Mama Heating Pad in the Brooder (Picture Heavy) - UPDATE

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Blooie, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Cool! Thanks, aart!
  2. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

  3. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    Could you perhaps pass along some training tips? I know I have at least 3 roos in my group. I would love to keep one, but I don't want an aggressive one. Any tips to help him stay "nice" would be greatly appreciated.
  4. COChix

    COChix Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 12, 2014
    My Coop
    @Blooie Sorry to hear and read about your issues with Scout. Sorry that you had to cull him but it sounds like the right decision. RIP Scout!
  5. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    The objective is to condition a male chick early on to control his aggressive impulses. It's based on his accepting you, his human flock leader, as dominant. So whenever he displays any aggressive behavior, pecking you, for example, you need to get him in a confining hold and keep him in it until he relaxes, indicating submission. It's also a good idea to pick him up frequently and handle him in this proprietary manner so he understands you are the one in control, not him.

    This training requires vigilance and consistency. But it's well worth it because it makes discipline during the hormonal stage much easier and shorter.

    You need to pay very close attention as he nears four or five months. This is when you can expect him to test you. When he pecks you or does that little sideways dance, or flares his neck feathers, etc, either pick him up and confine him under your arm or pin him to the ground, his head immobilized until he submits.

    After age four months, the rules, no sudden movements, and Never. Turn. Your. Back. On. Him. are most crucial. This applies to anyone, spouse, son, daughter, who happens to be in the cockerel's vicinity. If anyone encounters the cockerel in his/her path, walk right over him, never veering to avoid him. He must be made to realize that he has to get out of your way. He needs to respect you.

    Many people have been unwittingly responsible for a young cockerel getting started on a pattern of aggression by being careless in his presence. Depending on the cockerel's temperament, even a small sudden move near a hen, or being near him and performing a task with your back turned to him, can trigger a sudden sense of fear and alarm in him that will cause him to attack you.

    The period between onset of hormones around age four months and the abatement of those hormones around age one year are very crucial months and you need to be on your guard constantly if you intend to keep this guy and have him turn into a well-disciplined and trustworthy rooster. After that, it's relatively smooth sailing.
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    If you have little kids, it's a good idea to get roosters used to sudden movements, erratic motions, to move out of the way when any human comes towards them or runs past them, etc. It's a good idea to condition the rooster to all the movements little kids make, like picking up hens or chicks, bending over, flapping their arms, running after the hens or him, or yelling, etc. It's sort of like running the sweeper when you have a baby so that you can condition them to sleep through any noises in the home.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
    3 people like this.
  7. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    The reason I stress the "sudden movements" near roosters is in regard to high strung ones who are fearful and have shown tendencies to indulge their impulses by biting. Bee is correct in insisting that generally sudden movements are a valuable ingredient of training. I would clarify my statement by saying that until you have the cockerel's trust, it's wise not to make sudden movements if you've observed that sudden movements trigger aggressive impulses like biting. After he learns he has nothing to fear from sudden movements, then startling him enough to keep him off guard and from getting the idea he's more important than he should is a good idea. It's also fun to keep the little rascal hopping and on his toes.

    The overall take away is that if you are going to keep a roo around and not eat him, you need to take the initiative and gain the upper hand with him, and be consistent and follow through. After age one year, if you've been conditioning your roo to respect you and he's given every indication he abdicates leadership to you, you can probably relax. Just keep reinforcing who's boss by acting dominant when near him, like Bee advises.
  8. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    I have never been bitten by a roo or any chicken.... Spurred yes which recieved a quick kick and me stomping toward him. or grabbing him up and hanging him by his feet for a while in my hand while I finish chores.

    The only roo that didnt change his ways toward me... was gone in 24 hours.

    but like Bee I have always had multiple roos... there will always be an alpha who will teach the young roos their place.... Beat em up with wings and spurs ... Its a quick thing a whap and a bash some feather pulling and off to the races with the younger one in front.

    No blood no scratches and he learns his job... To mind the main roo and keep his attention to the flock and looking for predators.

