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PLEASE Tell Me What Would YOU Do With Deacon? Need Advice (Poll)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by speckledhen, Jan 12, 2014.

What Would YOU Do With Deacon?

Poll closed Jan 15, 2014.
  1. 1) Clip Both Wings

    12 vote(s)
  2. 2) Let Him Be As He Is and What Happens, Happens

    7 vote(s)
  3. 3) Give Him To Someone Else Who Has a Covered Pen and Can Contain Him

    4 vote(s)
  1. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    We have a problem we have never encountered before in our flock, a large fowl rooster who can fly and regularly flies out of his pen, many times each day. I must catch him and put him back and he's right back out again within minutes. Deacon is 1/2 Delaware, but takes after his mother, who coincidentally, is the only LF hen I have who also can fly when she must to escape capture by one of the young cockerels, her son included. His mother is Tiny, my Ameraucana/EE/Sumatra lineage hen.

    Deacon is very sweet and friendly and we like him very much. The problem is that, with him escaping the pen whenever he likes or his brothers or father hassle him, he is much more vulnerable to a predator. We do free range the flocks, but not when we are gone and not all day, every day, so they are penned about half the time or more. We have all manner of predator here, including a very recent gray fox who has been seen multiple times and who knows my chickens are here, though we've had no losses yet.

    Deacon is a lean bodied rooster who has only one spur. The other leg has a raised area but no spur nub at all so he will be a " One Spur Wonder" all his life, however long that may be at this rate. Because of him having only one spur, I am worried that him losing his gift of flight may be hindering his ability to survive if attacked by something, though, trust me, I realize that most roosters don't survive anyway in a confrontation with a predator. However, in his case, I rather liken it to declawing an outside cat so it cannot defend itself.

    The pen is too large to cover (2500 sf with huge trees inside it) and no other groups are suitable for him. The only covered pen I have belongs to the D'Anver bantams-no way he can go in there with those teeny hens and three feisty roosters.

    The question is: Would you clip his wings and nip his gift of flight in the bud, though that my be his only defense against capture by a predator? Or, would you just let him keep on doing as he's doing and hope he evades death by predator if he's out when we are not aware or not at home? It may be good to know that we do not need Deacon for breeding, as he was an accident, so to speak, definitely an extra male; we are becoming attached to him so we hate for him to get himself killed by being an escape artist. We hate the look of clipped wings and of course, when he molts, they'll grow back, but maybe by then, he'd be broken of his habit. I'm very torn about this, but I may just be overthinking it.

    We've never had to deal with this issue. Please tell me what you would do. Thank you.

    This is Deacon, the problem child.

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014

  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Since you love him so and would hate to lose him, I'd try clipping his wings and hoping that keeps him in his run.
  3. Shan30

    Shan30 Songster

    Sep 17, 2012
    Vancouver island
    Nice looking boy :) for me personally, if I had decided that I wanted to keep him, I would not clip his wings as we have had nearly all of our attacks occur in the run. Many of ours escape every day and return before dark. (And travel quite far according to our game can set up for deer haha!) and all but one attack have occurred in the run. So I guess it depends on where you feel he is safer. Is he smart enough to fly back in if threatened? Also might want to consider things like your gardens come summer of course. Are you ok with him digging around the yard?
  4. Hangtown Farms

    Hangtown Farms Crowing

    May 19, 2012
    I would clip one wing as sometimes they can still fly some with both.
    clipping one throws the balance way off.
  5. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    If you clip his wings he'll be even more at risk of predator attack. As athletic as he appears you'd have to clip his wings to knubs to keep him in a pen. One option is to make his own predator proof area with his own little harem. However, if allowing him to keep his free lifestyle is important to you, then I leaved him unclipped and hope for the best. Another concern is the possibility if other birds learning the gift of flight from his example. They will try to follow.

    Good luck with your decision. You have all kinds of varmints in your neck of the woods.
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Interesting point about the gardens. I don't have a yard, per se, because we live on a wooded mountain property, and the garden will have a fence around it, but it's out a ways from where he hangs out, not normally where he likes to venture out. I'm not worried about landscaping or a garden with him, just his own safety, roaming at will. I've never had a predator loss, but I'd guess if I did, it would occur outside of the pens, which have higher fencing then the perimeter fence that goes around 2 of our 5.37 acres (that is just livestock fencing, 4-5 ft high).

    I'm not sure he'd ever fly back in. He never has, at least not yet, but then, his brothers and daddy are in there and chase him quite a bit, especially his older brother, Rex, who is next in line to the throne after dad, Isaac. Good points, though. Thanks for participating in the discussion.

    Hangtown, thanks for reminding me about the one wing thing. I'd forgotten about that point since I've only had to clip wings on one or two youngsters many years ago until they got too large to fly out of their pens. Deacon is already grown (31 weeks) so he's grown and still sails out with no problem. He ends up on top of the coop quite a bit, then flies down on the other side, that or he just lands on top of the gate and hops down.
  7. lawatt

    lawatt Songster

    Jul 7, 2012
    sonoma county
    have you thought about creating a pen-within-a-pen for him, that would be covered? so that he can be let out to wander when you're around to keep an eye out for predators, but will be safe inside his pen AND still can fly around if he likes/needs to?
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014

  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    That is another concern, yes! His two younger brothers are 20 weeks old now, one is 1/2 EE and lean as well, and you know how they tend to fly. So far, they haven't followed his example, but if they start, I'll have quite a problem on my hands, way more than just one wandering male.

    I just can't give him his own place, nowhere to put him. It's not feasible to build something just for him. I have two sets of very old hens in two sides of an L shaped building, my late Suede's four hens with a bantam Cochin rooster who will be leaving in the spring for Ky with some of the D'Anver pullets and a group of 9 other old hens, but the two groups of old ladies don't get along or I'd put them together. They are 5-7 years old, so if a couple of the more dominant ones pass on soon, I could very well consolidate the two groups and give him the empty space. It just depends on someone kicking the bucket, unfortunately.
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    One pen has a second section, an extension, if you will, that can be closed off, but there is no shelter, no cover from hawks. I guess if I had to, I could make the old ladies use only their first section and put Deacon in the second one during the day. It's just a basic small square with chain link fencing about 6' high. Maybe I could cover it somehow and put something in there like a doghouse for cover from hawks. That is where we keep extra firewood on skids on two sides of it. That stack of wood has been decimated for this winter so he has no high stacks to give him a boost out of it. The problem I see with that is that he will be completely separated from the pecking order of the main flock if he spends all day, every day, in another space, but good grief, he does anyway when he's roaming.
  10. lawatt

    lawatt Songster

    Jul 7, 2012
    sonoma county
    I didn't mean building something fancy, i just meant screening off a smaller area with chicken wire or something else cheap, within the existing pen -- as if you were introducing new chickens to the pen and wanted to keep them separate but visible for a week or two.

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