Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chickylove12, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. Chickylove12

    Chickylove12 Songster

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    Yikes...I mean yokes...lol..I love a rooster crow..but I don't have the heart if they were mean...maybe I will toughen up. I should start with just chickens I think.
     
  2. Chickylove12

    Chickylove12 Songster

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    When you say if the rooster rushes or bites at me..dont get the bird..I already have..lol..if he is in the coop. Do u mean..dont keep him?
     
  3. Chickylove12

    Chickylove12 Songster

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    Just have to say..this is waay better than Facebook lol..thankyou so very much everyone for your thoughts..suggestions...insight. I do..I DO...Yes I DO THINK IT' IS WORTH IT!
     
  4. Chelseyb123

    Chelseyb123 Songster

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    Hello there! Id like to share my experience so far with my chickens an hope this helps since im still a new flock owner. Ive only had chickens for the first time since aug 2017. Starting off i read about feed an housing and thought thats all it took to have chickens. I never thought about the health problems they could have. I was really not prepared informational wise on different health issues that can come with these guys. So Once i built a house and pen, picked up some feed and I got a free 3yr wyndotte rooster from someone in my town, (so i could hatch out eggs) than i ended up with 5 of his sons. Man was i in over my head just starting out. But how was i to know that its common for people to lie about the sex of chicks. But i got over it an worked with what i got until i could get actually HENS or PULLETS. So next month got two hens an two pullets so far so good got my first egg the next day.but little did i know that rehoming chickens can stop there egg production for a little while not just molting. Didnt get any eggs from the other hens until a month later. But i Made a bigger coop an pen for them. And by the end of summer i got four more hens. And had a total of 14. Thats a lot i think. For a first timer plus that many roosters with only having 8 hens. It was a lot to take on to my crazy mom life of three kids an two dogs but i stuck with it. I didnt wanna give up like many i had seen on craigslist or blogs on Pinterest. They had made a sweet spot in my heart and started to give me a real learning experience that i needed in my life. To me in general they are such a good learning tool for children an adults (i get questions all the time when i bring them up). Theres always something new to learn about your flock, other breeds, different ways to grow own feed for them, molting, eggs, the hatching of chicks an of course health problems they can have. But Most can be prevented. I have yet to have any serious health issue other than with my young chicks i hatched in dec but that is common.Anyway its normal it be paranoid or scared. Who isnt with something new to them? But all you can do is educate yourself an be prepared just like witany other animal. Many of the diseases they can have can be prevented or cured if caught early depending on what disease. But yes i think its worth it if your whiling to stick with it an educate yourself. Thats really all you can do. The only way ill give up with my flock is if i am unable to care for them. But i dont see that happening.i hope this helps. This site is very helpful and useful an always someone here to help with any questions or problems you may have. Good luck with whatever you choose to do :)
     
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  5. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Crowing

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    Yes, that too. :p Mean roosters can be nearly impossible to break. Don't matter if you're nice or mean, unless you want to have to carry a big stick around whenever you go into the pen (and maybe be prepared to use it) don't keep a meany.

    Mean roosters are very bad for your flock. Even if they are nice to your hens, imagine trying to pick up a hen that is in pain with a rooster that attacks you when the hens are upset? Trying to fight off a rooster that thinks you're attacking the hens while trying to fix an already traumatic experience is not a situation you want to be in.
    If your rooster attacks you when you try to examine your hens for health, parasites or injury you might be less inclined to handle your hens. This is bad. Chickens don't show signs of illness until it's serious. If you walk away from a chicken that seems sluggish because of your aggressive rooster you could have a lethal problem the next day.

    If you have kids, friends, strangers, dogs, etc. who are chicken-friendly and might want to see your birds, your rooster is a liability and danger to them. Children can become very badly injured by roosters especially, as the roosters tend to go for the head and face.

    It can get so bad that you can't turn your back on them, or bend down to do chores around them. Not to mention that your hens will pick up on your rooster's anxiety and you won't have "pet" chickens any more so much as wild ones.