  9. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    In regards to cock behavior,
    I have found coop design is playing a part. I have 3 coops. 2 have raised coops with runs attached. One has a ground level coop with run attached. Coop A is a 4x6 raised coop with a 20 x6' wide run. In this run I have a cock and 6 hens. The run is plenty big to encourage the birds out from under the coop into the run to pick up a hen without the cock getting threatened. In coop B it is a 3x4 ground level coop with and attached 4x10 run. In it, to reach inside I am at ground level looking at the cock and he doesn't mind. easy to work with both cock and hen at eye level or encourage one of them inside or outside the coop so I can work with the other. Both these set-up cause minimum stress and threat to the cock.
    However, Coop C is a raised coop ( 2x31/2) with and 8 ft. run. Made by us, it is very reminiscent of the popular coop/run combinations sold on the Net.

    In Coop A, the run is long enough that the birds can go into it and have plenty of room to roam as I feed and water without feeling "pressured".
    In Coop B the run is small but I am working at eye level with the birds so they don't feel threatened.
    Here's the rub. In Coop C, this are different. When we made the run, we made it long enough so each bird has the required 10 sq. ft. per bird. But we have found out this doesn't work well when almost 1/2 of that distance is under the coop. Why? Well we get windy rain here so I positioned the feeder on a hanger under the coop. ( the birds do not want to eat and drink in their coop in warm weather) However, to service the feeder, I need to enter the coop standing ( hovering over the cock {from his point of view, a threat} ). The I need to move past him while standing ( another threat movement) and finally reach down over him ( another threat movement) into his private space under the coop) and fill the feeder. Needless to say, this cock, tho quite accommodating when young, is now 3 years old and master of his domain as it should be. My necessary movements to fill his feeder got me flogged good last week. Obviously, it is not the cock's fault, it is the design of the run in relation to the coop. Were the run wider and longer, he would not feel threatened or the need to defend his hen and territory. So we will be moving the birds around and either modifying the run-to-Coop C dimensions or dumping this coop/run and building another much more like Coop A.
    This situation causes me to pause and wonder if the problems some with these commercial coop/run combinations and the behavior of their cockerels and cock might have something to do with the run not being wide or long enough for the cock to feel secure in his defense of hen(s) and territory without feeling the need to flog folk tending to the flock. It's just a point for me to ponder and take into consideration the next time we build and small 3-4 bird coop.
    Best Regards,
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    I don't know. A few years back I had a pen full of cheap meat roosters of all different ages, breeds, sizes, etc. The pen was comfortable enough for them to walk around, fight, roost, etc but wasn't large enough to evade my presence when I walked in to feed or catch up a bird. I was going to be keeping them a month to feed them on better feed and get the ick taste out of their meat from the other place they had been. I had to walk into that pen and fill the feeder with fermented feed without letting them get past me to the wide door or flog my head when I bent over to dish the feed.

    The first day I went in and when they all ran towards me, I advanced and waved the bucket in their direction until they backed up. I kept standing upright and moving in their direction until they were all backed into one corner and standing still, then I bent over and emptied the feed...immediately they started to move quickly towards the feeder, but I waved the now empty bucket in their direction until they stopped and retreated to the corner. I stood up and just watched. Any time any of them broke ranks to advance on the feeder, I waved him back. When they all stood still and in the corner, without trying to dart towards the food or the gate, I finally stepped back and exited.

    The next day I repeated this behavior but it took less time and they retreated to the corner and stayed there better, only the leghorns tried to come to the feed but were quickly bounced back with the bucket. You'd have thought those roosters had been through this daily in their lives, they did so well.

    After that, when I entered the pen and bent to the feeder, they all retreated to the corner and stood, waiting until I stepped back and exited the pen before they advanced to the feed. After that I noticed less crowing in that pen during the day and less overall fighting. Each day they learned manners quicker and better and I didn't have to worry about going in and catching one, bending over doing this or that, turning my back on them, etc.

    I think maybe if you could teach your rooster to give you space immediately when you enter the coop and when you do whatever you do in there, it can help you manage small coop/run situations. No matter what he may think of who is king there, when the human enters, all his territorial thoughts should fade into giving the human space, no matter what. If one has to create fear in him to do so, I would do it, but I'd have my space or else.
    1 person likes this.

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