Getting the flock out of here - a diary of a crazy chicken man

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ozexpat, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    it is overkill. i freely admit it lol

    i want to make an impression on Bernie as to the importance of cleanliness as well as Biosecurity.

    Additionally, he has not used a Fogger and Oxine can be a lifesaver in a coop that gets a resp infection. It will be a good practice.
     
  2. Tomtommom

    Tomtommom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ow, losing both eyes sounds horrendous.

    Glad the quail are doing better, a shame you had to lose so many before getting to the bottom of it [​IMG] Oh well, every loss provides a lesson learned and only has you coming back stronger.
     
  3. Sweetpea3829

    Sweetpea3829 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 1, 2013
    Two questions:

    1) Is it normal for a cockerel who, from hatching, was always friendly and sweet and lovey, to suddenly become a MONSTER? Because I take back every good thing I ever said of my Barred Rock cockerel, Bob. He was always the first to come over to my hand when he was a hatchling, and was always lovey and snuggly when picked up (as snuggly as a chicken can get, people). But about two weeks ago, its like somebody flipped a switch and he's literally chasing me out of his pen. And not for nothing, but I've stood up to the sonofagun, given him a good square kick, and he STILL is coming after me. Plus he's becoming mean to the pullets. I WAS planning on sparing him from the rooster culling, and using him for stud in the spring, to get some more BR chicks...but he's on his way out.

    Is it because he's hitting puberty or something? He's about 4 months old.

    2) We're using sand in the bottom of our coop. Scooping the droppings usually brings a bit of sand along with it. Can I still use the chicken manure in my veggie garden, even if it has quite a bit of sand and chicken feathers mixed in?
     
  4. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    Is he the only boy in that pen? SOMETIMES they go through a stage then get over it, but if it were me, I'd send him packing. You don't want to pass that personality trait along to chicks. There are too many good roosters in need of homes to keep a bad one........ just sayin'...............
     
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  5. Sweetpea3829

    Sweetpea3829 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No, he's not the only cockerel. There are four pullets and four cockerels. Ironically, one of the other cockerels was the mean one for the longest time. He just wasn't ever very nice. Bob was always so sweet...lol. Now, every time I go near the pen, he starts scratching with his feet and stomping and stalking the fence line. And if I enter the coop, he's all in my business, attacking my feet, legs.

    I think he's going to go with the other boys for processing, which makes me kind of sad...lol.
     
  6. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    You know, I believe that if you handle and love on a rooster, it brings out the mean in him. I think the saying "Familiarity breeds contempt" is true in roosters. The ones that you never handle are never sure about you and keep their distance. Another habit I have that I think keep my roo's in line is that once they start calling the hens to themselves with tidbits, I give the treats to the roo, first, and let him call the girls over. My roo's run to me at treat time and then show off the treats to the girls. Later I just scatter them around and hand feed the girls and the roosters ignore me completely. I think it puts me in a different category (in the rooster's pea brain) and I'm not considered a rival. It's just a thought, I have them all the time........some of them make sense!
     
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  7. maryhysong

    maryhysong Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a hatchery quality BO roo that started getting mean as soon as the hormones hit. He was destined for the stew pot because even kicking him across the coop did not get through to him. Then his pen was hit by dogs and they got almost all the birds before I arrived home from work. He survived, just barely. (In fact I thought he was dead, laying on his back until he started making godawful noises) For some months afterwards he was very skittish and stayed out of my way. Then, completely recovered from his injuries the meanness started again. In self defense one day I whacked him with the lid to the steel barrel I kept feed in. Hard enough to send him staggering (this was the 3rd time he attacked me since I went in to feed) He shook himself off and came at me again. And I walk slowly and quietly around my birds, I had never done anything to the girls to make them squak or upset. But as soon as I opened the gate he was spurring me. I collected eggs for a week and had mean rooster soup.

