Chicken Challenges


You may have seen my video of our experience hatching incubated eggs for the first time. If not, you can see it here.

Since then we have dispatched our very mean rooster. We were all tired of living in fear of the thing. Grace and Nana were especially joyous to see it dead. In fact, Grace wanted Bryon to remove its inch and a half long spurs and drill a hole through them so she could wear them on a necklace as a trophy.

Bryon and I agreed that was a little too Walking Dead for us but as redneck parents we were also strangely proud of her for thinking it.

Yeah. We’re weird.

We put the rooster in a pot to boil for a satisfying dinner of chicken and dumplings.

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The rooster got the last laugh though and burned up in my pot while we worked outside. We ate Chinese that night.

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Unfortunately, that single little chick was the only to hatch out of the dozen fertilized eggs. The rooster has one lone progeny to carry on for it.

Ten to one it’s a rooster too.

Since there was absolutely no way I was going to raise one lone chick, I stopped by the Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon to buy it some friends. I hadn’t placed an order in advance. Didn’t even know if they would have any chicks available. I just showed up.

Now if you didn’t know it, the pecking order is a real thing. You can’t just mix different aged chickens together and they all get along. My little chick was already a week old.

Lucky for me they just happened to have three Welsummers and three Easter Eggers—two breeds I’ve never raised before. Oh, and they were exactly one week old. How amazing is that?


I brought home a box full of cute and fuzzy chicks to join the lone ranger. There was a bit of pecking, but they settled in quickly and all was right with the world.

Last weekend they finally outgrew their brooder box so Bryon helped me move the chicken tractor into a semi-permanent, anti-critter reinforced cage. They liked the new space. A lot.

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Then two mornings later, one of them didn’t get up and scurry to the corner when I opened the cage. It was suddenly lame. I’ve raised baby chicks for the past ten years and have not lost a one to injury or disease. Predation sure. But otherwise, I’ve had no problems.

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I separated it from the flock because they had already started picking on her. Survival of the fittest and all. I set up Grace’s outdoor critter cage for her. For some reason she just couldn’t stand. I didn’t see any visible injuries and she didn’t squawk when I stretched her legs out to check for problems

Google was no help so I stopped by Cackle Hatchery the next day and quizzed the experts. Apparently there are about five million chicken ailments and they all have the exact same symptoms. None of which explained my lame chicken.

The next day I called my vet. Our vet is the kindest, most patient, tell-it-like-it-is country vet. He suggested that perhaps in her exuberance she’d sprained a groin muscle or the chicken equivalent and was too sore to stand. Uh, okay.

He also suggested feeding her some hardboiled eggs for a few days since she would love them and they had lots of good proteins and vitamins in them.

Cannibal chicken it was then.

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Now, five days later, she’s beginning to stand again. She still gets her legs tangled up sometimes, but I’m feeling more hopeful about her recovery.

All of the rest of the chicks seem fine. With the troubling exception that one of the pullets (young female chickens) has a disturbingly large comb beginning to grow on its head. Now, I don’t know if you saw the Only in America episode where Larry the Cable Guy was actually at the Cackle Hatchery sexing chickens, but I’m pretty sure Larry is responsible for this one.

Larry, if this pullet ends up being a rooster…I’m sending him to you.

You’ve been warned.

Life in the Big Cedars is still good.

But it’s better without a rooster.


5 thoughts on “Chicken Challenges

  1. Love the pictures but I’m not crazy about chickens or roosters. I still remember feeding the chickens at my Grandparents farm and a rooster flew up to my shoulder and started pecking my neck. Scared the bejesus out of me. I think Grandma killed that rooster. Roosters beware. Ozark hillbillies won’t stand for your attitude.


  2. Oh my, there is a never ending supply of chicken stories to tell with every flock isn’t there? lol I will have my own soon, just as soon as my chicks graduate from the brooder box! So far so good, I like thinking they are all girls… we’ll see.


  3. Pingback: Birthday, Birds and Basketball | Life in the Big Cedars

  4. Pingback: Ah Larry, We Hardly Knew Ye. | Life in the Big Cedars

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