Last Updated: 5/20/13
Pondet Broods Again
Additional Small Updates
Pondet Broods a Third Time
The End for Pondet
On 4/27/07, Pondet, decided to go broody. She was sitting on just a single egg since I collected the eggs daily to prevent her going broody (did not work obviously). She last hatched two chicks in 2005. The survivor, Speckles, was the presumed father of her baby so Pondet was trying to hatch her baby which was simultaneously her grandbaby. The baby was due to hatch on 5/18/07. Here is a photo of her brooding on 4/29/07: Pondet brooding her one egg.
On 5/17/07, I cheeped near Pondet who was acting like something was happening. I thought I heard a cheep back. I thought Chickie was piping. It was not until I got home on 5/18/07 that I first saw Chickie. I took photos of course which you can see here. Chickie was mostly yellow so she would mostly be white as an adult like most Delaware's. Chickie is 75% Delaware and 25% Araucana. The next morning, Pondet wanted Chickie to jump out of the nest box but she did not know how even though I had put some ramps in. I finally late in the morning picked up Chickie and put her on the ground barely avoiding Pondet's wrath. Chickie was very reserved, small, and not at all boisterous. I was hoping that meant Chickie is female (update later: Yep, she is!). Pondet tried to beat up some bread, grapes, and mealworms into smaller pieces for Chickie but, as of 5/19/07, I had not seen Chickie actually eat anything. I put up a barrier of chicken wire to keep the other chickens away from Pondet and Chickie. It was not a great barrier but it should suffice for the month or so before Chickie was probably going to be safe. I was so worried that a snake would get Chickie like it did Sprouty two years ago. Chickie was darling and did not have any obvious problems despite the inbreeding. My father went out and got some chick starter (minus the antibiotics). Chickie's first night after leaving the nest was spent under Pondet in the open, in mild rain showers! I set up a plastic storage tub on its side with fresh hay so they could nest in there since Chickie could not or would not climb the ramp to the nest box in which she hatched. They so far had not used the ground level nest either. I was worried about exposure. Pondet would not let me move Chickie. She was very protective.
Update 5/28/07. So far, so good! Chickie now had her first real feathers on the wing tips which were white with a little gray like Pondet. I made three videos of Chickie and Pondet which you can see on the bird videos page.
Update 6/17/07: Chickie was now a month old and healthy. I was afraid Chickie showed signs of being male. Chickie had a lot of dark color unlike Pondet and was very lanky (long legs and neck). I hoped I was wrong, and Chickie is female. Speckles flew into their area once as did Poulet. No harm came of it aside from Speckles having his way with his mother. I have not put them together all the time because I am worried that Chickie might get under the fence where Sugar is and get stuck or hurt. Chickie had a lot of feathers now and could flap fly a few feet.
When I went to check on the chickens the night of 6/24/07, Pondet and Chickie were up on the outside roost! It was six feet in the air! The nest box roof is about 2.5 feet off the ground and nearby so they hopped up onto there first and then flew to the roost. I had not even seen Chickie ever on the nest box or fly more than a few feet horizontal to the ground so this was a surprise. I said, "How did you get up there Chickie?" She cocked her head as if to ask, "Where are the mealworms?" I had been letting Speckles in with his mother and sibling/offspring for short periods of time when I was filling up their bowls. Speckles chased his screaming mother until he could rape her. Chickie at the same time went to the other side and ran in circles screaming too so it was too stressful for her still. I was going to wait a few weeks to combine the two "flocks" (if you can call two chickens a flock) even though Pondet and Chickie were now roosting in the open and got soaked in a thunderstorm their first night there.
On 6/29/07, I found Pondet and Chickie on the outside roost again. Again, there were thunderstorms which they both weathered just fine. I decided to start the flock integration on 6/30/07. I removed the door between the two runs. Speckles co-mingled with his mother and daughter/sister. They seemed to get along okay. Sugar was in his caged-in area, and the girls had not gone under there yet (which I worried about). Poulet would not come down off the roost. Her nails were overgrown so I cut them. She made a lot of noise and upset the other chickens. When I put her down, she ate a lot of food like she was starving which she must have been because I never saw her on the ground (around that time)! She went right back up to the roost inside the house. She needed light and exercise! Of course, so did Sugar but I did not have the ability to build something better for him. Later in the day, Pondet and Chickie took a dust bath in the house. Pondet kicked dirt all over her daughter. Did I say daughter? Well, it seems that Chickie now has some decididly female traits. She is small, female-shaped, small comb, and the tail feathers have stopped starting to stick out. So, my mother now sweared she was female. I was thinking that maybe she was! I will add more updates later.
