A few of Frodo’s fans inquired about how he was doing last week, so we thought we’d devote this Fowl Friday to all things Frodo. 

"This post is all about ME!" - Frodo

Our young Dark Brahma, Frodo, is now 22 weeks old.  If you’ve been following along, you know he’s been through a lot in his short life.  Turned against by his flock-mates, he was ousted from the coop before he’d even grown in his first full suit of feathers.  Then after weeks of feathers falling out, and growing in again, reintroductions to the flock were disastrous when Siegfried tried to shred Frodo through the side of the chicken run.  Taking a chance with the older ladies, Frodo seemed to do well at first with our orchard hens, right up until one of our hens, Ginger, snapped, ripping Frodo’s tail out, leaving nothing but a bloody stump. It’s really not been easy being Frodo.

...it's not easy being different...

The last few weeks Frodo has been separated from the other chickens.  After Ginger attacked him, we were hesitant to keep him outside while his wounds healed, primarily to protect him from flies.  Flies, open wounds, and warm summer weather, can be the perfect recipe for…I really don’t want to say this…maggots.  Makes me cringe just thinking about the nasty little creatures.  Keeping the wound clean and dry, and Frodo fly-free, was absolutely imperative for him to heal as quickly as possible, and prevent any infection.  After a few days sequestered indoors though, Frodo’s wounds were scabbed over enough to send him back out to forage around in the sunshine, on fresh green grassy weeds during the day.

Don't laugh, this was all that remained of Frodo's tail after Ginger attacked him

It’s now been almost a month since we pulled Frodo from the orchard, bleeding, with a featherless derriere.

However, as you can see in the video below, he’s absolutely no worse for the wear…well, except perhaps for being more wary of other fowl on the farm.  His wounds healed without any complications, and Frodo was fortunate not to have any damage to the feather follicles, so his feathers are growing in strong and straight.

In just the last week he’s actually looking like he (almost) has a tail again.

Frodo's tail is looking much better today

His tail feathers still have a lot of growing to do, but it won’t be long before they’re back to the length they were.

His tail feathers will grow much longer over the coming weeks, providing we keep him away from the hens

His saddle feathers, although shorter than they should be courtesy of Ginger’s pruning technique, are just now starting to grow long again…

Frodo's saddle feathers on his back, just forward of his tail, are growing back

The saddle feathers are long and slender, and will drape down Frodo's side in front of his tail

…and his hackle feathers have been filling in well since Siegfried gave Frodo a haircut.

No more mullet! Frodo's hackle feathers are filling in nicely around his neck

Speaking of feathers, Frodo did acquire his name for a reason.  His feet!  Even though he’s still nowhere near full-size, and won’t be for another 6-8 months, his feet are getting huge, and more feathery than ever!  Really, Frodo Baggins has nothing on these feet…

Frodo's toes are getting huge!

Frodo's feet are heavily feathered, and more feathers are still growing in!

In the last few weeks Frodo has also been starting to connect with his ‘inner rooster’, and the one thing all roosters are famous for, is crowing.  Siegfried has been crowing for weeks now, but Frodo’s crooning abilities are somewhat lacking.  Hear it for yourself, this is how Frodo sounded a couple of weeks ago when he first started to realize that crowing was something he should be doing.


You can hear that Siegfried tried to coach him from afar, but Frodo appears somewhat tone-deaf, sounding more like the horn from an old Model A, than a real rooster.

Even now, he doesn’t yet have the typical sounding rooster crow.  Although he has progressed somewhat from the ‘Ahooga’ horn sound over the last couple weeks, but it’s clear his voice is still changing, and he needs a lot more practice to get his rooster song down cold.


He obviously won’t be auditioning for any episodes of Glee anytime soon!  We expect in a few more weeks though he’ll be fully rehearsed, and crowing like a pro.  Hopefully by then, we’ll have Frodo’s new house started finished!

There’s a lesson in Frodo’s tale, or should I say tail, for anyone considering chickens. Being different in a flock, whether it’s significantly different in size, in color, pattern, or rate of growth, can cause some members of the flock to single out the individual that’s different.  In extreme cases the flock may kill the individual that stands out.  This usually won’t occur until the chicks are larger.  In Frodo’s case, by 7 weeks of age he looked significantly different than the rest of the flock, and that’s when all his trouble started.

At 7 weeks, Frodo really stood out in a crowd

It doesn’t mean that a varied flock will always have problems, it just increases the possibility, even when they’ve all been raised together.

When we selected our chicken breeds, we intentionally chose breeds that would all grow at about the same rate, and all have a similar weight range as adults. Frodo was our surprise bonus from the hatchery, but it’s unfortunate that considering the breeds we had already selected, that the hatchery didn’t choose a bonus chick that was more evenly matched at least in growth rate.  This clearly has been Frodo’s downfall in the eyes of the flock.  However, although we may never have selected the Brahma breed on purpose for just that reason, we do love having Frodo around.  So much so that I at least would love to have more Brahmas here in the future.  It just would have been so much simpler if Frodo had been accepted by the flock.