Hello! I've been reading BYC for a long time, but this is my very first post. I have five Buff Orpington hens who are equal parts spoiled pets and awesome egg-layers. But I have some questions about a new arrival!
I live out in the country, and when my mom was driving over to visit yesterday, she saw a dog in a field, standing over something that was flopping around on the ground. She stopped, discovered the flopping-around thing was a chicken, wrapped it up in a towel, and put it in her car. No idea where the chicken came from, but its butt and tail feathers had been completely plucked, and it has beat-up wings, as well. No way it was going to survive out in the cold Minnesota winter with no butt fluff!
So now it's living in the small auxiliary coop in my barn (my hens are in a separate coop, on the other side of my house, with zero exposure). The plucked area looks a little raw, but I haven't seen any wounds. My mom kept referring to the chicken as a 'she', and I went out to have a look a little while after she'd put it in the barn coop. 'That's a rooster!' I told her -- I still don't think she believes me. He doesn't have much of a comb (maybe an older chicken who's done some fighting or lost a bit to frostbite?), but the feathering looks very rooster-y, and he has SPURS. I just went out this morning to bring him new water, and he doesn't seem to be in shock (quite calm, but walking around and talking a bit), although he hasn't touched the food we put out.
So my questions:
1. Anything extra I should do? I'm inclined to just make sure he's not freezing and keep him supplied with food and water, since he doesn't seem badly injured. ie, As long as he seems to be doing alright, I don't want to add to his stress.
2. Assuming he recovers nicely, how long should I wait before letting Mister Chicken and my hens have any sort of contact? I'm in NO rush for this at ALL -- the last thing I'd want to do is get my hens sick. And I'll probably wait until his feathers are all back, since I imagine the hens would pummel him if they thought he was weak (he's a bantam; they're whompers). So looking at probably a couple of months, but I'm curious to know when the risk of passing some sort of disease onto my hens would be over. Or could he always be carrying something contagious, with no symptoms?
3. Less important, but any guesses on his breed? Hard to tell without a tail! But he's mostly red, with about 50% buff wing feathers. Looks like he might have darker tail feathers, but of course most of them are missing right now. Bantam-sized. No foot fluff, unless that had been torn out, too. I haven't had a chance to get a great photo, as he understandably wants to stay tucked up in the coop, and I don't want to pull him out just to get a better look.