When I went to check on the chickens on the night of 7/1/07, Poulet, Speckles, and Pondet were all up in the roost in the house. Sugar was in his area. Chickie was on the ground crying (the equivalent for chickens anyway). So, I put her up next to her mamma. I watched for a few minutes. Poulet starting pecking ferociously at Pondet and Chickie. Speckles tried to protect his mother/lover and daughter/sister but Poulet was persistent. Chickie flew down. Eventually, Pondet flew to the other side of the house. Finally, she and Speckles flew down. When I checked a few hours later, Pondet and Chickie were roosting on the outside roost. If this keeps up, I may have to quarantine Poulet in with Sugar so she can stop being so mean to the other girls. Poulet spends almost her entire life up on that roost and really needs to get down.
The night of 7/2/07, I put Poulet in with Sugar. I put Chickie on the roost. This time, Speckles, Pondet, and Chickie were able to roost inside in peace. In the morning, Poulet escaped when I took the bowls out by going under the fence. I would see what happened that night.
Luckily, that night Poulet slept at the other end of the beam roost. They seemed to get along okay now. The problem by 7/5/07 was that Pondet did not want to come off the roost during the day because of Speckles (who wanted to mount her). So, Speckles was now baby sitting Chickie! Speckles was giving food to Chickie and spending time with her while Poulet and Pondet hid up inside the house! Chickie was so sweet and cute beyond words.
Chickie had her final integration test. I found her in with Sugar on 7/5/07. He did not harm her. I coaxed her out with mealworms. Later that night, she was in there again and would not come out so I went to get mealworms. When I got back, she was in the window sill. The next morning, when I came back with their bowls, she was in with Sugar again. She came out to eat. Poulet and Pondet were still cowering up on the roost because of the roosters while baby Chickie was spending time with two huge roosters.
On 7/6/07, at night, when I checked on them, Chickie was roosting below, alone so I put her next to her mother, Pondet. Pondet immediately pecked at Chickie a lot, and Chickie cried. Pondet would not stop so I moved Chickie next to Speckles who protected her. I guess Pondet thought that tiny little Chickie was all grown up but she was still so small! It is sad when the mother hen turns on the babies; it usually does not happen so soon (7 weeks).
The next day, 7/7/07, Pondet and Poulet came off the roost after a few hours. Pondet attacked Chickie by standing on her and pecking viciously. Chickie hid in the nest box. I took photos on the photo page of Chickie in there. Later, she went in with Sugar who was nice to her. He handed her foods like mealworms that I put in. She was so small and could easily go under the fence when she wanted. I think she preferred being with her grandfather instead of her now nasty mother.
Update 8/18/07: Sometime about a week ago, Chickie lost her "cheep." She now made noises closer to those her mother made. She seemed very small for her age. Her mother still attacked her if they were near to each other so Chickie usually hid in the separation cage with her grandfather Sugar. Pretty soon, she would be old enough for more incest in the chicken house. I wish the boys would just leave the hens alone!
By 9/20/07, nothing has really changed. Chickie was a little bigger but she was still the pariah. She went under the fence to join Sugar or up on the new high roost to get away from her mother who attacked her whenever she could. Unlike her mother's side of the family where hens have big combs, she got her grandfather's side of the family's trait of small combs. She has almost no comb like her great-aunt Spicey (who died a while back).
On 2/16/08, Chickie laid her first egg. It was green like her great aunt Spice's egg but a little bit larger. My mother ate it and said it was the best egg ever. Things in the chicken house remained the same. Sugar was in his enclosure. Pondet and Poulet mostly stayed up on the roost. Chickie and Speckles (her father, half-brother, and lover; talk about inbreeding!) walked around the main areas which the other girls were missing out on (of their own volition).
On 5/24/08, Pondet went broody. My mother flipped out about how we cannot have more chickens (which I knew, like it was my fault she wanted to be a mother again!). So, using a board, I stole her eggs. She squalked (how in the world do you spell that?) and puffed up. I picked her up having a fit and put her to bed. She had gone broody on one of her eggs (fathered by her son) and one of Poulet's eggs (the only hen not related to the roosters by blood). I feel like I destroyed her life (certainly those of her babies).
