Wilma The Wonder Hen Podcast

The Backyard Chicken Farm Report: Broody hens, Aggressive roosters, and Incubating geese

May 01, 2023 Melissa Season 3 Episode 46
Wilma The Wonder Hen Podcast
The Backyard Chicken Farm Report: Broody hens, Aggressive roosters, and Incubating geese
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Show Notes Transcript

Today's episode is a mash up of our "Heifer Farm Report!" We've had some fun things happen here and some very unpleasant, but necessary task.

 1. We talk about moving Shelby, Jack, & Spud to their new goose pen.
 2. All the broody hens one could ever need to repopulate the backyard.
 3. Aggressive rooster and what we had to do to correct the issue.
 4. Broody quail mama.
 5. Clover and her water belly diagnosis and veterinarian visit.
 6. Spring Coop clean out and repairs are underway.

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 Hey  riends! . Welcome back to another episode of Wilma, the Wonder Hen.  We are so grateful that you are here, and you may hear in the background various noises, which are gonna be Shelby and Jack, possibly spud, maybe Polly, the quail or pumpkin. It is a fun adventure around here. Today's podcast is all about the farm report, what has been going on here at the Heifer Farm.

We hope that through sharing our adventures, uh, different types of ailments and just an overall feel of what's going on here that you could relate. Maybe pick up a few tips or maybe you could share a few tips with us. As always, we are so grateful that you chose to listen to our podcast, and if you find value in it, if you share it with a friend, maybe leave us a review if you've not, uh, we do appreciate that and it does help our podcast Reach more listeners.

Hey y'all. I'm Mel and you are listening to Wilma The Wonder. He, all right, let's get started on this Farm Report. First up, we have Shelby, Jack and Spud. They're eight, eight and a half, nine weeks old now. They are almost fully feathered out. We are currently working on their little goose pin and uh, it's gonna be rough to transition them outside.
Uh, I don't want to see them go. We do hang out quite a bit together and we have definitely bonded. I do plan on putting Spud in there with them, but I think eventually he will transition to some of the other flock because he does show interest in hanging out with pumpkin and some of the other little girls.
So we may have to separate them only if they choose to, though. I mean, needs a girlfriend, so. We gotta dooo. It's right by my boy, and we've been greeted nearly every morning with Spuds Majestical crow. But if you know anything about roosters or cock rolls when they're little, their crow is quite, uh, it has not come into its own yet, and it's very, very funny.

We'll have to get a recording of that because it is hysterical. Spud is growing into such a pretty big boy. He has lots of green and blue and that those black feathers, uh, if you didn't know that Spud is a fibro Easter egger. We picked him up from Marissa. Uh, over at King's Cox and the Mother Cluckers, that is also where we got Shelby and Jack.
And Spud is, uh, a spunky little boy, but he is also very gentle with me. He allows me to pick him up and check his feet, so he is hopefully going to turn into a good, good little boy. Shelby and Jack definitely have two distinct personalities. And I noticed that they feathered out differently as they over the last several weeks.

I know they say statistically you can't tell a goose from a gander until you know their mature age, like nine months next spring when they start laying eggs. But honestly, I've noticed very different personalities. Shelby is more, she will sit at my feet. She likes to snuggle, she likes to communicate. You know, she'll talk and nibble on my hand.
Jack is more like if there's any type of danger around, he's the first to. Uh, initiate, you know, that protective stance. Now, of course, we are not 100%. We do not know. We are just guessing hereby behavior. I don't know if geese math is a thing, but I think we're gonna start that because once I've had these two, I am just, Obsessed with their attitudes, with how they connect with you on a different level.
I mean, I love my chickens of course, but I just think they have a different level of commitment towards their owners and it makes my heart very happy. So there's that. I did get a surprise package, although it wasn't a surprise. I knew it was coming from my friend Jess out in California. She mailed us five Toulouse Goose eggs.

