I stole these stories off here
We lost one of our three speckled sussex, Hazel, in January. We do not know why she died. She had recently won the "pet contest" at work as the most adorable pet! She was only 3 years old. How long have your speckled sussex lived? I would like to stick with this breed, but her loss is heartbreaking.
This just happened a bit ago, and I HAD to post it. So today I heard my girls clucking like they were afraid of something, so of course I jumped to my feet and headed outside. What did I find? A squirrel. A squirrel, minding its own business in a hedge nearby. Okay, I'll give them credit for the fact we don't get them often, but really?
MR Marvin Roo
Ok, maybe this doesn't sound scary to you guys, but I was afraid to even approach my coop.
Mr Marvin Roo was not crowing.
See, he starts crowing about 5-5:30am every morning. I think he starts then because he hears my grandsons truck as he leaves for work, so he knows someone is up and awake. About 6:00am there is enough light for me to see my way to the coop to let them out. Mr Roo continues to crow most of the day. I have often (every time) mumbled "Shut up already. " He is going back to the breeder Monday because I don't want neighbors complaining and possibly making me get rid of my small flock.
But today Mr Marvin Roo was not crowing. It was 6:00am. And it's my birthday. I couldn't bring myself to go out on my own. I decided to wait till hubby got up for work.
I paced. No crowing. I made coffee. No crowing. "C'mon Mr Roo, crow already!" I couldn't sit down with my coffee and sipped it at the window looking for any signs of disturbance to the run or coop. No crowing.
The 7:00am alarm clock sounded. Thank God! Hubby stumbled out on his way to his morning routine, surprised to see me standing at the back door and windows. I explained about my fears and that I was now about to foray into the unknown. Could he please just be ready for whatever I may find? He kissed me and reassured he'd be there for me, then disappeared into the bathroom. Man's gotta do what a man's gotta do in the morning.
I picked up the water and feed dispensers and opened the door. No crowing. I called out "Good morning Mr Roo. Please crow for me?" No crowing. I start my walk to the run gate chattering to him all the way." C'mon Mr Roo, crow for me. Time to wake up." Nothing. No crowing. I check the perimeter of the run. No signs of disturbance. No crowing.
I call out as I reach for the gate "Please be ok ladies and Mr Roo!"
"ERR ER ERR ER ROOOOOOOOOOO!"
Never has there been a sound so sweet to my ears! I opened the gate, opened the pop door, and out came 2 beautiful Buff Orpingtons and one magnificent Lavender Orpington Cockerel! Repecca was waiting for me at the clean out door, having gotten used to me bringing her out so I can check her crop and give her meds.
I made Mr Marvin Roo a promise right there. As long as he is with me (that means 3 more days and the morning of Monday) I will never again ask him to
"Shut up already!"
In retrospect, maybe he was trying to give me a birthday present by not making me get up so early so he had himself a bit of a sleep in. Awww, such a sweet boy.
Roo nearly kills a magpie!
This morning, my dad woke me up saying "the cockerel is about to kill a magpie in the chicken run!"
I threw my clothes on and darted out into the yard. The hens were standing by the gate, moaning louder than usual, the cockerel standing silent behind them. I let them out, and they immediately ran away some ten yards, where they halted in front of the greenhouse and kept moaning.
A quick search of the run, and I found no magpie. I opened the coop door, and there it was - lying in a corner on the floor, looking surprisingly well for a presumed avicide victim; the belly to the floor, rather than lying on the side; the wings in their normal position; every feather in it's place. Something looked wrong with the head though, or perhaps the neck; the head sat too tight on the body.
I lifted it up, strangely enough without being pecked on, noticing how light it was, as light as a chicken egg - and dropped it, right outside the door. The cockerel immediately started to move in it's direction, undoubtly looking for another fight. However, the magpie took off pre-confrontation, making a nice flight for several yards before landing on the ground right by the stone wall. I started walking towards it, contemplating mercy killing with a big stick, when he took off again to land in a treetop. I decided he was well enough to let live.
Back in the house, dad told me the fight had gone on for a while, the whole chicken flock bearing down on the black-and-white trespasser with the cockerel leading the charge.