A month or so later, Chickie also went broody (just for the day). In early August, Pondet went broody on six of her own eggs that were in the caged area with Sugar so I had not yet removed them. Boy did she have a fit when I took those. The morning of 8/3/08, I entered the chicken house to find Sugar hanging upside down. His spur was hooked on the fence dividing him from the other chickens (for all the good it does since they all seem to come and go under the fence). I unhooked him. He had been hanging all night. At first, he could not walk. I thought his leg was broken. He limped for a few days but then seemed fine so I guess the injury was temporary and healed. For a few days there, I thought he was a goner. Now that he was older and badgered by his son, Speckles, he no longer seemed as aggressive with me. Speckles was nice to me but he was constantly force mating the three girls including his mother Pondet and daughter/half sister Chickie. They screamed in agony and wildly tried to get away but my mother insists it is not rape.
There has not been much to report lately. On 11/27/08, I soaked Poulet's feet in some warm water with Epsom salts to work off a ton of poop, dirt, and feathers stuck to her feet. I also trimmed her nails. She had trouble walking and even standing. I hoped that helped her but I feared she would not be around much longer. The other chickens seemed the same as always.
When Pondet went broody for about the fourth time of the year on 7/26/09, my mother said it was okay if I let her hatch her egg but, if it turned out to be a boy, I would have to "pay the consequences." This would be Pondet's third hatch. Her son Speckles (along with Sprouty who was eaten by a snake as a chick) was her first in 2005, and daughter Chickie was her second in 2007. I was going to believe this baby would be a girl so I have named her Petunia even though she was not yet born. There was a possibility that one of Chickie's eggs was under Pondet as well but I had not seen under there yet. Chickie's baby would have a father who was also her/his grandfather and uncle which is a bit too much inbreeding! Pondet's baby would have a father who is also his/her half brother (as Chickie has).
Ut, oh! Pondet was off the nest mid-day on 8/1/09 (Saturday so I was home). She had two eggs of her own and three of Chickie's! That was five potential babies. Two of the Chickie eggs were very dirty and probably old ones that I did not see in the straw so hopefully those will not hatch. The newer Chickie egg may have been deposited during the week so it may not hatch either if abandoned early to take the others off the nest. I did not want Chickie's doubly-inbred babies to be incubated but did not have the heart to kill them now that they were growing. Some chicks may fall victim to predators, chickens, accident, weather, etc. so time will tell what we get.
Well, my mother saw Pondet off the nest on 8/5/09 and called me at work screaming. She demanded that I remove most of the eggs. I refused. She said she was going to kill all of them but she did let two remain. I told her to remove the green eggs (Chickie's) over the brown eggs (Pondet's) so I guess I am complicit in the murder of three of my innocent grandchicks who were 50% formed and ready for life.
On 8/15/09, Pondet started acting like something was happening but I did not see or hear baby Petunia until I came home from work on 8/17/09. I found the other baby in the nest box that my mother named Daisy. The baby had piped and was fully formed inside the broken egg. It appeared to have died either by being squished or suffocated by its mother. I was sad for him/her but tried to focus on Petunia. The last two times that Pondet had babies, I kept them separate from the flock for fear they would be harmed. This time, the chickens were all together. Speckles was a good father. Poulet and Chickie had not bothered the baby and did not even seem interested in her. I would call Petunia a girl because that was what she had to be. It would take months to know Petunia's sex for sure [Luckily, she would turn out to be a girl.] Petunia was very boisterous and loved to eat bread and mealworms the most. I could tell that my grandchick was very smart.
I put up photos on the chicken photo page. Petunia almost died at least twice from being stepped on. Both times, I heard her crying and found her laying on her side unable to get up. I picked her up and eventually she was able to walk. It is dangerous being so small. Even if she were just with her mother, she would be in danger. I think it was her mother who stepped on her both times. The second time, she was seemingly violently pecking at her baby but I think she was trying to prod her to get up. I was so afraid I lost her.
As of 8/29/09, Petunia was doing well! I was surprised it had gone so well for her. It had not gone as well for 8-year-old Poulet who had been near death for months now. Not only did Speckles bite her head and squish her while mounting her at his leisure but Pondet had decided to mount her (dominance, not sexual) and peck her head violently for long periods of time. Perhaps Pondet thought Poulet was a danger to Petunia which was ridiculous. Poulet was screaming and bleeding a lot. And yet, at night, Pondet cuddled with Poulet with both of them brooding Petunia even. Poulet could not walk easily; her feet were turned under, arthritis perhaps. Despite my parents disagreeing, I could not take Pondet's suffering anymore and brought her inside. I put her in a large dog kennel. I got her to eat a few mealworms but she otherwise would not eat or drink. I put Neosporin on her bloody head. Chickens can be so caring with each other and then turn and be utterly violent. I did not think Poulet was even happy to be away from her tormentors but at least she could now die in peace.
