Friday, June 17, 2011

If Napoleon Bonaparte Had Been a Chicken...

...he would have been our Mystery Chicken.  When we ordered the broilers and hens, we had the option of getting a "free, rare, exotic bird" that would delight us.  And who wouldn't want to be delighted by a rare, exotic bird???  So with much anticipation, we looked forward to the arrival of this little apple of our eyes. 

At first, Mystery Chicken seemed to be the runt. He (I'm 99% sure he's a Dominique rooster) is smaller than the rest and is actually pretty chill when you pick him up.  But toward the end of the first day, we noticed him making the rounds: he would go from chick to chick, pecking especially at the Rhode Island Red hens.  By day two, Byron observed that he was actually pulling feathers out of the other chicks.  We determined he had Short Man's Complex and dubbed him Napoleon for his incessant bullying of the populace.

Concerned that he would injure the others, we tried a couple different tactics.  Solution #1 was to send him on a campaign back to the hatchery, but we ditched that idea.  Solution #2 was to exile him to the Chicken Island of Elba, which came in the form of an box.  No sooner had we placed him in isolation than he leaped out of the box in a flurry of black to resume his dictatorial reign.  Solution #3 was divide and conquer.  We installed a piece of cardboard to divide the brooder and placed him with the Cornish Cross birds, which are bigger and will sometimes peck back when he disturbs their incessant gestation.  Let them eat cake?  They've heard that before, Napoleon.

Truthfully, we are concerned with the little dictator.  If he keeps it up, Solution #4 may be to put him up for grabs on craigslist.  Solution #5 is to exile him to the Barred Rock hens in hopes that one would adopt him.  Solution #6 involves the cat's version of Waterloo.  Kidding.  I think.

Emperor Napoleon the Chicken

Divide and Conquer.  However, we moved the chicks to the outdoor brooder last night and again, it's a free-for-all for the little dictator.
Any advice on dealing with a chick who is desperately trying to declare himself Emperor of the Brooder?


  1. Well, if I had one that was being that bad, as such a young age, I would be very lightly debeaking the little guy, sounds harsh, but don't think I could put down a little chick, and yet, its not fair to the others to be pecked.. Its worth a thought..

  2. We're pretty sure we've found a home for him! We only have 20 hens, so multiple roosters would have been a nightmare even if he hadn't been such a little jerk. :)

  3. Our mystery chick is my favorite gal in our flock- a bantam Buff Brahma. I love her so much we added 6 standards to the layers this year and thankfully they're the only ones that haven't had any losses!

    Our roosters have all needed to be taken out closer to 3mos. old, but the last guy lasted almost a year. Personally, I feel they're not worth the hassle unless they're part of a breeding program. Hope you get something figured out!

  4. We're hoping for a nicer mystery chick next time. But thankfully, we just exiled - I mean, delivered - Napoleon to a good home. :)