13 Years
Aug 30, 2009
Mt Repose, OH
My Coop
My Coop
Well I've learned a lot about flock management the past two weeks. I have about 4 years of solid experience, broken up into periods of when I could have chickens. Not counting my childhood though. This is the first time in my adult life that I've had chickens for eggs only, not selective breeding, not bantams, but full size laying hens. They're so weird! Laying while they sleep, no egg song... finally saw one actually making a nest... but it was the Cochin Bantam... a breed I'm used to.

Got the coop mostly done, run is done just needs a roof. 6 eggs are still developing in the 'bator on day 14... still have the knack for that apparently. I set 7.

Buuuuuuut. The two young birds. I got scammed on them. As soon as I got them home, I knew something was wrong with the Splash Maran. The white one sprouted 2 rooster tail feathers from no where and tried the most pathetic screeching crow I have ever heard.

The splash can't walk right. I've sat with her (him...???? Bickers with the white one like it's a boy!) long enough now to pin down what I think the issue is, and it's not good. There is something really wrong with the legs and a wing. It can walk 5 steps, and not normal steps. It does nothing but roost, eat, roost, eat. I have it separated from the big girls because they're mean. The white roo, it's buddy, is starting to get rough. I have nothing else to do with it, and no one is going to take her from me... unless I do what the other person did, and have it ready to go in a tiny cage, handed off into another tiny cage, no issues apparent until it's in a much larger space. And that's just wrong.

I put an add out for the white Roo to see if someone wants him. But... the splash.... I think it's a cull. There's no way for it to ever live a normal life. The others can tell there's something wrong with it and they're mean to it. You know how when you first let them out, and they dart around and hop in the air happy to be out? This one tries it, stumbles, and just really struggles to get around. But the spirits are high, eating and drinking is normal, shows no pain when I hold it and manipulate all the limbs... there's a developmental issue in the structure. It can support itself on either leg individually.

I feel so torn! She/He/It can live. But not a normal life. Should I cull it? When/if the white roo finds a home, the splash won't have a buddy any longer. It's gotten too mean to be babied with the new hatch coming in a week.... all from learning to defend itself. But it's so stupidly trusting of me. When I have it out and about, it sits with me, wants to roost with me. If another bird comes near it, it gimps towards me for protection.

But yesterday.... it had a death grip on the white one's throat. I put them into the new run, and they started fighting. Awful! I grabbed the white one... usually so flighty I can't get near it... it was so involved I just reached down and got him. If the splash was a she, she wouldn't have done that, in my experience.

So if splash is a boy... that seals the fate right there. No sense in a gimped up rooster. Not much sense in a gimped up hen either. I can't go through the expense of xrays and what not to see what is wrong.

I'm giving myself a week to think on it. And a week on the white roo to find a home. But I'm pretty sure I'll be culling both next weekend. It's been years since I've had to do it, and never for this reason. Mean roosters I've dealt with 3 times. But on this half grown bird... it would be a mercy for it I think.

Or should I drive an hour out to where I got them and drop them off while lacing into dude for scamming me like that? I went out there for 2, came back with 6, as many as I could get because of the conditions. Won't go into more detail on that. But the 2 young ones I made off with... now I'm in the cull boat. The other 4 are doing great, feathers are growing back, they're healthy and happy and putting on weight. Eggs are starting to come in regularly.

What's your take?
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If conditions were that bad where you got them, I wouldn't take them back. If it were me, I would cull before taking them back. For the peace of the flock and yourself, I would cull. There are so many roosters needing homes out there; why keep bad ones?
If there is no chance for improvment for the young rooster, or he is in pain, cull him. It's better for him. I just had a Splash Marans rooster with a broken leg. I contemplated taking him to the vet and even had an appointment, and then I thought about the pain he may have been in and decided to cull him. There wouldn't have been much a vet could do for my rooster. I feel good about my choice.

Do what feels right, regardless of any opinions you receive. If you want to try to stick it out and see what happens, or if you decide to cull, please make sure you do it because it feels right to you, not only because it was someone elses idea.

Good luck with this sometimes difficult choice.

I feel you got some good replies. We can't tell you what to do, only what we feel we would do.

I certainly wouldn't take him back, I wouldn't want to see they guy, and wouldn't sell, trade or give him any kind of bird, anyway. He's not going to change; you can't really fix anything.

My take is cull. We raise some for meat anyway, and I never want one to live an unpleasant life. But that's just me.
I want to give you a
and say we have ALL been taken advantage of at one time or another and it just stinks. I had to cull my whole flock two years ago after making a stupid decision. My fault but I felt so rotten that I let this happen to me. I should have known better. Yep, that you gotta make at least 3000 poultry mistakes to be considered an expert is right on. I am surely on my way now. I'd keep those birds till you decide to cull, then just be smarter next time.

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