The Evolution of Atlas: A Breeding (and Chat) Thread

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by speckledhen, May 8, 2014.

  1. MistyMountain

    MistyMountain Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2013
    Aww, so sorry to hear about Rex. [​IMG]
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Thank you, diva. And you, too, MistyMountain.

    Yes, it's very, very sad. He was just an exemplary flock leader. But, he did leave me Atlas and several daughters to love and I'm grateful for that. Thank you, Rex.

    Ladyhawk and I have been discussing this at length. Before the temps here plummeted to near zero with negative windchills, I saw nothing unusual about Rex. That day, he was looking slower, sitting directly under a heat lamp, something he never did. And then, there was his crow, sounding like a different rooster entirely.

    Naturally, considering the crow, his behavior and the temps, I felt he had the beginnings of pneumonia. Why, I wasn't sure, since no one else was affected, not even old Isaac or Amanda, but if it was coming on, I wanted to get ahead of it, so started him on the Tylan. In giving the first injection, we noticed that he had lost some weight. That could have been effects left from his last molt, though it had been over for weeks, but we didn't know. After the second day of injections, it seemed less likely he had pneumonia. He had no sounds of congestion, wasn't open-mouth breathing, just was lethargic, sounded weird (actually, was not even crowing much at all) and was not calling the hens to food. It was decided that we would not give him any more Tylan, that whatever was wrong was not fixable with antibiotics.

    When the hens began picking at his comb and he didn't resist, that's when I put him over in the broody pen under his own heat lamp and he didn't even resist being there, separated from his hens, a sure sign he was dreadfully ill. By then, I was positive it was internal, but internal how or why I wasn't sure. An injury from fight between him and Deacon did occur to me, but in my mind it was longer ago than it really was; in fact, I had to look it up on BYC to see when I posted about it-it was December 22.

    Going back to the fight, I didn't see the first blows, only saw them engaged. I did note that Rex did not seem to be advancing on Deacon, only fending off the blows, holding the line. It sort of puzzled me then, that he wouldn't go at Deacon full force after over a year of chasing him and having Deacon run and scream like a girl, but I just filed it away. When DH and I got them separated, Rex was just subdued, not really wanting to get at Deacon at all. He was barely breathing hard. Rex had zero wounds on him. Deacon had a bitten wattle and the back of his comb had been slightly unseated so blood was seeping from under the base at the back blade.

    What we have surmised must have happened is that Rex chased Deacon across the yard, as usual. This time, however, Deacon turned to fight, surprising Rex completely. He'd never done that before that day. When Rex ran, he had his head down in pursuit of his brother, so if Deacon suddenly turned and stood his ground, Rex would have halted and raised up. At that point, Deacon would probably have jumped at him, hitting him most likely in the chest area-for Rex to wound Deacon's wattle and comb with his own beak, they had to be face to face. That first hit from agile Mr. Deacon could have seriously hurt Rex, making him unable to truly fight the way I felt he would if Deacon ever engage him in a battle. So, he was just defending himself, but hurt from that point onward. If he had a bruised organ, heart, spleen, whatever, it was something that took him over slowly, until the temps and windchills tanked and make it very hard for him to breathe. The cold exacerbated whatever internal injury he sustained in the fight and within a few days, did him in.

    This is the ONLY thing that makes sense now. Rex never had a down day in his life. He's always been the picture of health. An internal injury that took him slowly makes perfect sense to both Ladyhawk and myself. Deacon is nowhere near the size Rex was, only has one spur, but his "super power" is agility, which he gets from his mother, Tiny, my Amerau/EE/Sumatra hen. He's the only small bodied large fowl rooster I've ever had. And after Isaac almost killed him and he eventually recovered, I guess he'd had enough of being the underdog. First he challenged Isaac, but I was there to grab him. Then, he challenged his brother and subsequently, killed him, albeit much more slowly than Isaac killed Indy.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  3. chickenneighbor

    chickenneighbor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2010
    So sorry to read this. My heart goes out to you and Speckled Roo, and all the flockmates.
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Thank you. We took Rex's body to his hens and laid him on the floor so they would know what happened to him. Some made very unsettled sounds. Rita walked around him, but refused to approach him. In their minds, at least, I didn't want him to just disappear, I wanted finality. When we put him in his grave, DH plucked one of his sickle feathers for me to keep like we usually do. Just gone way too soon.

    I can't blame Deacon anymore than I blamed Isaac when he got in a lucky hit on Indy. He's just being a rooster. I didn't want to reproduce Deacon, he's such a goober, just seemed like such a happy-go-lucky goofball, but there's more to Deacon than we ever knew. He's much tougher and more resilient than anyone gave him credit for.


    Rex went from this little guy we affectionately called The DelaRex:

    To this handsome stud muffin:


    Then, he gave me Rachel, Rowena, Robin, Wendy, Atlas and Sammie Jo. Thank you, Rex.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  5. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    RIP my little Rexie Poo brave little nom nom boy.
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Thank you for helping us puzzle this one out. He was a good, good boy right from the start, a smart rooster like his daddy. So far, Atlas is doing him proud.

    I have a list of coops with occupants I've kept and rearranged over the years. Every time a bird dies here, it goes on the Rest in Peace List. That list now contains 42 birds. I currently own 40 birds, 30 large fowl and 10 bantams. I'm sure the RIP list would be longer if I had kept others who went to live elsewhere. So many come and go and it hurts, but I can't imagine being without them, especially the valiant, selfless roosters.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  7. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Yeah, that little Rexie-poo had some chutzpah! Never saw a chick do that before or since.

    Thinking of what Atlas will have in his coop with the Big Move.....of course, Rowena and Rachel (post baby-raising) and Dottie. He will then be adding Dottie's sisters Ida and Wynette, Dottie's full Stukel daughter (sired by the original Rex) Druscilla, the splash Rock Gloria Jean, my red mixed breed hen who raised Atlas, Rita, Atlas's half sisters, the black pullets Wendy and Robin and Serena, who was sired by Isaac over Rita and looks sort of like a skinny Delaware.

    So, his entourage will consist of 6 Barred Rocks, 2 black Rocks, 1 Splash Rock, 1 Red Mixed hen (BLRW x blue Ameraucana) and 1 DelaWyanCauna, LOL. I think that is enough for the big guy. Any chicks will come from the Stukel Rock hens; at least, that is the plan. Ida, Wynette and Dottie are almost 4 years old, as is the Splash Rock hen. Rita is turning 5 yrs old soon. Druscilla is 3 years old, Serena was the same age as Rex and of course, the ones Atlas's own age, raised with him by Dottie, are Rachel, Ro, Wendy and Robin.

    I have no idea how long Rita will be around, her being the senior hen in that group and currently, the head hen. With Rex gone and Atlas moving in with his own girls, I wonder how that will all play out.

    I have to get a picture of Sammie Jo for you, the pullet who will be Deacon's girl. She is gorgeous, looks like a pure Delaware, but she is sired by Rex over Delia, both barred birds. You remember the old show Dynasty? Sammie Jo was Heather Locklear's character.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  9. holm25

    holm25 Jr Chicken Wrangler

    Apr 6, 2014
    Sorry for your loss[​IMG]
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Thank you. It just doesn't feel real yet. I mean, I expected to lose a couple of birds this winter, but I was thinking more along the lines of the 6-8 year old hens or Isaac, but never in a million years would I have expected to lose Rex.

    I just realized that of the 42 birds we've had to say goodbye to, not one has been to a predator. Thankful for that, certainly, and I credit my alert Rooster Brigade for most of it. Now, I'm down one of those. [​IMG]

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