Uh, geese eggs and they are currently in the incubator. I have been checking them and candling them and so far we have one that I'm certain is growing. We have lots of veins and we have a little embryo. The other four I don't think is gonna have anything come out of 'em. I'm not giving up on them yet. I will continue to candle and we'll go from there.

I think we are on day 27. I'll have to go check. I've been turning the little goose egg several times a day. I've been missing it. Uh, these are things that I've learned on the internet. Uh, like I said, I've never incubated geese before. So if you have any tips you'd like to share with us, you can send us an email at wimble the wonder hand.com, or you can direct messages on Instagram.

We would love to have any tips and tricks. The amount of booty hands we have here at the Heifer Farm is mind blowing. Most of all of the ladies in Buttermilk's Pan are broody. They're all fighting for the two nesting boxes. They're extra large nesting boxes because they are tiny little bans and they usually all fit in there.
They're fighting for the eggs, and I'm fighting for my life over here. I have to collect them every single time. One of 'em lay an egg because everybody wants to sit on the eggs. And I have two ladies in little Gary's pan, including Ms. May, that is fighting to hatch out some babies. And right now we've put a hold on all of the ban babies, and we discussed this a little bit about.

The fatty liver syndrome that seems to be causing deaths over the years. It could be age, obviously, but over the years in that pen. So we're not gonna breed anymore and probably just let that pen kind of die out on its own. And I don't want any of them to die, so don't, don't misunderstand me. I just mean I'm not going to.
Uh, continue any type of breeding in that pen, it's not fair to them, and it's not fair to me. I've decided no more for them. But the most exciting broody that I currently have is in my coil pin. We have tunics quail. From all the research that I've done, mothering instincts, broody, broody instincts is just not something you find in that type, that specific breed of quail.
Well, I noticed last week of the seven or eight days that one of my little quail mamas have been sitting on the same little nest. Uh, the first day I noticed I was gonna go in there, collect eggs, but when I went to get the eggs, she kind of balked, balked at me. And if, you know, quail don't make a whole lot of noise, so I knew something was up, so I just left it there.
And I watched her the rest of the day and she stayed on the nest. She stayed on the ne the next day, and now we're up to day eight. So I don't know if any of 'em are gonna hatch. I don't know how many are viable, but we're just gonna let her, let nature take its course and see if we get any little baby quail.

If those little baby quail hatch out there in the pan, I'm gonna be uber excited. Their pan is completely. Enclosed in hardware cloth, nothing can get in, nothing can get out. The only concern I guess I would have is how the rest of the flock would respond to the babies. But we're gonna take one step at a time and just keep a very close eye on her.

If you've watched our Instagram this past week, uh, or the following week, Or the week prior, my little girl Clover, which was Coco's daughter Coco passed when she was about eight. Uh, she had egg yolk peritonitis. Well, I picked her up cuz I noticed she was kind of off to herself. And, uh, she had that bottle walk.

And when I picked her up and did a basic chicken checkup, I noticed that her abdomen was full of fluid. Now, if you've ever had a hand, have a. Ascites or water belly or pulmonary hypertension, you immediately know that this is not a good sign. Water belly is not a symptom, not a disease itself. It's not contagious.
It's actually an underlying cause, a symptom of something else that is an underlying condition that's going on in your hen's body. And the definition of water belly for those who would be interested is an abnormally high blood pressure between the heart and lungs, which is pulmonary hypertension, leading to heart failure, increased blood pressure in the veins, and excessive buildup of fluid in the liver, which then leaks into the body cavity.
That fluid will. Cause pressure, you know, within their system and it can lead to death. Is that 100% fatality rate? I don't know. I have no idea, but I know that it is pretty close. Now you can drain the area if you feel comfortable. If someone has instructed you, whether, uh, you know, a avian veterinarian has showed you maybe a reputable source on YouTube, because if you are not careful, if you drain too much too fast, they can go into shock and it can kill them.

