I usually don’t really grow “close” to any of my poultry. Many will end up on the menu in the near future. Sure, I have a few that I pay more attention to than others. My French Black Copper Maran Rooster is one of them, and a couple of tiny Old English Game birds that I keep a close eye on, and of course my “indoor rooster” who, I admit, I coddle more than I should. He’s an indoor rooster after all…
But then there is Fugly. I never intended to have “feelings” for him. Heck, he was supposed to be my dinner at one point. But Fugly grew, and thrived, and took really good care of his flock of lady hens. So I didn’t eat him. He’s won many battles with other roosters. He had his poor feathered ass kicked so badly one time that he had to spend an entire week in my house recuperating. He lost so much blood that his normally rose-red neck and comb had paled to a light pinkish-white. I truly didn’t believe he was going to pull through that one, but he did. Needless to say, I ate the rooster that fought with him.
That was the turning point when I really started to develop my soft spot for Fugly. After spending that week in my mudroom, he became a different bird. All of a sudden he trusted me, and started following me around the barn while I did my chores. I was now considered “cool” in the chicken world. At least I like to imagine that’s the case. Allow me to run with my delusional thoughts, okay?
Fugly was born the day before Easter in 2012. A rooster’s average lifespan is 5-7 years. A 12 month old chicken is equal to a 19 year old human, a two year old chicken is equal to a 27 year old human, and from then on the chicken’s age is multiplied by 10, in comparison to a human’s age. Are you with me? A seven year old chicken is equal to a 70 year old human. Fugly is five years old. That’s 50 in human years. Not real old, but not a spring chicken anymore for sure. Especially if you’ve spent those five years getting your ass kicked trying to protect your lady hens.
These days, Fugly waits by the feed container in the tack room at feeding times, because he knows I’ll give him his own personal bowl of food that no one else can have. I’m a sucker. He also sleeps in that room each night in a warm pile of hay. He no longer can roost due to his bad feet.
He also has bad days when it’s extra cold out. He mopes about like every bone in his body aches. I learned that you can give a 5-7 lb. chicken a half a baby aspirin each day to help with pain. Just not Ibuprofen or Tylenol – it might kill them. I’m not sure if he will take the aspirin very well, but I’m going to give it a try to ease his aches and pains.
Clearly, Fugly is mostly miserable these days. I’m struggling with the decision to put him down now or later this fall. He’s lived a noble life. I’m hoping he can enjoy one last summer.
I will definitely miss him when he’s gone. As an owner of livestock, it’s a farmer’s responsibility not to let their animals suffer, and also make the hard decision to put an animal down if it’s necessary. I have to keep a close eye on him and decide when this time will be. And if you are wondering, Fugly will not be my dinner or anyone else’s – he’ll get a proper burial. Maybe even a headstone.
C’mon now! Wipe that teardrop off your cheek and let’s move on to Sweet Pea…
We’re down to 28 days until her supposed due date – IF she’s pregnant. I still can’t tell if she is, or if she isn’t. And she’s not helping either. I’ve begged, bargained, and pleaded with her to tell me, but she just stares blankly like I’m some kind of delusional moron. Then goes back to eating hay…
They say that a goat carries the baby on her right side, and their very large stomach, which is split into four compartments, rests more on the left side of the goat. So the right side is where to look for baby movement. I’m not sure this is true, but whatever.
There is also an abdominal test you can do, which I found here on YouTube. Luckily, I have a goat that is not pregnant, so I can squeeze both of the girl’s bellies to see if one feels more tight or squishy than the other. Tight means she’s likely to be pregnant. Squishy means she’s likely a freeloader.
I’m giving this method a try over the weekend. I may, or may not, be missing an eye and sporting several puncture wounds at work come Monday… ~A
P.S. If you are wondering how Fugly got his name, let’s just say it’s a combination of two words. I’ll leave it at that.
Thoughts? Comment Below!