I barely slept all night.
Luckily I woke up to a live bird. She even hissed at me and on we went to town and the vet. Less than two hours with him in the heated ICU box with humidifiers and KY jelly up her butt and out came the giant egg. Poor thing. He confirmed I did everything I could but couldn’t quite achieve the conditions that he could for optimal egg passage.
Little Chicken must be hearing those big Chickens laying eggs everyday and decided she’s gotta keep up! Let’s just hope this doesn’t happen again.
If you’ve got any input on transsexual chickens or egg binding episodes please share!