One day I found Darrington, head rooster, limping and looking wobbly. Of course, I could not catch flighty Darrington, despite his ailment. I tried on a few occasions and called it quits until he went into the coop at night, as I didn’t want to make his condition worse by making him run around like that. Nutty rooster. My first thought was injury or toxicity, followed in quick succession by, “Oh no, not Mareks…” Darrington’s father, Mr Darcy was struck by paralysis from late-onset Mareks when he was just under Darrington’s age. It’s no secret that Darrington is not my favourite rooster, but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to him yet. The two older cockerels are only 12 weeks old, which is not old enough to properly judge their qualities.

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Darrington was not his usual self.

Darrington was not happy about being put in a cage. At first he refused the vitamin water. He probably thought I was trying to poison him. But after syringing some into his beak he started to come around to it. Every time I went to open the door he flew at it in an attempt to bust right through it, which obviously didn’t work. He is a free spirit. He does not like to be captive. On the second day, I was glad to see that he wasn’t deteriorating. On the third day, he was walking around more and not lying down very much. It was doubtful that Mareks was the cause, as paralysis gets worse quite rapidly with Mareks, in my experience.

I put Darrington back out in the pen to see how he went. Well, he shot off at a ridiculous pace, almost running on one leg, with an intense determination to get away from me. I continued to watch him. Although he still wasn’t quite right, he was doing a lot better and the young boys weren’t big enough or bold enough to challenge him. He seemed to be doing fine and was getting up on the roost and other high things. I’m still not sure if the cause was an injury, like a sprain, or something toxic that he might have eaten. In any case, you wouldn’t know he had anything wrong with him to look at him now and I’m glad he’s doing better.

In other male chicken news, Paris’ Betty chick was seen sitting on the edge of the compost bin, crowing, at the tender age of FOUR weeks old, on the dot. Well, no waiting game there, then. One of her own chicks is surely a boy and I think the other three are girls, as they look different to the boy and have from early on. Paris is moulting furiously, which is not helping her social interactions. Rory’s three older chicks are all looking like girls and are on their own now.

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Paris thinks she’s queen of the world, even though moulting is making her look ridiculous. Paris’ suspected boy is on the ladder. The Betty boy is on the far right.
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Note the lack of tail on the suspected Paris boy (left). His sisters have many more feathers at the back end. The Betty boy is beside him. 
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