Weeble Watchin.... life as city roo in the house

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by franklinstreetwest, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Urban Jungle
    Weeble is our special little guy. He had a hard start in life and it's been a rocky road ever since. He hatched on Easter day of 2011 along with 4 other little chicks. He was in distress part way through his hatch, and when I got home from Easter supper he was dried into the lining of the shell with most of the shell cracked off (I was having an AWEFULL time with humidity this spring in the bator). I soaked the skin off him gently and returned him to the bator to dry out and get his legs under him. After all the others dried off and started walking around, I moved them to the brooder. Weeble was still flopping, unable to walk. I left him there another night to see if he was just slow... Well, he was REALLY slow, 48 hours and all he could do was flail and tumble. I put him in the brooder and resigned myself to "let nature take it's course". When I got home at night I expected the worst. But there he was, head rolling around but sitting flat on the floor. So I tried to get him to drink a little. I gently dripped a droplet of water on his beak (taking care to not get it in his nostrils), he convulsed and I thought I had killed him!! So again, I set him down and figured he was doomed. The next morning, there he was...still alive, head rolling and flopping, but eating a bit. This went on for days, and pretty soon the flopping became just rolling of the head, then it developed into a twitch, then it went away and he was "normal".

    Despite his rough start, he lived with his fellow hatchlings and was a part of their flock. One blistering hot day, I took the babies out for their first forage session outdoors. My four older hens were out also, and didn't pay much attention to the new kids. Until the youngsters moved closer to the older hens... then order had to be established. Dinka took this job as she is the top bird. I should've known there was something wrong immediately. She started singling Weeble out and mercilesly attacking him. He started walking into corners and then would stand there like he couldn't find his way out of the corner. He didn't act scared, and when she attacked, he didn't fight back nor did he act submissive... he just stood there with an idiot sort of vacant look in his eyes. I didn't allow the abuse to continue, and I seperated him out. I figured he was tired because he kept walking up to walls and standing there "confused". So I packed everyone back into the coop and put them to bed. Next morning he seemed fine, walked to the front of the pen for food with the rest of his hatch-mates.

    It was another even more indomitably HHHOOOTTT day. Mike and I got home from our shop and went about doing chores. There was Weeble, curled into the corner of the cage, head twisted under his breast, flopping and flailing, unable to stand. Mike was distraught and nearly in tears as he brought Weebs to me. Of course my first thought was a broken neck. I gently felt his neck and couldn't detect anything outta wack. I was crestfallen! I had no idea what was wrong, and I was stalling putting him out of his misery. So I gave him some water drops, and found a small box to keep him in for the night while I decided what to do.

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    I discovered he had wry-neck, and that if he didn't show improvement in a couple weeks, it was likely he would die. It took a month to get him back to a respectable level of health. Here is the link to the diary I kept of the process:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=521570

    In the mean time, the neighbors dogs broke through the screen on the window into my garage and massacred my hens and crushed the brooder that his hatch-mates were in. We found Dinka hiding by the fence in the yard. She had miraculously escaped with only mild mauling. Because of Weeble's malady, he was living inside the house with us, in a basket.

    Rest In Peace little chicks and my lovely Pocahantas, Daisy and Nona:
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    Then only Weeble and Dinka remained. Dinka in the coop, alone in the garage. Weeble in the house, still unable to walk forward.
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  2. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    May 11, 2010
    What a story of survival! Sorry about losing your other chickens.
     
  3. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Urban Jungle
    Dinka was forlorn and still broody, but Weeble wasn't healthy enough to go out and face the wrath of Dinka again. So in the house he stays.... Here is a link to our adventure with establishing a pecking order:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=542826&p=1

    Thanks to all that have contributed to that thread. There are many different ideas and perspectives. I appreciate all the different stories!

    Now Weeble is a happy and well adjusted house pet. He is fitting into the order of things around here, and we are constantly working to find ways to continue to provide for him mentally with respect to his health issues. There are challenges to come I am sure. And that is where I am starting this thread.....

    Will Weeble find a flock that accepts him?

    Will he be able to survive in an outdoor (garage coop) environment?

    Will he ever start crowing again?

    Is he gonna grow any bigger?

    So many questions.... it's an adventure..... hope you enjoy taking it with us!

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    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  4. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Urban Jungle
    On the 8th of August Dinka hatched her first clutch of babies! I bought her 5 eggs, three of which came to fruition. She is the proud momma of what was supposed to be pure silkie chicks. Two of them have white spots on their skin, so I think they might be mutts..... that's ok, we all love them anyway!

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    first to hatch
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    second
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    last
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    Any suggestions for names??
     
  5. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A fun short video of just how weird Weeble is. Notice how he still has noticeable effects of brain damage.

     
  6. lvchicken

    lvchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 1, 2011
    Quote:What a cute and nutty chicken!!! He's SO cute!!!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. Miyashi

    Miyashi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I laughed so much at your video that I had real tears!
    He seems like a joy to have! How lucky you are! <3
     
  8. starforever61

    starforever61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The neighbor with the dog must have felt SOOOOOOOOO bad. sorry about your chooks [​IMG] [​IMG]
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  9. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Urban Jungle
    Weeble made friends!!! I am happy to report that Weeble, though slow, is not alone anymore. We decided to put his pen out in the garage beside Dinka and her three chickadees. The daytimes have cooled enough that we feel comfortable leaving him there when he doesn't go to the store with us. After a time, we noticed that they would spend their afternoon siestas sitting wing to wing against the bars. One day I decided to let Weeble in with Dinka and the kids. He wasn't sure what to do... lets just say it was like watching a horny awkward teenage boy show off for a bunch of girls at the country fair! Funny, pathetic, sweet, unproductive and ultimately a failure. Dinka just took the kids and hid in her box.

    So I tried again another day. Watching all the while to be certain he wouldn't harm the chicks. I permitted some pecking/thumping to the babies, that I figure is to be expected. I tried again another day and a similar scenario played out. This time Dinka foraged at an opposite end of the pen for a while. Weeble didn't know what to think of the chicks. At first he was assertive and borderline aggressive. I allowed the behavior until Dinka hid the kids in the box again. Then I removed Weeble to the other side of the barrier.

    Then, just the other morning, I looked out my window to see one of the chicks had escaped and was trapped in Weebles side of the pen. Dinka showed some concern, Weeble showed interest/agitation at the noise the chick and Dinka were making, but was not aggressive to the chick at all. I stood and watched for a while to see if he would become aggressive after a longer time. He didn't. I rescued the chick and went back inside. Well, I ended up rescuing that same idiot chick all day long. Finally I decided to just combine the two pens and see how that worked. At first Dinka was stressed out by this again. But Weeble was not as silly and didn't dance around acting like a horny kid. He talked and interacted with the babies, and tried to talk to Dinka too. At last he is fitting in!!!

    He still won't sleep with them. We found him roosting in his spot by the back door. He still wants to come inside where his roost has been for months. But this morning he was back down with the family. Now when the chicks come up to him, he crouches slightly, in what looks like a non-aggressive posturing stance. He lets them peck at his face and head feathers. And he tells them where the food is and interacts with them well. I think he will make a good dad!

    To add icing to the cake, he started crowing a few weeks ago, but he rarely ever crows. At least so far. He only seems to do it when he is startled by a situation. I look forward to many happy years of life for my Weeble!
     

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