Now, the. Draining of the water belly does provide some temporary relief, but in clover's case, and in most cases, not all cases, I am not a veterinarian. I am not God. I don't tell you 100% of anything, but statistically it does come back. The water will feel, the fluid will feel back up into the belly. Some of the most common symptoms other than a swollen, fluid filled abdomen, they may have red inflamed skin around the belly.
They are lethargic, uh, purple comb and excessive panting, ruffled feathers and general unwellness. And in clover's case, she was separated to herself and this is what they do to protect himself from being bullied by the rest of the flock. I immediately knew that something was going on. Now there are factors that go into co the cause of water, belly, uh, obesity, environmental issues, lack of exercise, genetics, age tumors.
It could be a bacterial infection, a viral disease. All of these things can play a factor into that. But the most, I guess the highest thing would be genetics. If you are giving your birds plenty of exercise, good feed, fresh air. Um, limiting their treats, they are not obese. Uh, more than likely the genetic side of this comes into play.
Now, I don't say that based on my own opinion. That is a veterinarian's opinion. That is research online. You can read many articles. That pertained to water belly. I will link a few in the show notes and you can read up on this for yourself. Now, Clover's belly has been drained. Uh, we were, we had the stomach flu the week before bleeding until last week, and then we had doctor's appointments, but Clover's belly was drained and within three or four days it has come back and, uh, she is back to separating herself from the flock.
So we do have a. An appointment this week and then we will make that tough decision on if her quality of life is still there and if not, uh, I will make the call to humanely euthanize her. Now we all know that I love my chickens, I love them. My little chicks are just part of my family, but I will not, I will not allow myself to have one that is suffering.
If your chick's not doing chicky things, it's really hard to not think of them first and you know, only think of our feelings and I'm not telling you what to do or when you know that. You should make that choice for your own flock. I'm saying for us personally, uh, if she's not being a cheeky and she's really struggling and there is no cure for it, uh, I don't see any other option, but to humanely euthanize her, having to call a bird is never easy.
No matter the situation. And that leads us to a discussion about aggressive roosters. You, if you're familiar with our flock, you know that last year, um, we added in a few tractor supply chicks. I've not bought chicks or purchased live chicks here in a very, very long time. Uh, we did go to Tractor Supply and I ended up with five.
Uh, golden Lace wine dots. And this came out of, well, no, two golden lace wine dots and three, uh, red production hands out of the puit box. Well, you know how that goes at these feed stores. And one of them ended up being a cock roll and his name was Leroy. Now we only got these chicks for Reba. It's a long story.
Reba was broody. Reba ended up not hatching any of her babies out. Don't know what happened there. I felt bad for her. I went to Tractor Supply, which was the only place that I could find chicks at the time. And you never know what you're gonna get when you go into these feed stores. Uh, the chicks get mixed up, but we ended up with four hands and one cockle.
So they all went into their own little flock together cuz Reba rejected them. Long story, uh, to bring them in. I had to raise them up and once they were big enough, they went out to their own coop, just like any other chicks would. So I spent a lot of time handling them. Uh, they would sit in my lap, you know, as they aged.
I would continue to treat Leroy just like I would've treated Mr. Jangles and all my other boys. We've raised many, many roosters here over the years, so I have a little bit of education and experience to kind of talk on this subject. Now, this is just my opinions. Uh, you are in control of your own flock.
You get to decide what happens. I am aware that young cock rolls do go through several phases of trying to exert their dominance, uh, you know, take control of their own flock, be a protector. And if Mr. Jangles could say a few things about this, he would tell you that you do not need a human aggressive rooster to be a good provider and protector of.
Your ladies Leroy was, uh, aggressive towards me, my daughter, my father-in-law, and attempted Rob, the builder. He, I, he was aggressive, overly aggressive to his hands. He would. Pick them up by their head feathers and attempt to drag them through the yard. He would not allow them to eat first. He was just overly aggressive.
