For Every End there is a New Beginning

Today was a real emotional roller coaster. I had planned to get a new frizzled Serama rooster today and was all excited when I woke up this morning. I got up and went to feed everyone only to immediately notice Caesar was at the bottom of the cage lying on his back with his feet straight in the air like a damn WB cartoon. There was my absolutely beautiful six month old rooster dead as a doornail on the same day I was going to give him a mate. The night previous he did seem a bit off. He was cuddling at the bottom of the cage with his sister with his feathers all poofed up like they were both freezing. Of course being in the house it was 70 degrees, far from freezing. His sister looks fine today. She is bright and alert. I am at a loss. Birds are so frustrating in the sense they get sick and die in the span of hours, sometimes showing mild symptoms while at other times giving no clue at all as to what’s going on with them. In this regard they are the most trying animals I have ever had. I only have one theory – that the new insulation (Foam It Green) that we sprayed a week ago may have “off-gassed” and killed him. Why it only effected him and one sister while leaving two other birds in the same vicinity completely unphased I shall never know. In any event I was depressed and annoyed. I’ve been to every vet in the area for one reason or another and there’s only one avian vet within reasonable driving distance. He’s a total ass, charges way too much, seems to know keenly little about the species he professes to specialize in, and probably wouldn’t have treated a chicken anyway. So it’s not like I had much recourse. Still. I was pretty down. Here’s a photo I took of him just a few days ago playing with our cat Special.

Death or not I still had a date to meet a new rooster. This rooster I was planning on giving to Caesar’s sisters when I moved him out to be with an unrelated hen. I knew he was a frizzle though I didn’t know much else. My correspondence with the woman was very brief. After we arrived we found a very happy woman in a very big house surrounded by her four equally cheerful (opinionated and well mannered) children and her amicable husband. We talked for quite awhile and I came to the conclusion that so far chicken people have been the most pleasant and down to earth people I could have hoped for.

Earlier on I had planned to name the new rooster Octavian since he’d be the eighth Serama in our wee little flock but since Ceasar had died this punderful name just seemed morbid and unsuitable. I ended up naming him Popcorn after the aroma of the property he was on. Plus he looks like he could have popped out of a popcorn kernal with his curly little feathers. When I saw him his color didn’t really sink in. However when the children brought out his parents my jaw almost dropped. His father was solid chocolate or dun. Looking down at Popcorn I realized he had a lot of brown on him too, as well as black which chocolates cannot have so I guess he’s a mottled dun. I can’t believe I somehow stumbled onto this find… the exact rooster I was going to have shipped for quite a bit of change. To beat this was his wonderful extremely docile personality and his intense little eyes. He’s going to be a smart one. I know it. Currently he’s residing in quarantine until I deem him safe to put with my two hens. The family was delighted he was going to be a house chicken and not snake food (although I never did find out why this was such a specific concern. It seems rather expensive snake food to me!)

While all this is going on I am waiting to see if the eggs I have in the incubator will hatch. Seramas are rather untimely when it comes to hatching. A normal chicken egg will hatch on its 21st day of incubation. Eggs incubated at a slightly cooler temperature might take as long as 23 days. Seramas are less predictable. Some hatch as early as 18 days, some as late as 23. Tuesday will be the eggs 18th day so I guess I have to just sit and wait to see what happens with them. I am excited that they developed more than any eggs I have had but there’s still a nagging doubt they might not hatch, that they might have all stopped developing at some point. I could never see the veins people keep talking about, nor the dark spot that’s supposed to be their eye, or the beating heart and general movement. All I see is a big black mass. My light probably isn’t bright enough. I will know if I start hearing peeping and I can only hope as much.