Update 9/5/09: Petunia was doing really well. She still seemed very small but felt heavier. Poulet was still inside and now eating enough to sustain herself. She could not do much. She tried to move using her "arms" (wing tips) but it was very hard for her. She did enjoy her mealworms though. Petunia could put down more than a dozen at once!
Update 10/10/09: Petunia was doing well. She was fully feathered but a bit small for her age. Petunia showed no male characteristics at this age because she is a girl. On this day for the first time, I found Pondet on the high roost clucking to Petunia who was cheeping on the ground. She still could not get up there so I lifted her up. I just hoped she did not fall off during the night! I hoped she could stay warm enough up there. Pondet's previous two chicks (Speckles and Chickie) were both roosting earlier than Petunia.
Update 10/28/09: Petunia still spent the night under her mother on the ground but she could fly up to even the highest roosts if she wanted to do so.
My father took care of Poulet in the dog cage for two weeks at the end of 2009 because I was in the hospital for a week and had major surgery and could not get up. My father had a tough time taking care of Poulet. To do so required lifting her out, then removing the newspapers which were on top of Piddle Pads (sold for puppies, to absorb the liquid waste), replacing those, replacing her, and then cleaning and refilling her water and food bowl.
Petunia laid her first egg on 2/11/10. It was laid at six months of age almost exactly, strange how that is always the case! It was large and green. The colored eggs are dominant so her egg is green even though she is only a quarter Araucana. Petunia is almost identical to her mother Pondet. Chickie has also put on mass. The only way I can tell the three girls apart is by the size and shape of their combs and wattles. Because Chickie has a short krinkly comb like Spicey (Araucana like Sugar) had while Petunia's is large like her mother's, I think that maybe Chickie's father was Sugar after all and not her brother Speckles. If that is the case, then Chickie was not inbred. Sugar has taking a "liking" to his daughter/half sister Petunia! The roosters just never learn.
After almost six months indoors (since 8/29/09), most of that time completely lame, Poulet died on 2/18/10. She was alive when I came home at 5:10 PM but gone by 5:30 PM. Until the last few days, Poulet used her wings to move about and really savored her nightly mealworms. It was a lot of work taking care of her indoors but it was not all bad. She was a fighter.
Update 5/20/10: All four chickens are doing well. Pondet has developed some bumble foot and is having more trouble getting around so she is getting older but is still functional. She is also laying eggs less often and only once tried to brood one this year so far. Chickie and Petunia are very healthy and usually each lay an egg a day. Speckles is in his prime, gorgeous and such a sweetheart. It's actually easier to hug him than even touch one of the girls.
The morning of 4/13/13, Pondet was lame. She could waddle but she could no longer walk. I could not get her to eat any food or drink water. She would not even take a mealworm. I also wondered if she was partially blind. She was nine years old, and I thought she was dying. Two days later though, and she was still alert and moving around a little bit. Speckles has been having problems this year too. His feet bother him. He flicks them with every step like something is stuck on them. All I can see is mild bumblefoot but I expect arthritis. His tail feathers also never grew in correctly, and his daughters have been picking on that area. As long as Speckles, Chickie, and Petunia do not harm Pondet, I would leave her in with them for the rest of her time. Petunia is laying an egg a day. Rarely, a second egg shows up from Chickie.
As of 4/29/13, Pondet was still alive. She was eating and moving around some. She used her wings to sometimes travel 10 feet in a day. The other chickens were not bothering her. She did not seem to be dying; she was just lame. Poulet lived for six months lame inside. Pondet was eating; I moved her to the bowls twice a day.
Pondet was dead in the morning on 5/8/13. She had seemed less interested in food the last few days. Pondet was the only broody hen that I have ever had. She was the mother of my three remaining chickens, Speckles, Chickie, and Petunia. She has quite the legacy. She lived an incredible nine years.
After Pondet was gone, Chickie's behavior changed over the next week. She had always slept high in the ceiling, alone. Now, she is down with Speckles and Petunia. Pondet had always pecked Chickie whenever they were near each other. Now, Chickie pecks Petenia whenever she comes near! The hierarchy changes quickly. Then, a week or so later, Chickie went broody on air?! She sits in the corner (no eggs) and fluffs up and makes the same noises and gestures that her mother would make when she was broody. They get a zombie look in their eyes and make clucking noises unique to brooding. She only gets up to eat. Speckles sleeps next to her. Chickie attacks Petunia just like if Chickie were a broody hen. Chickie has stopped laying eggs and just sits on her invisible eggs. I had read that broodiness is a recessive trait. Chickie's father was Sugar, an Arucana, which is a non-broody breed. Chickie has never before shown broody behavior, and she is now six years old!
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