I know there are saner households out there. Homes not currently housing and tending four injured roosters and one lame hen. Brownie and the hen are in one crate. Rusty in another. Crackers, recently accosted by one of the drakes, is sitting in the tub, his comb blood-encrusted. Snowflake, aka Rocky Balboa, is in the same bathroom in a warm corner. (Good thing there are other facilities in the house. Use of a bathroom in the company of a one-eyed rooster is mildly disconcerting.) Such is the heralding of mid-Spring on the Misty Mountain Hop Rooster Preserve and Sanctuary. Feathered and furred beings have a keener sense of Spring coming in despite the weather. They've been feeling it coming on since Imbolc (hence, the name "in milk," the lambing season) and now it's crescendo'd as of Equinox.
The hens are safely penned away from libidinous, hormone-charged roosters, however, as we like free-range, the roosters are able to spend a fair portion of the day beating the crap out of each other. While spring for most might come on the gentle petals of snowdrops and daffodils, mine are fraught with rooster injuries, Betadine and sequestering during recuperation.
As the situation has hit critical mass (I really do like to have both bathrooms available for human use), it meant taking stock, triage, if you will, of injured roosters. As I've had Brownie and the hen in for awhile, they're doing well enough to go out in their own pen. Rusty, too, is doing better and can be booted back out with the lot, but he is a bantam so I've arranged another pen for him. This now rotates the more critically injured roosters into cleaned crates and we can all safely use the downstairs bathroom.
Why would I put chickens in the bathroom? Well, fact is, birds go into shock easily when injured. I'm lucky to have a fairly hardy flock ~ they endure rough conditions up here as well as each other. However, the most critical care management of a bird in shock is warmth as soon as possible. Though I argued with Dirk about the ridiculousness of heated floor mats under the tiles, it turns out, for punch-drunk roosters and ailing hens, it's a mighty helpful item to have had installed.
So. While Crackers and Snowflake spent the night recovering from the initial shock of fowl warfare, they were warm and comfortable. As of this afternoon, they're in the crates previously containing other roosters. A little like a barred Chicken Hotel. Crackers might not ever go near a drake again. I'm waiting to see what will develop with Snowflake's eyes as they are both swollen, nearly shut.
Shifting and shunting has made for an exhausting day. It is a labor of love. The reward: the crowing of a rooster in better fettle than he came in with. In another few weeks, everyone will settle down and there will be fewer fights, but for now it's my Springtime Activity.