In process of training our rooster not to crow

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ravennest, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Ravennest

    Ravennest Out Of The Brooder

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    I know this sounds like a far fetch idea but my daughter and I wanted to keep our roo Don; who we thought was a Dot. We discussed culling any of the pullets we bought at first sign of crowing as not to disturb our neighbors. I read stories of how a lot of people at the larger factory breeder places cull the roos because they sell more hens. And how people give up on having their roos because of many reasons. So we thought if there was a way to train a roo not to crow.... maybe people wouldn't be so negative and they wouldn't have to get rid of one of the best things about owning chickens. We kept on reading up on roo behaviors...we found out that some people found that they said that roos crow because of first light, they inherited crowing, the only way to stop it is by an operation, but nothing about trying to teach it something different. So we gave it a go.
    Our pullets were born on February 15th of this year. We got Don first when he was about two months old. He was the only one we had for the first week. We did what you would normally do when you get pullets but we handled him a lot. When I say a lot I mean a most constantly. Sitting on our shoulders was not uncommon when in or out of the house. And he was given treats. One thing about treats that work in our favor is if you find their favorite it makes things a lot easier.
    When handling the 'girls' we would call them we have our own call we use for treats or food call in general around feeding time. This is the same time every day; so as to develop a routine. And to make sure there is a response you need them to come to you when called, even if you don't have treats, they should follow you anyway. Everyone has to be there before food or treats are given. When they were younger; we would always put them on our laps and we would somewhat cover them with the upper half of our bodies. Almost like leaning over them and giving a hug. Kind of what the hen does when she goes to sit and a chick or two would be under her. Not heavy or full weight on top of them. As they get older and bigger this is only done occasionally as needed. If we wore a jacket on early mornings get cool here, the flaps of the jacket would hang down a bit like wings we when squatted and sometimes when in the yard the 'girls' would walk under us or under the flaps and peep out. We brought them outside every morning around 5-6 am walked around with them, showed them were the worms were, scratched, pecked ( using our hand closed like a beak), and called to them if we found or brought anything tasty into the yard for them. As close to what the hen or roo would do when foraging. This is to try to establish you dominance. We are recognized as part of the flock. All this sounds strange but we became part of the pecking order and we are the top rung of the ladder.
    Well, we expected Don to crow round 5 months like people had told me he would...nothing. I thought we were sleeping late or something so I began to wake at 4 am to wait to see if I heard anything...nothing.
    Six months rolled around...and I heard his first attempt. Now in most cases when one roo crows they all crow, or the top roo will start chest bumping and fighting the other roo but I didn't want him to crow. I walked out there and hissed at him and yes I told him 'No'. Now I know he is not a dog but all animals can hear and he has heard me say 'No' and hiss at the dogs and cat. And yes all my chickens and dogs and cat socialize together. But yes he did stop immediately. Once everyone was quiet, I waited a bit and then called everyone to breakfast -treats were past out. That was the first week of August.
    Now the day before yesterday I over slept do to a sinus headache, Don of course does not, he noticed, and after attempting to wake me by knocking on the kitchen door, my daughter said he crowed once just after 6 am. My daughter had let them out they protested her not going outside and they came back in a few times to peck at the door again. Now I know what older roos go through when they run out of energy.
    Yesterday I was lagging and Don let me know it. One kind of half-hearted crow to get up and I went onto the porch were he stopped and looked at me and waited. I was moving too slow for him...due to sinus medication. I usually walk around outside with them and the dogs in the yard before I go back in to feed myself and get coffee. He was going to make sure I enjoyed the morning if it killed him he persisted till I went outside like I usually do and walked the yard. He followed behind.
    Today, he actually waited til I was up and awake in the kitchen making breakfast before he crowed. It was just at 6 am. Each of these times I hissed at him and said 'No' he stopped. Until this morning he changed his routine. He crowed after I was awake and everyone got treats. So he seems to be waiting to see what I do now before he does crow. I still hiss at him and say 'No'. He does stop. And he doesn't crow for the rest of the day. But he learned and is trying to adjust around my habits now. Who knew they were this smart.....hope I can use that to my advantage. We will keep trying......back to the drawing board.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  2. acro1010

    acro1010 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have the time and use your energy lots of things people say can't be done gets done. Me, I'm lazy :)
     
  3. jannakaye

    jannakaye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is so interesting! I wish my roo was as smart as yours, but he's just plain mean! Lol good luck!
     