    You won't even be able to think about trying to do something like treat an illness/injury on your rooster without a second person.

    It's just bad for everyone. Including for the mean rooster. It's not nice living in a place where someone you feel is a threat is constantly invading your space, manhandling your family, and you can't get any healthcare. :p

    My rooster is not "friendly", but he is a good rooster. He stays 3' away from me at all times. If I pick up a hen and it fights me, he might come closer to keep an eye on me but he never gets close enough to be within my reach. My hens will come eat out of my hand, but he will hover back and watch carefully. Catching him is hard, but he doesn't bite when I do. I can nab him off a roost bar at night to do basic healthcare on my own. He's a good boy. He charged a dog in the pen once and he keeps the hens under cover when hawks are around.
    Bad roosters are just plain bad. So never ever deal with a bad rooster when there's a good rooster out there that will get eaten instead.
     
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  6. Chickylove12

    Chickylove12 Songster

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    I really really appreciate your commitment to the rooster. I would be like you. I just don't have it in my heart to see them as disposable. Yes..I am researching all I can..at least a year out from building a coop and getting chickens. I will start with just a few ..yes you have a lot on your plate..but your heart and dedication to them is admirable. You are my kind of friend.
     
  7. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Pullarius

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    Here is my viewpoint on raising and training cockerels. It's served me well for about fifty of them; I have only had two human aggressive cockerels and one of those was when I decided to handle the bird and treat him nicely, as shown in the next paragraph. The other was an interesting case I will outline later under 'special exceptions'. The breed of the bird has a role in how firm you have to be and how friendly towards them you can get without sparking aggression. In general, Mediterranean class birds or those with a sleeker, upright look are the ones to watch out for and keep at arm's length. Larger dual purpose breeds tend to be more ho-hummety and docile. Bantams have spirit but they are smart and are pretty easily instructed to not be man fighters. These are gross generalizations and many, many birds are dead opposite of their breed traits, so don't get all mad and say your Leghorn cock was the sweetest thing on two legs and how dare I lie so bold facedly. ;) These are living creatures and they vary as much as people do. Genetics within a breed also has an impact on potential for aggression, but most of us have hatchery birds which aren't selected much one way or the other.

    First off, it is my belief that there are (at least) two types of aggression: fear based and familiarity based. They need different treatments, and the fear based aggression is much harder to eliminate and may spin off from familiarity based. Sometimes—or even most times—there can be a share of both in a bird. Prevention is the best cure for these poor confused things. Fear based is characterized by the bird running away with feathers flat to body if confronted, a desperate look to them, and quick jerky movements. I'd describe the latter as how a squirrel moves. Their attacks are generally from behind and when you spin and confront them they run away all in a tangle. My experience with it is as follows: I had a Sultan cockerel that was treated more human than chicken. He would run up to me and sit on my lap, follow me around in search of treats, and I had him trained to sit when I put gentle pressure on his back and to crawl out under the run fence when I lifted it up. He was a real sweetie. Then, as it does for all birds, maturity came. He became more distant and acted a bit off. Being a brand new chicken keeper with a year or less under my belt, I didn't do anything to correct him and gave him the same gentle treatment as always. I do not remember all the details, but I think it was at about 11 months that he went bad. He started running up to me whenever I came near and would whale and beat and do whatever he had in his little fluffy power to put bruises on me. He was quite successful at it too and managed to inflict bleeding even through a pair of stout boots. Spurs are sharp! Well, unfortunately, I turned to the Internet for help, and it didn't give me much of it. I read posts from those that wouldn't even let the bird look at them. I tried that. He wasn't allowed to crow, mate, or come near me when I was in the coop. He was NOT injured in any way during this, but it sure scared him. Yeah, that backfired, and it turned into a lovely case of fear based aggression where he would sneak up on me, nail my boots, then run away in terror before I came after him. Then I read posts from the rooster huggers that hugged their meanies. I tried that to see if it would work even though he had been handled tons before the first incident. He was so terrified of me by that time that all that did was make him more scared. It started as a classic case of familiarity based aggression but unfortunately I did all the wrong things and it spiraled down to fear. Moral of the story? Don't copy me! If I ever had another fear based case (which shouldn't happen—this is easy to prevent by handling them right) I would try moving calmer, slower, and be confident but avoid any strong body language. I might even spend time holding the bird. The reason why I think gentle and frequent handling might help in these cases is that these birds see us as threats, as hawks or dogs. They are being brave in their little minds and defending themselves and their beloved hens. This might have still worked for the aforementioned case if I had been willing to spend months working with him, but I was sick of not being able to enjoy the hens, and I didn't know then what I know now. So he was sold for slaughter.

