The Natural Chicken Keeping thread - OTs welcome!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Bulldogma, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    Oh how pretty! For someone who keeps chickens (who has even lost chickens to hawks), I am disproportionatly obsessed with raptors. They're so pretty and majestic and dignified looking, not to mention the fact that they serve an important purpose by keeping the rodent population down. Not that I don't run around the yard with a broomstick like a crazy person any time I see a hawk when my chickens are out.... because I totally did that today.

    I don't know the answer for sure. Owls typically prey on smaller animals, so I definitely wouldn't let any young chicks out. And it depends on the size of the owl- I don't have a good frame of reference, but these guys don't look very big. Keep in mind not all owls hunt at night, some hunt sporadically during the day (and I can't remember what types of owls do, I want to say barn owls). Obviously these owls are awake during the day, have you ever seen them fly when it was light? If not, and you just occasionally see them come out during the day, I would just be super cautious at dawn and dust- don't let your girls out until the sun is well and up, and try to get them shut up before dusk (I know I know, easier said than done- I'm lucky, the tree line to the West tricks my girls into going to bed before dusk, though). Hope all goes well and these birds can coexist with yours!
  2. camilleathome

    camilleathome Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2012
    New Brunswick Canada

    And yes we do keep a warm house usually and I keep them in the living room
  3. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    I was going to do something like this ages ago, but never got around to it. I really need to rethink it, I HATE hauling water. I was going to do nipple waterers, but I really like the cup water idea. Something that I got hung up on was winter- it would be a lot of work for something I could only use 6 months out of the year. In a perfect world, though, I would like to have cup waterers strategically placed around my yard so that both my dogs (I think I could train my dogs to drink from them, couldn't I?) and my free ranging chickens would have easily accessible water all the time. As it is, I place cheapie 1 gallon waterers around the yard in the summer.
  4. kian

    kian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancaster, CA
    Hey Stony!! Good to see you back on here!!

    I just finished reading your broody article :) Good stuff!
  5. delisha

    delisha Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 13, 2012
    Racine, WI -
    My Coop
  6. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    I agree, I won't keep a rooster who doesn't wing dance and who manhandles his ladies instead of inviting them. The rooster I had last year, mutt that he was (he was supposed to be a Wyandotte, but his coloring was way off) was perfect in that respect, great wing dance, very respectful for lack of a lesson personifying word. The BO rooster I had didn't, and as beautiful and HUGE as he was, I never intended to keep him (he also went through a phase were he mercilessly attacked me, but weirdly grew out of it). The Buckeye rooster I have now does both, although his wing dance isn't nearly as pronounced or elaborate. But I can't tell you when he started doing it- I would say if they're not doing it by 1 year old, they probably aren't going to, but that's my partially educated guess. I can't remember if he did it last fall (when he was only 5-7 months old), in the winter they don't breed nearly as much, so I don't tend to witness it much. But he's definitely doing it this spring.

    Besides it just being gentler on the hen, I think (again, opinion) that wing dancing and "inviting" hens instead of the whole pursue and accost method is more chicken-like behavior. I want to raise chickens who maintain as many of their natural chicken behaviors as possible- just like I want a good rooster who warns his hens when a hawk flies over and hens that respond appropriately, or hens who want to sit on eggs and raise chicks, or chickens who are adept at grazing and looking for bugs and worms and don't rely so heavily on feed.

    I felt the same way about both BO and BR. Not impressed with at least the ones I got- the BO were from a breeder (as was the Lemon Cukoo Orp who just died) and the BR were hatchery. Not my favorite chickens out of all I've kept. So I ate them. Except the Lemon- she was on her way to being on the list to go to the processor then went broody, so I kept her.

    On that note, I was just lamenting about not having any broodies yet this spring- now (here's hoping I don't jinx it) my broody who hatched for me last spring is sitting on a nest. It's hard to tell because she doesn't growl at me (she didn't ever last year, either) but she's all flattened down on a nest and she's been there all day. If she's still there tomorrow I'll take her out and see what she does. Here's hoping she's not egg bound or something else instead... that would suck, she's an overall amazing hen.
  7. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    It probably looked partridge as a chick. Looks a bit like Mumsy's light grey silkies. :)
  8. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    What didn't you like about the barred rock? I haven't had one ever that wasn't the picture of chicken health, and the queens of the layers. They held their own against hybrids.. their eggs were a tad smaller, but they laid just as frequently. :)
  9. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    It looks just like this one:

  10. NanaLynn

    NanaLynn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2012
    I really enjoy watching the owls, hawks and falcons. Such pretty birds. Too bad they are killers too. One thing about the owls, they seem to help the crows keep the hawks away. Gotta love those crows! So far we have not had any hawks too close. My chicks have always been scared of any shadow and they have many hiding placing when they are outside the coop. I'll even be outside with them and they run and hide and I can't figure out why until I look up and see a falcon or hawk far away. Those instincts they were given are awesome!

    We can usually see the owls late in the afternoon and sometimes well before the sun goes down. I think they are on the move more now because the city is doing a lot of road and creek widening near us and they are chopping down a lot of old very tall trees in the process. We have a coyote as well that runs around at night, we think it is a female that maybe was disturb from the construction. Our dog is great at sounding the alarm though. I don't plan on letting them out too early or leaving them out too late. Hopefully I won't forget one day, or leave them out when I leave home. I always put them back in the run and coop when I go anywhere. A little bit of scratch or meal worms brings them right in. If my memory works and I remember to put them up, they should be safe. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013

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