  4. Ravennest

    Ravennest Out Of The Brooder

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    I am not sure if he's really smart or if he is just ' reacting' to something around him. For the past few days we haven't been turning
    on the kitchen lights and he stopped crowing for a bit. Now he waits till he sees me to crow or if I go back into the house he will knock
    on the door then crow til I walk out with them into the yard.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  5. Ravennest

    Ravennest Out Of The Brooder

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    Lazy or crazy....lol....we just wanted to see if it could be done. One thing he has only crowed once in the morning -when he has crowed-
    but not at any other time. They have picked up a 'bark' ....yes like a dog....its an alarm / distress call...very distinctive.
     
  6. Ravennest

    Ravennest Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, Don still crows...we tried. Nothing worked....no surprise there I guess. We kind of figured that the crow seems to mean
    several things though...in chicken..at least to Don....lol. Its like learning a new language. Since they can't use cell phones to text
    and message, as my daughter puts it. 'Morning!' - "Is everyone here!" -'Hey come on!'


    He's first out the door at the bottom of the stairs waiting for everybody. He is usually standing and up at 5 am but doesn't crow until
    its is between 5:30 and 6 am or he sees me. He doesn't crow past 6 am unless I keep him covered then he does it later on.

    I was told they crow throughout the day or they usually do and Don has not...at least not yet.
    It seems to serve a multi-purpose function too. Once everyone is set outside, I have walked the yard a bit with my coffee, everyone is settled and eating and they go about their day -he doesn't do it again. But if I don't go outside he marches everyone back in to get me. If I try to ignore him...he will crow! Right at the kitchen window...till I go outside. Kind of wonder who is training whom.

    Since we have used a large kennel to transport them, as a brooder when they were small, etc...we have been putting them in just
    before we all turn -in and covering it up with heavy cloth sheets. They stay cuddly warm (its been pretty cold here at night lately in the 40's)
    and they seem to like it. Only one corner has been kept open to allow the light in the morning. I keep all the outside doors
    closed since it will help muffle the sound. He still crows three times but you can barely make it out when anyone is outdoors.
    So he gets to do his thing where it won't disturb anyone. So far so good.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
  7. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You may really enjoy this documentary on chickens. I found it fascinating and learned a lot...especially at how quickly they can learn. I've had chickens for several years but saw this only a couple of months ago and it made me look at my own flock in a whole new way.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
  8. Ravennest

    Ravennest Out Of The Brooder

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    Nice...thank for the info......
     
  9. Ravennest

    Ravennest Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Well its been a few weeks now..... yes Don is still crowing. We found out that a crow means a lot of different things in chicken language.....depending on how it sounds. Every morning at day break Don will crow that is a given.....first light. He will wait about an hour or two (depending on how bad the girls bug him) to crow again. We have always fed them at around this time so that was kind of expected .....usually 6:30 to 7 am. We let them out of their kennel...yes they are kennel trained...to eat a bit of breakfast, treats and their vita water. Then they go outside.
    Don has different variations on his crow now. It depends on what he or the girls want, new eggs in the nest, someone is at the house or on the property they don't know, flying predators, deer or other animals are in the yard that won't leave (and they come get me to move it).....lol. Sometimes even if the car in the driveway is one they don't know. If they're way off in the back of the property and I call them for a treat....depending on how far they are Don will crow as they approach I guess its so I can hear them even if I don't see them yet.
    Another reason is if I am not out in the morning like usual. Seems I need to be seen out in the mornings...at least for the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. Or the girls come in to peck at the door until I do and he will come to the door and crow. He also head bobs- side to side -when we are all together in the yard around the same time too.
    [​IMG]

    The picture directly above is when he noticed the camera ...yes he is conceited. With or without a beak full of pasta. Didn't know that they could 'talk' so much either. There are a lot of different sounds and movements they do. I call it 'dancing' and they tend to do it a lot unless the ' freeze or run and hide' call is used.
    He's gotten more aggressive now that the girls are laying and his spurs and sickle feathers are coming in. But we continue to check all over their bodies for any problems. The only difference is with Don I will hug him until he calms down, in front of everyone, the girls don't even pay attention too all his complaining. They just walk away now so he has no choice but to get quiet. We give him the once over. A snuggle then set him down. He will shake and readjust his feathers then walk off as though it was 'nothin' but a chicken wing' kind of moment. You can compare it to giving your son a good day kiss on the cheek in front of his high school friends.....yeah now you know what I mean.....that embarrassing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
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