He was relentless and he was ruthless, not only towards humans, but also his own girls. So for the betterment of the entire little mini flock, I had to call Leroy. Now this may upset some of our followers and I'm very, very sorry. Uh, but we are not gonna breed an aggressive rooster. We are not, uh, going to allow a rooster to miss.
Treat and mishandle his girls, they were ending up very bald in the back of their head. Yes, I know that typically you can get balding of feathers during normal, uh, mating of a rooster, but these lack of feathers were from him, dragging them through the yard. Now it, there's too many nice roosters out there like Mr.
Jangles, Conan, even my jungle foul. Just sweet boys who take care of their girls. There's no need for me to keep a rooster that I couldn't even handle to check him for illnesses. I couldn't get into their pen to clean it. I couldn't check his ladies to make sure there was nothing going on with them. And even if I chose to put him in a separate pen by himself, how would I feed him?
How would I water him? How would I clean, uh, his mess or check to make sure he's not injured? I couldn't get anywhere near him. So for me, it's my responsibility. I brought the rooster home. I brought, I brought that chick home. I raised him, uh, just the same as I would any of my other roosters or birds. Uh, genetic wise, he just had too much aggression for my flock.
So to protect my family and my, uh, ladies, we decided that humanely calling him was the answer. I did call him. His body did not go to waste. Uh, he's in my freezer. We'd love to hear your thoughts and insight. On, uh, your aggressive roosters, what do you do? How do you handle it? Yes, I know there's this whole thing of, on the internet, of all these different tips and tricks that you can do, you know, to show your rooster you're dominant or you know, all these.
Kind of crazy, um, situations that you put your rooster in, and all that really does is just make him more pissed off. So we just nipped it right in the bud. And honestly, I didn't enjoy it. It wasn't anything that I was. Planning on doing. My girls are much happier. They're much calmer. They are more relaxed.
Uh, they are not as stressed out. They are able to eat without getting attacked by their own rooster. So I did what's best for them, but as of right now, I will not be getting any more. Uh, golden Lace wine dot roosters. Cock rolls, not bringing them home. Maybe you have the greatest uh, wine dot rooster in the whole entire world, and I'm very happy for you.
But that is one breed that I'm going to pass on, and he will be the first rooster that I've ever had to call here for aggression, and I hope it will be our last. We are currently working on some projects here. We have spring coop, clean out underway. We are running behind, uh, but illness and life and things just took over.
So we did add a bunch of netting. I have an IG post that you can look at and kind of see what we did there, but we added an, an extra layer of protection from aerial predators. And we've, uh, planted a bunch of seed in one area. I blocked off a part of their enclosure and I, um, Did plant a bunch of grass seed.
This is where Shelby, Jack and, uh, Spud will end up once their goose pin has been completed. And we have some other projects that we're gonna do, uh, work on a few repairs and do a total clean out, which takes a lot of effort and we will. Also be planning our garden, our big garden. We are so excited for that.
I know every year we look forward to it and I know we have a lot of listeners that are big time gardeners and we are planning out some big things there. And we are finishing up our Master Gardeners intern program through the state of Tennessee. Uh, it has been a ton, ton of work. Lots to learn and I have a big presentation that is going to be due around the third week of May, so we're gonna get started on that.
And we're just gonna continue bringing on some pretty fabulous guests that we have scheduled, and we look forward to, uh, just chatting with y'all. We look forward to seeing your post every single day on IG and TikTok. We are also on Pinterest and Facebook. Uh, so we do enjoy seeing all those. Chicks. So many of our friends got new chicks this year.
It is super exciting to watch them grow. So keep all those videos and pictures coming. We are living through your post in your reels as we've kind of put a halt to some of our, um, addition of our flock right now. Not including the quail and that one little tolo goose egg that we are really crossing our fingers.
That is going to make it till the end. But that's it for the Heifer Farm report. We sure hope y'all have a good day. If you like this, give it a share. Share it with a friend. Till next time, bye y'all.