    Now for familiarity based. These are characterized by the males that stare you right in the face, that give you the figurative middle finger when you ask them to move out of the way, and attack you right from the front without any hesitation. Many times these are the hand raised brooder babies that were just darling as chicks. They have no respect for humans and a potty mouth like any Ottawanian. Like fear based, these are best off de-fused early before they attack, but if you are reading this in desperation for your little Fluffy, there are a few things to try. Change your body language to confident. This is especially helpful if the bird attacks only one member of the family or all but one member. Those are tip-offs that it's a body language issue. Keep your shoulders back but slightly relaxed, feet straight, and a soft but steady eye contact on an object that is not the cockerel. If you are a horse person, think of it as riding—look where you want to go, not where you're going. Make him move out of your way, never move out of his. Still, challenging the cock or cockerel at this point is a bad idea—don't do that! Ignore him in general, don't give your attention to him, and move briskly, but in a predictable manner. If he attacks again, immediately chase/kick/get him running and out of your space. I push them to about a metre and a half away, depending on how bad the bird is. After that, drop the aggression instantly. Watch your birds when they are not paying attention to you; if you have two cocks or cockerels you will see this method is how the dominant corrects the upstart. Short, forceful, and not sustained. That is a key point right there. Do not let him get within a metre and a half (or whatever distance you chose) of you, ever; chase him out the same as before. Even if he's coming to get food in the mornings he should still not be allowed closer than that. Be consistent. I have tried long and hard to decipher what I do with aggressive cocks and I think after a rush at the bird I copy to some extent the quarter turn/side exposed move the winning cock does to a lesser. I think it tells them "You have a choice. Come at me again, I'm still ready; or drop the matter now and I won't continue." Often they pause and then scurry away. All of the above should be done too if you have a bird showing warnings of aggression that I will detail later. It is better to prevent than to cure.

    As a side note on interaction between cocks, have you ever noticed that sometimes the winning bird will chase and chase and chase the loser? That bird is then terrified of the winner and will nearly kill themselves trying to get away. They are de-throned snivelling wussies and that is why I think humans trying to take the 'rooster' role is a bad idea. We are not the rooster, we are a separate critter that demands respect. We are not present enough to keep the role of flock leader. When humans try this, I think that the cockerels are alone with the flock enough that they still think they control the flock yet they're scared out of their minds at the same time. If you're present enough that chasing the bird around all the time works, I'd suggest not bothering to own a rooster since you're probably roosting in the coop with the chooks at that point. :lol: What I am trying to say is speak their language, but don't try to be a chicken—they have a job to do, and for Pete's sake, let them do it.

