Game Chicken "Barrel Huts" - Why and How?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Soli, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. Soli

    Soli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Until I moved to Tennessee, I had never seen chickens kept in what locals all call "game bird" places that mostly raise chickens for fighting. When you pass these places, the yards are dotted with sometimes a hundred barrels with a bird staked by each one, on a leg tether. They usually also have coops, but the barrel thing has me wondering.

    How do they keep predators away from their chickens? Surely a barrel as shelter would not deter the average raccoon or neighbor's dog? They almost never have fences.

    You often see their gamefowl commanding high prices due to the (assuming) illegal nature of what they are for. So it seems to me that these barrels must work, but I want to know why and how....I'm exploring ways to keep multiple roosters for a breeding program, and since they are longtails, cages and wire enclosures aren't ideal. But a few barrel huts might work and a tether would give them much more room to move about than a cage - I just hate to do something without understanding it - I don't see how it protects from predators.

    Also, does anyone know if they put a perch up inside the barrel, or if it's just shelter?
     
  2. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    I've wondered about the barrel hut village that I drive past regularly as well. This place does have a chain-link fence but it's only 4' so I can't imagine it keeps all that much out (it certainly does not keep the hens in!) I didn't realize the roosters were tied to those barrels but now that you mention it, I haven't seen any of them wandering far from their huts so perhaps they are.
     
  3. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    Predators like an easy meal without a side of got whooped.
    So they visit folks with plumb hens instead.
     
  4. Soli

    Soli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haha...BooBear you have a point. Those roosters are not ones to mess with. But I would still expect that they'd be easy prey at night when at roost, especially to wandering dogs/coyotes, etc.
     
  5. KFox

    KFox Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I saw a similar set-up and stopped to ask. The roosters are tethered so that they can almost reach the others. So a predator that gets in, is not likely to get out. If one rooster doesn't attack, the others will. I was also told that the fence has an electric perimeter for winter months when easier meals are more difficult to find.

    When leaving the property, I noticed several free-rangers moving through the front yard and crossing the street. I assume they are the easier meals.

    I was not aware that these could be used for fighting or I may have thought twice about stopping to ask so many questions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  6. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Frequently there are large dogs that serve as predator control as well. They are not all illegal cock fighters, though many are. I just got some o shamo and that would be an alternative way to keep roosters from killing each other in a breeding program.
    ETA: Realized this could be construed as being okay with the use of them. I could see it for short term ranging maybe on a day time basis. I would hate to be penned to such a small area of the world for any long term.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  7. birdboy15

    birdboy15 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A game cock is no match for a coon, seen this on many occasions. a teathered bird is an easy target. thats why you keep all you can afford to and plan for losses.they are kept on barrels becauase it is cheep and easy. a woven wire fence with a hot wire on top is needed to keep out large predators. many keepers have large dogs that live with the chickens. Game fowl are expensive because a) some breeds are extremely rare 2)they have to be individually housed to keep them from killing each other c) most breeds do not lay many eggs, and have fertility issues due to inbreeding.
     
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  8. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Ah, so the hens I see out wandering near the road are the less valuable, easier meal?

    I've also wondered what it sounds like there first thing in the morning -- will roosters kept together like that crow more or less with their close proximity?
     
  9. birdboy15

    birdboy15 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the hens that are wandering around are either extras or mixes for egg laying. the roos will crow more to try and assert their dominance.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:Welasharon is on mark about using livestock guarding dogs. They will handle coons very well and keep most other predators from causing too much trouble. High value of the game birds is that they take in many instances 18 months to mature and most be housed separately before the reach a year old, actually about 5 months. Hens not a productive in respect to eggs either. Such housing makes husbandry more labor intensive. I have not used the barrels yet but will be doing so in coming year since it is also easier on feathers as birds not inclined to roost against walls or coop wire.
     

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