surprise rooster

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by newchickenroost, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. newchickenroost

    newchickenroost Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2014
    i have chickens that are about 4 months old, 1 turned out to be a rooster, can i have some insight on how to trim the spurs when needed?
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    It's not necessary, really. I leave all my roosters' spurs intact. If his mentality is good, his spurs will never be an issue. If his mentality is bad, even removing his spurs entirely won't solve the issue nor stop him acting out his violent mentality.

    Some exceptions would include if he shows signs of initially being very clumsy with the hens, in which case you can file or cut off the first few millimeters of spur (unlikely that they'll be that sharp when he's that young, and unlikely that you'd need to remove more since it's just the very point that does the main damage in scratches caused by being clumsy). You can use toenail clippers, wirecutters, secateurs, scissors, whatever, or if you're not confident that you won't hurt him using such tools, a file or dog-claw clippers.

    Anything more than a few millimeters off the tip can cause bleeding though. It likely won't hurt, or more to the point he won't show you it hurts, but flowing blood can also enable pathogens access to the bloodstream so worth dusting it with something to stop the flow if it doesn't rapidly stop by itself.

    Some roosters have badly angled spurs that point inwards so normal dismounting after mating causes flank tears. I cull that bad spur trait out though, not breed it, as trimming them requires re-doing every few weeks and why keep breeding more work for yourself since his offspring will likely inherit it... However an otherwise decent male you've gotten attached to may be worth an exception there. Just bear in mind that if he's that sort, then as he grows, his spurs can injure both other chooks and his own legs accidentally, and you may breed otherwise beautiful chooks that have to be culled or require constant extra care to fix this issue generation after generation. He could accidentally disembowel your hens too and kill them with such spurs. He can also accidentally pierce his own guts if they're angled badly enough. I've seen some roosters with scars all up the inside of their legs due to their spurs, having to high step over them just to walk, tripping and harming themselves regularly never mind the hens, and also other males who are exhausted and can never sit down, not even during the night on the perch, because their spurs will wound their bodies. Good spur angle is important.

    If he's aggressive to you or the hens, then I'd cull, not try to blunten his weapons, because even with wobbly, blunt, soft spurs they can do significant deep tissue trauma and bone bruising on adults, never mind kids or small animals like hens.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. newchickenroost

    newchickenroost Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2014
    thanks for the info, he has challenged my brother and my mom before and tried to claim he was dominant. he jumped up at me and I pinned him and i have not had any problems since. Now he just walks away whenever i go near him so that is a good thing.
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Hmm, that's a very young age to be showing human aggression, not normal.

    It's not like a mentally normal chook would be assuming humans are cockerels around his own age, or even thinking they're chickens at all. Or that he's human. If they think they're part of the human hierarchy then they will always be looking for the alpha to show a moment's weakness so they can attack and take over. I prefer unqualified respect from my animals, not fear, since fear doesn't involve trust and trust is necessary for calm handling and social interactions.

    It's also not normal for a mentally normal chicken be attacking something so much bigger than itself, especially something that feeds and waters them. He's not 'protecting the flock' either as he's still two months off of really hitting puberty and beginning to develop his mature mentality.

    Personally I cull for aggression to humans as it only gets more dangerous the bigger they get, and it very often breeds on, but most people aren't ready emotionally to just cull offhand for dangerous behavior, so if that's the case here then perhaps he should be despurred, not that it will stop him causing harm, just stop him from doing the most he can.

    In this case you'd probably want to look into the hot potato method or the pliers method for longer term despurring. I'd use the axe method, on his neck, but that's just me. Too many decent males out there going to waste for want of a good home because people persist with mentally aberrant males who then breed on their defective mindsets. He doesn't need to be aggressive to humans in order to prove he's going to protect the flock, those are two different behaviors.

    It may help to get a better rooster in, an older one probably, to put him in his place and give him a focus for his aggression. I'd still cull him and get a better rooster instead, but just trying to offer some suggestions.

    Anyway, best wishes, whatever your choice is.
     

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