Monday, May 18, 2009

A Curious Rooster Attack ~ What Do You Think?


We came home after being gone only a couple of hours yesterday, had lunch, relaxed a little, then went down to move more rocks around.

After we were almost done I suddenly noticed the rooster.

With no tail.

"What happened to that rooster's tail?" I asked Michael.
"I don't know!" he replied incredulously.

If you remember, the rooster has been kept separate from the girls to allow them to regrow feathers. So during the day he wanders free range while they are in the chicken yard. At night they are shut into the coop and he is let into the yard.

We began looking for clues. If there is missing feathers, you will likely find them somewhere! Here is the trail...












Whatever it was, he put up quite a fight!


Poor guy!


He's back inside the pen with the hens now. I don't want to lose him. I found NO tracks whatsoever. Only feathers. They are gone from his back, his tail, and his haunches.

What do you think; those hawks getting hungry enough to go for this tough, big rooster? Or the other neighbor and his evil pack of hunting dogs?




  1. lol I say the hired someone and go revenge!

  2. I got kind of caught up on your blog. I am sorry you are having to use pesticide but you are correct. It is about survival. Not just a hobby. I am not a great gardener. So I don't have great ideas for going organic. Seven is my poison of choise also. It is not helping the zuchinnis though.

  3. LOL - Do you know it took me an hour to get that joke in your first comment? LOL

    What's eating your zucchinis?

  4. Poor roo. If I had to guess, I'd say chicken hawk. We saw one attack one of our hamburg's one day and got out there in time to scare it off - but she still lost a lot of feathers, though not as many as your poor roo. But the area she lost them was on the back, above the tail, similar to where your roo is missing all those feathers. The chicken hawks were relentless here this year. One got one of our 6.5 pound leghorns and ate her where she fell. We ended up having to pen all our chickens for about a week, and then, just as quickly as they showed up, the chicken hawks disappeared. For now, anyway.....

  5. Good morning Faith,

    I can't get over how cool your blog is, glad I found it! I aspire to be like you someday, you know so much about self-sustainability! You are definitely an inspiration to us all out there trying to become true homesteaders! Many of your blog topics spark interest with me. One in particular (haven't had a chance to peruse your entire blog yet :-) interests me, the hawk posting. Birds of prey are a big concern of mine as I prepare to try introducing poultry to Windee Acres Farm probably in early Spring '10. What is a chicken hawk? Is it a regional bird of prey? Are they not big enough to get a big chicken or was your rooster just too quick for the hawk (and lucky)? I tried to zoom in on the picture but it kicks me to a Flicker site?? We have red tailed hawks in WI where I reside, along with some smaller hawks, not to mention fox, coyote and farrell cats too. How dangerous is it to have free range chickens? Actually what I am considering is fencing in an area, maybe 100'x100' with 4ft. high fencing I acquired from my neighbors steer pens, not sure if using fencing is considered free range or not? Do you have electric fencing for your poultry? Sorry for asking so many questions. If you would rather respond via e-mail vs. posting a comment to my mega-post, you can e-me at

    Thanks in advance Faith! R Dean

  6. Dean,

    Here the comment is! Now if you've subbed to the comments on this post, we are set. LOL

    I'm pleased you find our blog useful. That is the goal. I want to help others.

    There is much I do not know, and I am also learning from others, AND from trial and error. But it is a blessing for all of us to learn and share together. I grew up on a farm/ranch and owe a lot of what I know to my dad, another farm boy from long ago.

    I wish life was more like it was when people stayed home and worked the land, helping their neighbors, but at least those of us who long for that can reach out across the internet and find neighbors of like mind to help one another.

    There is no real "chicken hawk", it is a common term for any hawk who has found your poultry as easy pickings. Probably the ones that were here were red-tailed hawks. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL birds, and I love them, but stopping them from eating my birds, easy prey, and forcing them to go after wild game was a top priority.

    If you go back and read the earliest posts about the hawk, you will see what was happening and what we did about it.

    They will go for the easiest prey they can when they are hungry. So the younger ones get taken first, and the rooster was the last bird of ours they had access to. When he was protected, it was easier for them to move on to wild game.

    Free ranging chickens depends on your predator load. At first we had a weasel problem here, but doing a lot of mowing and getting a dog eliminated that. I would suggest you ask your neighbors who have birds, if any, and see what they've been dealing with. Often, you will lose some, just figuring it all out.

    I used to free range my chickens but my neighbors dogs and actually my neighbor and his gun was the biggest predator, so I keep them locked up in a yard now.

