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Silkie rooster won't get out of the rain...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JanetLM, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. JanetLM

    JanetLM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My silke rooster (5-6 months old) will not take shelter when it rains and now its getting cold. I have read wet & cold are not good for him. He is the only silkie I have. I have a 3-4 month old black copper maran mix hen that follows him everywhere even into the rain. My hens (they are older 6-7months) will stay somewhat inside during the rains when its cold.

    I thought at first it was because the hens were being mean to him and running him out of the coop but that is not the case however he does act scared of them and will cluck and run anytime they get anywhere close to him. I have even set up a little sheltered area away from the coop but they(him and the black copper maran) won't stay in it.

    Last night when I was closing up the coop I brought him in so I could towel dry him- he was soaking wet. Any advise would be appreciated. I would hate to lose him and the hen to the cold weather.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds like he thinks he's got a good coat of rainproof feathers, not silkie plumage, lol!

    Chooks with very healthy plumage of normal types will do fine in rain, but obviously if they're getting soaked, they won't. He's lacking instinct or sufficient smarts at the moment, but hey, life is a lot about learning even for animals.

    He's too young to be called a rooster, I expect you know that, but that's why he's clucking and running from the big girls, right now he's got no respect from them. In time, if he survives to become a rooster, they'll show him more tolerance, but right now he's just somebody's kid running around their yard.

    Towel drying him won't do it, he'll remain damp enough to get respiratory illness or infection... If you can make or get him one, a waterproof coat should help, otherwise you'll have to restrain him to a covered area. You may end up having to keep him in a heated, sheltered environment overnight.

    I'd add freshly minced raw garlic to his food, one or two cloves a day probably.

    I've never had respiratory disease in my chooks despite bringing in new chooks with that variety of disease. They always got better and none of the others got sick. (Well, one of my hens came back (from about a year of living at someone else's place) with some kind of respiratory disease, but the point is I've kept hundreds of chooks that always ran about in the rain on a diet including garlic, and never had respiratory disease in chooks kept on that diet). If you like I can link you to some sites detailing the scientific reasons why garlic works against respiratory infections especially.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. JanetLM

    JanetLM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the response and yes please I would like some links about the garlic. All my chickens eat from the same feeder would the garlic hurt the hens(I only have 3 actually laying) but hopefully the 2 older ones should be in the next 2-3 weeks.

    And yes I was pretty sure he wasn't really a rooster yet but what is a "chook"...at what age does he become a rooster.

    I have a heat lamp in the bottom of the coop but it was put in mainly to keep the water from freezing. When I built my coop(its the dog house on top with the run on bottom style) I had no intentions of having any roosters let alone a silkie-he was a birthday present from my father in law- so I had to do some research on them to even know they didnt roost[​IMG]. The bottom of the run is now pretty much enclosed although there is still a door opening that stays open.

    I hope he does make it thru the winter he is actually a very entertaining little bird.
     
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    My Silkies spend a lot of time scratching around in the wet and cold, and they tolerate it very well. The damp and cold aren't really the issue, drafty is though. If he's got a wind free, dry place to go to, I'd leave him to it. The day before yesterday, it rained all day and was in the low 40s. My Silkies stayed out in that pretty much all day long. They went to bed pretty damp that night (in their draft free coop). They were completely dry when I let them out in the morning and piled out the door as usual.
    Its my opinion that Silkies aren't the delicate little things most folks make them out to be. Mine tolerate the cold very well, I would even consider them decent layers in the winter. The summer is a whole 'nother thing though!
     
  5. JanetLM

    JanetLM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thank you very much. He actually seems like a pretty study little fellow but seems to prefer to be out of the coop/run more than in. I made him a box with a nice thick layer of straw to sleep in but he prefers the corner behind the box so I have put plenty of straw there too. There is ventilation in the bottom where he sleeps but its not drafty, however I will double check again this evening.
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  7. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    I used to think the same, but I have met these delicate Silkies people refer to, and they do exist. In Australia, judging by personal experience as compared to the American experiences shared on these forums, Silkies are generally more instinctive and robust by a large margin. Then again they're usually left to be normal chooks, not kept in special cages and coddled as is common with some American Silkie breeders. They'll adapt to their environment, whether it means becoming tougher due to more adversity or weaker due to overprotection.

    Generally healthy birds of all breeds are very robust, and as you say, without a draught they can tolerate being damp, the feathering provides insulation that even when wet keeps the heat in; but many people have been coddling animals of some strains of some breeds for so many generations that they are indeed very delicate. If I bought eggs or adults off someone, and they showed extreme delicacy, I simply wouldn't breed them, but for many people this fragility is what they think is normal for the breed, and it can be impossible to pick from a photo which animal has a strong immune system or weak. Generally I find it best to assume you're dealing with a weak animal until proven otherwise.

    Best wishes.
     
  8. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    That is great advice, some folks do have weaker strains. However, at my house, if they can't survive then they are culled (and not into someone else flock where their weak genetics can be bred on).
     
  9. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm the same, so many chickens only suffer because people breed rather than cull defective animals... If you started off giving them all a chance, as many do, after a while you can't take the softer stance anymore, you just don't have the stomach for it, as strange as that may sound. You just know that for every defective animal you take pity on, more will be 'born to suffer'.

    That said, I do occasionally pass on animals with mild defects to people I am completely sure will not breed them and are knowledgeable enough, and 'tough' enough, to understand the risk and deal with it accordingly. For example a hen who carried Leukosis, never afflicted by it herself but it did emerge in some offspring when I bred her with a certain rooster; I killed him and sent her off to raise turkey poults for a farmer who had no other chooks and didn't want any, who was well aware of the risk of breeding animals either weak or carrying defects.

    And, myself, I've kept a few otherwise unfit animals, but they won't leave my keeping and aren't bred. That's another form of genetic control. If they're pets, gets a bit hard on the family to eradicate them out of hand. I also value the learning experience of working with animals needing TLC or rehabilitation. I'm quite interested in a few aspects of that and there's only one way to learn, which unfortunately is the hard way. But I'm pretty aware of the risks of keeping defective animals. Unfortunately a lot of people just don't care, or don't realize what the risks are, so you can only rarely rehome them with any confidence. Many people insist they only want layers, but the 'chicken bug' bites and then they think 'what could it hurt to breed them juuuuuust once....' Stuff like that. Understandable especially with newbies, but at the end of the day the person who knows better has more responsibility to prevent this from happening, and that's me, or whoever owned the defective animal originally and knew enough to cull it for its defects.

    Best wishes.
     

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