Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Loser

Our rooster Poncho has taken the loss of his standing in the flock to heart.  He used to be aloof, always searching for tasty bits to coax the hens, always out in the open, keeping an eye out for the chicken hawk.  He would allow the young rooster, Cogburn, to eat and to roost with the flock, but kept him on the edge of the activity, chasing him away when he got too bold, but never really going after him with the intensity that Cogburn displays to Poncho, now that Poncho is the big loser.  When Cogburn fought back while Poncho was distracted by our rooster guests, Poncho lost his confidence, and may have lost his left eye too.   

The black crusty scabs on his comb and wattles are slowly healing, and the swelling in his left eye is less pronounced, but he still keeps the eye tightly closed and it bulges a bit.  His left ear may be damaged too, or at least blocked with a crusty wound.  

His demeanor is so changed now that he is injured, and isolated from the flock, that he will eat from my hand and he allows me to pick him up and spray some wound care stuff in his bad eye.  Yesterday, while I was waiting for the goat, Peaches, to finish her evening meal on the milk stand, Poncho jumped right onto my shoulder!  This is probably not something I should encourage.   

He sleeps in the barn instead of in the coop, and spends most of the day cowering in corners.  He acts very cowardly now that he's tasted defeat.  When he dares to leave the barn for some fresh air and grass, Cogburn chases him all over, while Poncho cries like a baby.  Really, it's embarrassing.  I tried to tell him he may never earn the respect of the hens if he doesn't stand his ground.  Of course, he knows he doesn't have a fighting chance now that he can only see and hear from one side.  Hopefully, if he shows the appropriate level of submission, Cogburn will eventually allow him back into the coop at night.  We'll see.  

Look, there's almost a break in the clouds!  We've been having fairly warm weather, but no sun shine.  I've been glad that's it's not too cold while Rufus heals from his surgery, and Poncho heals from his fight.  


Anonymous said...

Poor Pancho. I've never cared for alpha-males, so he has my affection from afar. If only he could get on the internet with all the other guys who can't date in "real-life"! My young roosters are starting to get cocky as well. I will take your cautionary tale to heart and butcher them this weekend. Wanna help? It's not like I think Orsen is a great guy, but he isn't the hens' closer relation. Or is he??? Is Orsen Myrna and Hildy's brother???

rain said...

I think Orson could be Myrna and Hildy's nephew, but I'm not sure about that. His mother was likely from the same batch of Easter eggers as your hens.

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