    If you can identify early signs of aggression you can start correction early and save yourself much hassle. Birds that seem dangerous and possibly aggressive as cockerels can be trained up as lovely flock roosters with a bit of care and watching. Some of the most common pre-attack signs are as follows:
    —The bird gets uncomfortably close, like your uncle Red asking you after a drunken Thanksgiving dinner if it was you that stole his watch last year.
    —The bird stares at you from a distance and tries to get higher than you on objects.
    —The bird drops one shoulder and shuffles at you in a sort of dance. Some times they pick up and drop rocks or items with their beak. When directed towards the ladies, this means he's trying to woo them, but it means aggression when directed at people. They'll seek out eye contact and have a rather villainous look on their faces.
    —The bird takes to crowing pointedly in your direction when you enter or leave the area. I wouldn't really recommend this as something for a newbie to look for in terms of aggression as it's too easy to mistake regular crowing for aggressive. Nevertheless, I included it as it is something I have noted.
    —His clucks take on sort of a low minor tone that swing up at the end. They're often chopped in sound and may be directed to hens, which is innocuous, so see the warning on the last item and apply it to this too.
    —The bird moves his head around a lot and flips his wattles about like a girl playing with her hair. Weird analogy, I know, but for some reason I see excess movement of wattles as a big sign of what's going on in their brain. Learn 'normal' and then you can note these things.

    If you see any of these start the same protocol as described in the familiarity based aggression section. Treat it as severely as an actual attack. I have prevented several birds from going bad this way, including a Svarthona cockerel that was one of my best successes. He started displaying those signs above at about six months of age after admittedly being raised until then with rather lax methods. I chased him two metres away (I didn't have enough time left before d-day to ease him into that distance gradually) and never let him get closer for months. No exceptions. He completely dropped all signs of aggression and became a model bird, not even looking askance in my direction. After several months, I gradually reduced that bubble size and let him become a bit friendlier again. Slowly is the key here, you can't just drop this one day and expect to be able to handle him easily. By the time he was a year old, I had reduced that bubble size to nearly nothing and he was perfectly behaved. He turned into one of my most respectful yet tame cocks and he was trustworthy around even children. Quite a change from a bird that acted ready to take an eye out.

    Now, after that exhaustive bit on correction, here is my method of raising the birds so you never have to go to that much bother.

    Starting from day one, I treat all the chicks the same, male or female. I don't have autosexing breeds so even if I wanted to vary treatment between the sexes I couldn't. They get cuddles, they learn humans are nice, and they get to live in the house for their first weeks—because I can't resist how cute they are any more than you all can. I think this helps ward off later fear based aggression but I have no proof of that.

    Once the young birds have hit a few weeks of age, they will be distant, rather grumpy due to pinfeathers, and in general go through a skittish stage of a few weeks to months. Some hens won't completely settle until lay. I don't force handing then, I let them do their own thing except for checkovers now and then. The cockerels should be able to be identified around this time. I don't re-tame them... I do re-tame the hens. That's crucial, in my experience.

    With every cockerel that has reached that stage, I start slowly refusing to handle them even if they ask for it later. Cockerels are so friendly as juveniles (especially when compared to pullets) that it's hard not to, but you have to be tough even if he's asking nicely to get picked up. At the same time switch your body language towards him, which I hope was still fairly confident before. Do not move out of his way, make him move out of yours. Keep your shoulders square but relaxed, feet square, and move through him. Don't chase him, he's done nothing wrong, just demand respect by your stance. Don't directly challenge him; that would constitute of staring eye contact and a slightly sideways square posture. This is near exactly the instructions for aggressive cocks except it is more gentle. You don't have to make these changes suddenly, in fact, I suspect gradually is better so as not to confuse the poor hormonal thing. Have about a bubble of about a 1/3m to 2/3m radius (smaller than you would have for for prior offenders) around you and keep him out. If he walks in there, make a short move at him, kick if needed. No, I am not advocating throwing a rooster halfway across the yard because he walked too close to you, I mean a shove to move him away. You could do the same thing with the same intensity by bending over and giving the bird a little push with your hand, but using your feet is safer for you. Drop aggressive behaviour immediately after he jumps and runs away. I keep repeating this because it's important. If you watch the average cocks interacting, the dominant male keeps the lesser out of his space by short rushes. Chickens understand this sort of interaction and will quickly learn to stay out of your space.

