Chris is busily working on an account of our trip, leaving me with the sad task of informing all who care that our rooster died several days before we left.
It was a rather shocking discovery for Chris. He opened the coop door and there he was; dead on the floor! We’re not entirely sure what happened. Several extended family members reckon the hens took revenge. I’m not unconvinced this was the case as the rooster was rather forward and frequent in his attention to the brood, leading my brother to give him a title that belongs in the courtrooms of those charged with acts of certain kinds of assault. The rest is best left unsaid.
I can’t say the hens appreciated the attention; instinct wasn’t always in play as I did see two of them turn and chase him once when he got too close. The girls in our house didn’t like him much as he was quite aggressive toward us. I, at least, could see his value in our springtime venture of our home-based mini hatchery. Katie and Helen used his presence to advantage, wrangling out of chores as the coop is right next to the barn.
Stephen, on the other hand, simply liked having the rooster around. It added a male presence to the farmyard that was severely lacking (all the sheep are female).
Interestingly, we have been trying for a month or so now to figure out how to optimize our egg production since fall came upon us. We are using lights and keeping the hens in the coop a bit longer each day to encourage laying. We didn’t want to add chemical crumbles since we moved the flock to organic wheat (locally grown). Up until we left last week our egg production from the 25 hens had fallen to about 6 per day.
Yesterday when we returned….10 eggs! Today: 13 eggs!
Could the rooster’s presence have had something to do with our lowered egg production???
For now we won’t replace him since we weren’t planning on incubating eggs until late spring. But I think I’ll do a bit more research on egg production and roosters…