    Probably 4' high will not work. If you have heavier, more docile birds, with lots of food in the yard, you trim their wings and you have no predators, you might get away with it, but the field fencing it sounds like you are describing is not a sure bet.

    Free range in real terms is enough room for your birds to forage for themselves and be healthy. Free range by government standards is if they are allowed out of a nest onto almost any type of floor. So be aware when you buy 'free range' eggs at the grocer. ;)

    I do not have electric fence for the chickens, though I have friends who do.

    I don't mind answering here. Hopefully others can enjoy the discussion as well. :)


  7. Faith, thanks a million for the explanations and answers to my questions, I sincerely appreciate it. Although I'm bummed that the 4ft. fence might not work (I pulled a couple hundred feet of it off my neighbors fence poles) because he was redoing his field w/electric fencing to allow more room for his steer to graze. I'll try it and see how it works for me and keep you posted. Regarding the free range chicken eggs, I currently buy our eggs from a woman I work with, she has a dozen or so layers, so I know that she is feeding them good stuff. Interesting you brought up the government definition of free range. In this month's issue of Mother Earth News, there is a great article about an organic farmer in VA that has written a book called, "Everything I want to do is Illegal". He says his biggest issue is the food police. Good read, check it out if you get a chance! One last question, I love your photography, you are definitely a great photographer! Which leads me to my next question, I noticed when I tried to blow up some of your pics, it kicked me to flicker and then said I am not authorized to look at them even though I have a yahoo address? Is this because you want to protect them (copyright) so somebody does not try selling them as their own photo's? Based on the quality, I could see you doing that. I also follow a blog called Jenna (the author of the blog) "somehow" superimposes her blog logo on her pictures, which I assume is so they cannot be used by others. Anyway, just wondering. Looking forward to following your blog! Thanks for responding to my comments even though they are probably dumb questions! :-)

    Have a wonderful day!!

    R Dean

  8. Dean,

    You asked very good questions. The only dumb ones are the ones we don't ask because we are afraid to. Then we have to learn the hard way. LOL

    Yes, the government interference is incredible. Drives me crazy. I had dairy goats, I had to sell the raw milk as pet food only. I would love to buy cow milk from someone, but they would be a criminal if they sold it to me.

    It's all about the money. Who's got it, who wants to keep it, and who can afford the lawyers and lobbyists to pass the laws.

    The photos are all out of my vast home Flickr account. I keep it private because I have had to deal with people searching me out on the internet. So all the links will only take you to the main Flickr page.

    I would like to have that superimposed name that your friend has, for pics I do post here. But haven't looked into it yet.

    My older posts have smaller pictures, but I've found a way to do larger ones since, so they are easier to see.

    I had subbed to your blog previously, but I just noticed it did not take, so I did it again. :)


    We need to get government out of the people's business. I'm afraid we are going the opposite direction, however.

  9. Faith, I have a tendency to learn the hard way a lot of times! LOL. I can totally understand about the privacy issue. I have tried to only use our initials, partial names, etc. on my blog, because you never know who is looking at it, so I can appreciate what you are saying. I also "occasionally" get what I feel is a really nice photograph, and wonder if by posting it I'm not giving it away to someone to profit from. Not sure what "subbed" means, please enlighten me of the definition. My blog is
    The Mother Earth News article really opened my eyes to what you noted in regards to the government regulations, yes, if you have deep pockets, you can do whatever you want because you buy yourself the right through the use of lobbyists and I suppose others that can be "influencers" to your specific cause. One of the things I am trying to do is eat/buy local. What I was really surprised to find out recently is that our local Piggly Wiggly actually sells sweet corn from Florida! Florida is 1600 miles away! Why in the world wouldn't they buy local? We have thousands and thousands of acres of sweet corn around us, why would they not buy local to cut down on shipping costs, etc.? That really blows my mind! R Dean

  10. Picture Shark is a free program you can download and "stamp" your photos with you logo, and protect them from being "stolen" I made a tinyurl because the link was kind of long. This is what I use, but you can google and there are a lot of free programs out there.

  11. Basic Living,

    Thanks so much for the link! I will check it out. :)


  12. Dean,

    When I say 'subbed' I mean to subscribe to your blog's updates, or subscribed to the comments in individual posts. :)

    Yes, and we can't always be sure about Farmer's Markets, either. Some of them allow food to be brought in from elsewhere. If it is important to us, we really do have to ask about it to be sure.



I always enjoy hearing from others. If you become a regular commenter, I'll assume you are being friendly and pretty much comment regularly right back. :o) God bless and have a terrific day!