Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I work as an environmental educator, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun. To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!


Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Cock fighting!

I went out yesterday to put the chickens to bed and found Long John Silver Dorking with a bloody throat, looking very sorry for himself in the corner of the Broody Ark. His beautiful speckled white neck feathers were covered with blood, it looked dreadful and at first I feared the worst,( fox, cat, mink attack etc)

So, I picked him up, tucked him close up under my arm for comfort and carried him over to the garage, where there was better light and the chicken first aid kit lives. I examined Long John Silver and it transpired he only had a small wound on one of his wattles (the red bits of skin which hang down underneath the beak) and was fine everywhere else. Phew!

We put on some surgical gloves (I had a job as its hard to do with a chicken under your arm!) then Compostman opened the sterile saline sachet and wipes for me (as I had my hands full of Long John Silver!) and then I gently cleaned away all the blood and had a good look at the wound. It was actually not bad, a small nick only, just it had bled a lot! I puffed some Veterinary Wound powder on to the area and made sure there was no blood visible any more (as the other chickens will go for any bloody wound and peck at it). I wondered about putting on some Gentian Violet but decided not.

I then gentled poor old Long John Silver a bit, gave him some corn in my hand and petted him till he had calmed down, then put him in his run (with Ruby and Buffy to snuggle up to for company) for the night.

Compostman said he had seen Long John and Cap't Flint squaring up to each other earlier on, so it must have been as a result of a fight. I had already separated out the two cockerels a few days ago into separate runs and houses at night time because of their increased aggressiveness to each other. I had put Cap't Flint in the Eglu with Violet and Willow, Long John Silver had the Broody Ark with Ruby and Buffy

This did seem to have worked as they are only in there overnight and the rest of the time they have LOADS of space to avoid each other and the "big" hens!




My problem at the moment is the cockerels are still too young to dominate the big hens, who chase them and laugh at them, quite frankly!

My long term plan is to put let one cockerel have a harem in Cluckingham Palace and the other have a harem in the Eglu, and they can all just work it out! As there is plenty of space and enough hens this should work OK, I have seen it work quite happily before....but not until the cockerels are big enough to actually "persuade" the older hens that they WANT to be part of the harem!

So...in the meantime Cluckingham Palace is off limits because it is occupied by the "big girls" and I have to sort this out for myself...and make sure the cockerels are separated out at night.

Teenagers! Honestly!

9 comments:

  1. Blimey, I never realised so much was involved. Boys will be boys I guess. A friend of mine had two robins entangled with one another for HOURS one morning outside her home. One of them used to go inside her house to feed and he was not about to have a guest to dinner.
    I hope your boy recovers soon - poor boy :(

    Mrs g x

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  2. Heh heh! at the teenager comparison. Too true! We should have our black rock and amber star over the next month or two...I'm excited to get our first chickens! It's very interesting to read about yours :)

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  3. oh my gosh, I am not sure I could cope with that. I might frighten them by showing them the axe, as if to say, dont fight else you will get the chop!

    LOL

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  4. ha ha I have already warned them both they will be for the pot if I have any more nonsense!

    Seriously, it is my own fault for keeping them both, I really should have killed one, either when I realised on hatching I had 2 cockerels, ( their feathers are sex linked at hatching) or last week.... :-(

    But I actually want to rear them both and if all else fails I can sell one ....

    Hmmm who to chose tho'? Cap't Flint is bigger and better looking but LJS is very sweet and comes for a cuddle!

    Probably why he is getting whipped I guess!

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  5. Teenagers indeed! Mine are a lot happier now that they have been separated but it's a bloomin nuisance. I think it will be the pot this weekend, once I've figured out what I'm to do - and how!!

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  6. oh no, not your boys too, I've been hearing all about Jo's at Bring Me Sunshine. Glad you knew what to do, think I might've panicked on the sight of blood. Fingers crossed my 3 girls won't give me any of these sort of problems

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  7. We must have been very lucky - our boys never fought before they went into the freezer and we had nine through last year. I also had a good laugh when the girls gave them what for when they first made advances of the amorous type. The gils were having none of it and ran after the boys biting at their tail feathers.

    Rosie x

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  8. I just happened by through another blog and started looking at your playlist. I absoluteluy love everything you have on that list!
    I don't have chickens or roosters. I am hoping to get chickens later this spring.
    But no roosters, because the town I live in won't allow them!

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  9. Well, Long Jonh Silver is first to mount a hen! He jumped on Henny yesterday AND again this morning!

    Cap't Flint, despite being bigger, runs away from the big girls....

    They have started crowing now as well.............

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