Another round of the "Roo or Hen" game

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by melissacathryn, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. melissacathryn

    melissacathryn New Egg

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    Aug 26, 2013
    Hello!
    Its my first post here. long time reader...

    This is our first go with chickens, so I'm a newbie and extremely inexperienced.

    Got these chickens from a friend of a friend, and this Brahma is HUGE compared to the others and exhibiting some, uh, interesting, behaviors in comparison to the others. What is your vote, rooster or hen?
    I still think she's a hen but my DH insists he's a boy.

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    The person we got them from said "she" was about 6 months, but he really wasn't sure. not sure if she's laying or not, we've had issues with each of the girls not laying so its hard to say.
    any input would be appreciated!!
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Thats a hen, not a rooster.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  3. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    Ooooohhhh....I love playing the gender/breed game...although I can definitely make mistakes....BTW [​IMG]

    Your Brahma looks like a hen to me. She has the hen body shape (roo's are more upright and lanky), and I don't see large comb and wattles nor saddle feathers which should be present in a 6 month old rooster. You can see a comparison of roo to hen here: http://www.cacklehatchery.com/lbrahma.html#light

    What behaviors are worrying you? She may simply be trying to take a dominant position as she's a big girl. Hens can be pretty snotty when they do that. They can scream, chest butt, bully others. If she's too much of a pest, you might "time her out" in a pen by herself for a bit, then reintroduce her. That usually knocks them down a notch or two on the pecking order. (Be careful she isn't distressed or become panicky and aggressive if they rest pick on HER too much then.)

    She's fully developed, but her comb looks more pink than red (I'm going by the colors in my monitor from the photo)...If her comb is more pink than red, I would say she might be younger than 6 months. Close to laying age but maybe not quite there yet (maybe 4 to 5 months?). Her comb will redden just before she starts to lay.

    BTW, the other looks to me to be a New Hampshire hen, and mature enough to lay, so you should see eggs from her soon.

    Lady of McCamley
     
  4. melissacathryn

    melissacathryn New Egg

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    Aug 26, 2013
    ladyofmccamly- thank you! that is a wealth of information that i was unaware of. Strangely, the brown hen in the photo is the only one of our girls who is actually laying, as far as we know. She was the first hen we got, and she's been laying since then. we added the two other hens, (who brought leg mites into our coup), and at first our original gal was still laying and a couple weeks laying they all stopped.
    we haven't had any eggs, except for two day ago we found three in the coup.... its all a mystery to me, and I'm learning as i go!
     
  5. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    Hens can stop laying for a number of reasons, too hot, molting, changes in environment, changes in food, illness, or parasites...either mites or worms. It is always good to investigate anytime you have lowered production to make sure it is something benign rather than problematic.

    Since you know you have mites, and they were laying then suddenly stopped, this may be the root cause. EDITED TO ADD: upon re-read, it also may have been you just added 2 new birds to the flock which would have disrupted the environment. But it is good to investigate the mites, as they can definitely cause poor laying as the bird's energy goes to the mites rather than eggs.

    It may take a bit to get the mites under control if the infestation is bad. You probably are doing this already, but in case you need some information, you can get various poultry dust at the feed store depending upon the kind of mite you have (ask and read the label). The best thing is to get a large baggie, sprinkle dust inside liberally, and then place the chicken inside the bag, with head sticking out, and gently shake and move the dust...sort of a shake and bake without the bake part. You will need to really get it worked into their feathers well. Also sprinkle their coop area and nesting boxes liberally as well as where they take dust baths. You do NOT want mites to get out of hand! Some types you have to burn the building to finally get rid of them if the infestation gets heavy...but I'm sure you are nowhere near that level.

    Another cause for laying and then suddenly not laying is molting; however, your hen did not look like she was molting from the photo...however if you are finding tufts of feathers everywhere, her color, she has stopped because she is molting. She will finish and grow new feathers and lay again.

    If it is the heat, make sure they have adequate water and food. Any disruption in the food or water supply will also curtail laying. I like to add vitamins/electrolytes in really hot weather or if they are under stress due to being moved or adding others to the flock. It helps boost their system during stress periods.

    HTH
    Lady of McCamley
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  6. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    ...Adding also....
    Since you are adding older hens to an existing flock, have you wormed them? If they came off a poultry ranch, or anyone that has numerous chickens, it is likley they may need to be wormed....and worm infestation can definitely reduce egg production.

    I like to use Rooster Booster Triple Action, Multi Wormer as the wormer med used in it is the only one on the market that is currenlty FDA/USDA sanctioned for egg layers AND it has no withdrawal period for the eggs. (I sell my eggs, so I prefer to stay within FDA/USDA approved meds.) It is super easy to administer as it is pellets you add to the grain. Spendy, $30 for 1.25 lb that last my 16 hens 1 week, but would last your 3 a long time. Commercial growers keep continuous feed, however many small owners like me use it for one week a month or periodically.

    If they aren't laying that well right now, this would be a good time to worm them. Many like to use Safeguard or Panacur. It is an off label use for chickens in the US (but is legal in England for egg layers under Flubenvet 1%). I like to get the kind that you can put in the water, but it's not hard to squeeze a pea size drop into their mouths...if you've ever pilled a cat or dog, it's actually easier than that. Usually you administer once then follow up in 10 days. Egg withdrawal is 10 days after last dose...so 20 days of pitching eggs.

    I also get good results for inbetween worming with either Verm-X (spendy but easy to use)...or I make my own by grinding the essential ingredients in a blender...raw pumpkin seeds, cayenne pepper, fresh garlic granuals, and then adding Molly Herbal Wormer which contains wormwood. All of those have been shown to be effective in discouraging worms and boosting the hen's immune system. (It does not kill or paralyze worms like the meds do though...merely helps keep them at bay).

    Just more information...hopefully helpful...learned from my experiences in keeping my hens production healthy and happy.
    Lady of McCamley
     

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