Most likely, I locked the magpie in yesterday evening when I closed the door on the chickens.
There was a cracked egg lying on the poop board this morning, as I found the magpie. Was that the magpie's work? Or did the egg crack simply by falling on the poop board? My guess: a strange coincidence. An egg was probably lain on the poop board, cracking it slightly. This unusual occurence happened to coincide with the magpie being locked in. The unwelcome guest saw his opportunity, snuck up on the board and cracked the egg fully open, as it was when I found it. The yolk hadn't been cracked though, so either this theory must be falsified, or the magpie only got so far before the onslaught of the tenants.
So at the moment we have 4 hens raising chicks. 1 of these hens is currently living outside the run with her single adopted chick.
This evening I went up to the back lawn, where the hen and her chick live, to water the lemon tree. I expected to see mama in her nest box on the ground, settling in for the night. But she wasn't there, so I assumed she's found a new hiding place under a bush or something. So I called out to her to try find her new hiding stop.
I hear gentle clucking from above me
While we went abroad at the start of the year, we got to keep our chicken flock at the place of an acquaintance, who also has chickens. Own, large and mighty chickens, with splendid roosters. When we picked up our chickens, she asked if we wanted a rooster into the bargain, an old one, who always got pecked on and teased by the other roosters. She thought he might get more peace in a smaller chicken run. We thanked and accepted.
The hierarchy can be harsh in a chicken run with several roosters and Sjuse (it's Idun who has come up with the name, where it came from I don't know) was really depressed when he came here. At first he mostly sat and looked around in a corner when the other chickens were awake, he didn't dare to come down. When the rest of the flock had fallen asleep for the night, he cautiously jumped down to eat. He didn't mix with the flock, but kept himself at bay.
This went on for a few weeks. But then, slowly, gradually, he got more comfortable in our chicken run. He increasingly often started to eat with the other chickens and became of the team.
Sjuse to the right.
Besides, Sjuse became a real family rooster. He always came and checked out what we were up to, looked with his one eye (he was blind in the other) and willingly let himself be lifted up into our arms, at any time. Particularly Lovis and Sjuse became real besties. She rode him around in the stroller and lugged him constantly. (She even tried to give him a ride on the bike, but then he jumped off.)
Idun and Sjuse.
Sjuse, Idun, Lovis and our godchild Ellen.
Lovis carrying Sjuse to the hen house.
One sunny day we saw him cautiously lie down in the flower bed to try to bask. How he hesitantly spread his wings as he'd seen the other chickens do. As an stiff old man who's trying something that wasn't allowed when he was young. Then he lay there in delight.
We sold our other rooster, Pricken, increasing Sjuse's status even further. The ladies in the chicken run started to court him, but poor Sjuse had probably been so bullied that he didn't really know what to make of it when they wiggled their tail feathers in front of him. In any case he rose in rank. Suddenly he wasn't at the bottom any more, not even in the middle, but at the top, along with our arch hen Prippi.
And that, my friends, is no mean feat.
A few days ago he started to look limp, in the manner we'd heard chickens do when they're about to draw their lasts breaths.
Sjuse's posture got progressively worse.
His tail dragged the ground more and more, and so did the wings. Suddenly he could loose balance and tip over. But he rose up again and kept standing and observing his little empire.
Prillan, another chicken who is highly ranked, took him on, she groomed his feathers and kissed him on the beak. As if she saw where things where headed, she wanted to give him some affection in his last days. He just stood still and let himself be taken care of.
Sjuse and Prillan.
Kiss kiss, old man.
And now you probably know where this is going. Yesterday we understood that Sjuse's life really was ending. Lovis cried and cried, hugged him and cried.
Lovis taking a gentle farewell of he beloved rooster.
And this morning when we woke up, Sjuse had died. Now we're hoping for him to be in a place where his wings are strong, his posture proud and his self-esteem good.
Sjuse got a really lovely last time. I believe it was really good that he got to come to a place where there weren't many dominant competitors, where he freely got to wander around the back yard and peck the grass. I believe he was happy here with us and it is with sorrow in our hearts we bury our nice friend, who we knew so briefly, but came to mean so much.
Rest in peace, Sjuse.