    Then I read about a different way. To pick them up and carry them around, even hang them upside down, but not whack them. I have a Marans boy that has occasionally jumped at me, but not really tried to spur me or hurt me (unlike the BO who was leaving bruises on my legs he was hitting me so hard). If he jumps at me I pick him right up, tuck him under my arm and carry him around while I finish feeding and watering. I do pet him under the throat and talk softly to him. At first he would peck at my hand. Then I would take his head and shake it some and tell him no! then pet some more. In a few minutes I set him down and he takes off. Usually he steers clear of me for at least a week before he comes close after one of these sessions. Sometimes he will look like he is thinking about jumping at me and I just square off to him and shake my finger at him and tell him I'm watching you! Sometimes I'll take a couple steps towards him too. Lol. Then he starts pecking at the ground and acting all innocent like.

    I don't know if it's a complete answer, but so far it seems to be working, at least he hasn't tried it in a few weeks.

    Sand in the garden; if you have clay soil sand is recommended to help loosen it up. Don't think it will hurt a thing

    ETA I hatched about 14 chicks from two hens and that BO roo. Every one of those boys was a meaner, even before they were 4 months old. Sent the whole lot to freezer camp.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  8. Bens-Hens

    Bens-Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have not had a mean rooster, what I thought was 'rough on the girls' was just how they mate! So, take my contribution with a grain of salt.

    Some roo's I think are just bad natured, especially when they start thinking about girls and their protective instincts take over. Some traits I have read about kind of make sense to me. These are not human pets, they are flock birds with a strict hierarchy. Ideally, the owners want to be at the top of that, and not challenged by the flock.

    In nature, the rooster rules the roost (and if he does not he is eventually killed or chased off) If this instinct is strong, he will challenge the owners (same as a dog). There are certain behaviors that we presume are nice pet friendly traits, but in the rooster world, those traits are being submissive. I learnt this with a alpha pullet who seemed to like to climb on our back when we bent down to pat another bird. We like to pat our nice birds, but to them, the alpha is preened by the lower level flock members. Patting and stroking is preening, and submissive. Holding them up high elevates him above the flock, bringing him up to your level, he thinks he is above you or at least in with a chance to be above you, so he will challenge.

    They are just a couple of actions that we now don't do unless we have to, particularly with roosters, we need to keep them top of the girls, but below us, if they don't tow the line, they will soon be off to freezer camp. Similar to dog training, letting a dog walk over you makes them the boss IMO you need to keep that in check or you could face issues down the track.
     
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Well, y'all know me as someone who doesn't do the Freezer Camp routine with my roosters unless it was absolutely necessary. I love my birds, but I don't love "on" them beyond hand-feeding treats once a day. If some don't make it to the traditional spot where I sit in the afternoons to offer BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds), they miss out. I do scatter some for the less brave birds. I say this to try to describe the dichotomy that is my affection for poultry. I love them but don't love "on" them. If a chicken wants to sit on my leg, or the arm or back of a chair or bench next to me, I appreciate it. But I don't pick them up and carry them around unless I am training a cockerel or rooster to respect my authority. This is only necessary if he has challenged me. Otherwise, they stay on the ground. Kicking at a rooster is a challenge; connecting does not solve the problem even though it may get talons away from you in a knee-jerk reaction. I walk with purpose towards and "through" a cockerel or rooster challenging me. I will walk him backwards until he turns away from facing me, then I just continue forward as if that was my intended direction. I have held and pushed a rooster to the ground, holding him down until he stops struggling (gives up) and I have carried roosters around for a while for the same reason. My dominant rooster Carl knows this drill and HE has been a great help in kicking the butts of young cockerels foolish enough to challenge me. Chasing - that is, at speed with the chicken leading and facing away from you, will not make it respect you OR "gentle" a "mean" rooster. Kicking out at one invites challenges. I have had ONE truly mean cockerel. He met his fate after he injured hens and tried to kill a beloved non-dominant rooster even after that rooster was cornered and obviously no longer fighting. Almost every other rooster I've had in my flock has been obnoxious during adolescence. It's just the hormones. They did settle down. It took some management, but all but that one afore-mentioned cockerel was redeemable - mostly because I understand testosterone overload is not permanent and sometimes a rooster is just doing what he's supposed to be doing: protecting hens & his flock. Carl has run at me and flared his neck feathers when he heard a hen squawk as I pick her up to put her out of my garden. He has never flogged me, nor has he let other roosters challenge me, much less flog me. Of course, your mileage may vary. Just don't think kicking at a rooster will teach him anything constructive. It won't. Chicken brains don't work that way.
     
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  10. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    I agree!
     

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