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Pets

Posted 2/10/2013 4:21pm by Monique Russ.

Violet

This evening when my husband headed out thru the pasture to feed the feeder pigs in the woodlands nothing seemed out of the ordinary. All of the chickens and adult pigs seemed happy and content. On my way out to help I noticed my husband petting one of our turkens and I thought nothing of it. As I walked through the barn I saw it wasn’t a turken after all. He had just found Violet, our Buff Orpington rooster, dead.

I ran out and scooped him up and started crying because Violet is the only bird on our farm I considered a pet. We thoroughly checked him out and found nothing awry, and it almost looks as though he just died of old age. However, Violet is barely 2 years old and chickens can live 7-8 years or longer if well cared for. When my husband found him one of our nasty little turkey hens was beating on his head, and she can be an aggressive bird at times. She’s actually not one we plan to keep for breeding. I have to assume that somehow she killed him, but I’m not sure how because he had no marks on him.

At one time Violet was top cock, so he’s been in some pretty good scraps, and he was a tough boy. He was finally overtaken by our Barred Rock rooster, Hannibal, earlier last year, and that was a hell of a nasty fight because both birds were bloody and beat up after it. When Buff Orpingtons are kept in a mixed breed flock which ours is, they are usually “low man on the pole,” because they are so docile and friendly. So, this turkey hen was definitely big and powerful enough to do some damage especially if one of the big toms got involved, but I’m still skeptical. In all honestly I’ll probably never know. (We check our birds regularly for sickness, diseases, and injuries and there’s absolutely no sign that was a factor.)

He was a gorgeous, elegant, and stately rooster. He was incredibly photogenic, and friendly enough I could pet and pick him up. I remember when we first got him he was being picked on by the other baby chicks so much that his little bottom was bloody. I pulled him out of the nursery and put this herbal medication on him which turned his butt purple. (That’s how he got his name.) While he was in our house he would follow me all over the place and even chill out on my foot, and when he couldn’t see me he would cry. He was a cute little bird, and I knew he would be one to keep as a pet.

Now, I don’t have many pets on our farm, in fact I only have one “pet” for each type of animal we raise, and it would only ever be one that’s kept for breeding. Our bull, Rocky, is my favorite bovine, Miss Pig Pig is without a doubt our pet pig with Brody as a close second, and Violet was my pet chicken. I don’t have a favorite turkey. It’s a tough job raising animals, especially the way we do, and allowing myself to have one pet is what makes it easier for me to raise them for food. It’s not anything like losing a dog or a cat, but at the end of the day I’m saddened by his death, and I’ll miss his presence.

Tags: Chickens, Pets
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