    Probably the best thing you could do for your chances of getting a respectful cockerel is to not raise one with only the same-age pullets. They grow up thinking they're king of the world and no chook or human can cross them. Sure, it can work if you're careful; but I don't recommend it. If you must have only same age birds try having more than one so they keep each other in check. I don't recommend purchasing adult cocks either, it takes a while to learn to read them and get them to respect you. It can be done, sure, I've done it several times and they all worked eventually... I just much prefer raising them from chicks. So, what do you do if you're starting a flock? No same age cockerels, no brought in adults? I suggest getting only hens and raising them to maturity, then getting your straight run or whatever chicks and bringing them up with the hens. They will do much of the training that a cock would and make them learn to ask permission before mating and that they're not such big stuff. I did that, it worked, a friend of mine did that, and it worked too. By now I have anywhere from 5–15 cocks/cockerels year round and the older birds train the youngers beautifully. I don't have to do much work: they grow up knowing some critters just need to be respected.

    That is about what I do in terms of preventative behaviour. Once a cock gets to about 2 years of age (when he is truly mature IMHO) he's likely safe to tame if you still trust him then. I have a 3 year old cock that is now allowed to come up to me when I am sitting down and poke around by my feet. I pet him or mess with his wattles sometimes too, because he doesn't mind it and he's too cute to ignore. Why do I let him do this? Because I trust him. He is the nicest testosterone-filled animal I have met. I think he is truly safe in people now, after being raised according to the above points. He has shown a slight sign of intended aggression (dropped shoulder, cocked head) once in his life, when he was little. I corrected him immediately and he's been an angel ever since. It's all about respect and permissions.

    See these two eating off my lap? They were just under a year old in this image. They never, ever came this close to me in daily life, and were raised by the above guidelines. I had given my permission to them here, and look at them: they are not afraid. Respect and fear are different, and we're trying to gain respect. If your rooster is terrified of you, you are doing it wrong. Speak their language, and they will listen. Scare them by whacking them around without cause, and they will not.
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    What if you have bought a grown rooster that you really wanted, and now you are trying to get him to fit in as well as the other birds you raised from a day old? In my limited experience, they require a different, softer hand for a good while. These birds are terrified of you, and can and will turn sour. Rushing at them whenever they come near only solidifies that in their mind. I had noted this with the last two I bought, so, with my most recent purchase I tried a new strategy. I held him. I'd catch him in the morning and lug him around while I did chores. I never let him go until he was relaxed enough to close his eyes and put his hackles down. It worked. He no longer beat himself against the pen bars trying to get away, and he didn't bite. This isn't promoting overt familiarity, this is making up for what home-raised cockerels have that he didn't: confidence in me, that I won't harm him or his flock. Will he get any more leeway than my own males in the future? No. I'm just setting a foundation.

    Now, what about those special exceptions, those cockerels that are just the sweetest little cheese puffs and the other cockerels that are made of smouldering evil and make you taste fear in your throat when you do chores? Those exceptions are why you have to apply common sense and change your methods some times. Case one: an OEGB cockerel that was as wussy as jello and refused to stop being friendly. Even if I pushed him away he'd just look up at me with big doe eyes and wonder what he did wrong to make his 'mommy' mad. He really seemed to be different. He was quiet, meek, and good with the hens even when he was well past the stage to have started hen-chasing. So, I let him be friendly, and I'm glad I did! He was the sweetest thing, and would come and interrupt picnics and beg for some food. He particularly liked cotton candy, the spoiled booger. He would come oversee all projects, whether it was changing the tyres or fixing the lawnmower or having a meet and greet for the foster dogs. He was a character, and children loved him. After a while he did grow a bit more distant but he was still quite respectful until he got killed by a dog at 10 months of age. :( We all miss him and I am glad I made an exception to my 'rules' for him. I rather wonder if he had something wrong with him, because the amount of damage the dog did should not have killed him, and his comb was purple. A weak heart, maybe.

