Hobby Farm Journal - 3-11-15

Another beautiful early spring day with temperatures reaching the high 40’s. All the animals were very happy to finally have weather that was comfortable to be outside in. Since writing about “Little Man” this morning, I believe the Lord gave me the wisdom I asked Him for. When I was done feeding & letting out all the poultry, “a thought” came to mind to switch “Little Man Swede” with his son, who I’ll refer to as “Jr.” - they both look quite similar, but I don’t believe “Jr.” inherited Little Man’s attitude. I caught “Jr.” and carried him over to the SFH area, then put him down on the ground outside the fence where the other SFHs were. Next, I went inside the fenced-in area & caught “Little Man”, who by the way was a “good boy” about not crowing around me. I temporarily put him in an empty rabbit cage outside the bachelor roosters & ducks. By that time, “Jr.” had to be caught again, as he’d flown & walked over the melting snow to the outside of the Bielefelder’s area. I put him in with the SFH breeding group, in which the other SFH rooster was now the dominant rooster since “Little Man” left. “Jr.” hid under the coop, clucking to the hens while the other rooster started to crow, proclaiming that now this was his territory.
It seemed like they’d get along fine, so I went ahead & put Little Man in with the other roosters. “Michael Jessie” has been the dominant rooster ever since he came back from his “summer vacation” in 2012, but this winter he got really bad frostbite on his comb, which put him at a disadvantage and he hasn’t been as strong and spunky as he has been. Perhaps he’s just “depressed” because he hasn’t been in with any of the hens since the end of January. Either way, one of the young cockerels from a swap last year has climbed the social ladder & has been the one maintaining “peace and order” among the rooster brotherhood. So, when “Little Man” entered the other rooster’s territory from which he’s been separated since Feb. 12th, they “let him have it.” Of course being the “warrior” that he is, he wouldn’t let go of his high-ranking position without a fight. Then rooster #1’s brother came over to “help him” re-establish peace and order, and “Little Man” knew he didn’t have a chance against these two bigger roosters. So, he ran off, with both of them hot on his tail, and Little Man tried to find an escape to the other side where the PA coop breeding group is. As he passed Michael Jessie, he gave him a little peck as if to say, “You better mind your manners here.” Just then Micheal Jessie’s son, Daniel #2,  who’s one of the roosters in the PA coop section, came over and told Little Man that he wasn’t going to get any sympathy from him either. By now Little Man was no longer standing tall and proud, but was crouched low on the ground, with his head lower than his body. Then he eye the coop and made a run for cover. One of the other roosters appointed himself as Little Man’s truant officer, standing guard at the door of the coop to make sure he didn’t go beyond his boundaries.  All returned to normal, with rooster #1 crowing to announce his victory. I smiled and thanked the roosters for helping adjust Little Man’s attitude, and yet doing it as gently as they could. No one was hurt physically, only Little Man’s ego and his high-ranking position. Though he did earn the Swedish name “Hjalmar”, which means “helmeted warrior” (helmet = his crest of feathers on top of his head).
“Hjalmar’s” son has been dubbed “Leif” - meaning “descendant, heir”;
The newly dominant Swedish Flower Hen Rooster (from a different SFH line) in the SFH breeding group
will be “Kevin”, though not a name of Swedish origin. But I chose that name because its meaning is so aptly fitting for this rooster: “kind, gentle, handsome.”  I looked up many Swedish names, and none seemed to fit him “quite right”or had Norse mythology origins, which I’d prefer not to name a rooster after. It’s been a long time in coming to name these roosters, and I’ll work in the hens next, but sometimes I like to wait to name them until I know their personality or traits to differentiate them.

On another note, I had to cull the one duck that froze her feet several weeks ago, as she was getting weaker, though she’d been desperately trying to make a recovering. But there was obviously permanent damage to her feet & legs, she’d lost weight and therefore wouldn’t be a good breeder, etc. That puts me at 7 female ducks and 2 male ducks. I need to either sell that extra male duck or ‘fatten him up” & process him before breeding season. I’m pretty sure Sir Francis Drake can cover all seven ducks just fine without any extra help.

I also candled the eggs again for the last time, and transferred all 50 of them to the Cooler Bater Hatcher for lockdown. I’ll wait until I see a pip or Friday morning, whichever comes first, to increase the humidity, since the eggs are staggered over 4 days. I’m expecting to see some action either Friday night or Saturday, but time will tell.