    Case two: a huge, brooding Australorp that unnerved me. He was raised the same way as every other cockerel, and he had two brothers that were sweet little guys. Not him. He was a biter from week one. Correction didn't seem to have an impact on him. He would accept it then turn around and bite again. He would bite if you came close, not in an aggressive manner, but as a retaliation for coming near. That is why he creeped me out. Birds don't generally exhibit tit-for-tat tendencies towards humans. Repeated attempts to get him moving out of my space did nearly nothing. I had to shove him out of my space every time I came near—he would not move much on his own even after lots of work. I dialed up the severity of my pushes with some success. By the time he was 6 months old he'd grudgingly slurp out of my space when I approached. He stopped biting at puberty, but that eerie foreboding look still lingered. He made no outward moves to be aggressive, but I still trusted him as far as I can throw a polar bear. Which isn't far, by the way. He aged to about nine months... and then he finally attacked. I immediately sent him running about three metres and repeated that every single time he came near. He settled back down a bit and did not attack me again but he still felt like a bomb and a match stuck in a concrete mixer. I couldn't have kept that monstrous and brooding thing around to possibly injure children—or me. So I butchered him for the table.

    Anyway, that's a long spiel about nothing, eh? I am sure I have forgotten some points, especially since body language is mostly instinctual and hard to describe. There are probably things I do that I don't even know about. This seems an exhaustive list but it is really only describing what some people do naturally and others have to learn. I'm not always strict with them. You should be having fun with your flock. Rigidity and keeping at arm's length forever don't exactly a passion make.

    As seems to be my custom, I'll likely find some key point I missed in an hour and have to edit it in. One other thing I couldn't find where to put was that tapping on the head with a finger is a great way to correct young birds. It is what an older bird would do to reprimand a younger one and they get the point instantly. It works well on older birds as well, especially aggressive pullets/hens.

    Remember too that these things are generalizations, as the last two special cases show. Some have luck with other methods, but this one works for me. You will see as many opinions as you see flock keepers and you have to find which one works for you. Some even say that treatment of the bird has no effect on their end temperament, including the famous Kathy Mormino, who runs the blog The Chicken Chick.

    OP, in your case I think getting all hens first then getting some straight run chicks and keeping a male or two out of them seems like your best bet. Also, don't be scared off by that last story. That was one bird out of 50+, and the majority are great. All my Chantecler roosters are docile, sweet, and not aggressive at all.

    Edit 1/23/19: If you're interested in digging deeper into animal communication, I HIGHLY recommend anything written by Temple Grandin. That lady has an incredible gift for taking the subtle and writing it so even fools can understand. She's put into words some things I've struggled for years to describe or communicate.

    Edited to fix typos and expand information.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
  8. AllenK RGV

    AllenK RGV Chicken Addict

    I love chicken TV for the calming effect they have for me. I'm sure they will prove a worthwhile investment for you.
     
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  9. AllenK RGV

    AllenK RGV Chicken Addict

    I've seen compost used to heat water just incorporating a run of black water line through the pile on a few youtube videos for showering ect. The concept seems sound unless you are planning on using the humid compost exhaust gasses direct in the coop, depending on environmental conditions that would be a mistake.
     
  10. Chelseyb123

    Chelseyb123 Songster

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    Yeah im able to have them where i live an dont listen to what people say about them. I did have to cull one i tried rehoming but no takers. it didnt listen when called like the rest i was not attached in anyway to it and it was one last rooster i didnt need. But thats a different topic. Building the right coop for where you live an to keep predators out does need time an thought an what works for you an how many chickens you plan to have. If you want to be able to walk in it or not. Where the roosts and nest boxes will be. What type of litter you use etc. Than what breed you want and what will work best in your area with the weather.Your on the right track though jusy keep eduacting yourself an prepare for them until you get them the best you can an dont forget a chicken first aid!good luck!
     
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