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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Farmer Connie, Jun 15, 2017.
Anyone out there trim or clip their Adult Hen's Beaks?
There would not be a need to ever trim the beak of a bird from a back yard flock unless she has a cross beak, or some other beak abnormality. Is she aggressive? Having problems eating?
I've never felt a need to. ...my birds have always maintained their beaks well themselves.
In terms of aggressiveness. If you had a couple of egg layers that always delivered consistently but were bullies and to hard to break their habits. Bad habits. Instead of building a separate housing for the rough necks.
I have heard the can reshape them in no time when in the proper environment. I have seen them on abrasive material going back and forth like a pocket knife on a sharpening stone.
Good layers with crappy social skills.
Someone said use a tool such as a dog nail clipper then an Emory board.
Have not attempted it just searching for a solution other that the expense of building a costly home for birds who bring in $ with their egg production.
I use a nail file to trim the beak of my EE who has a slight crossbeak, to make it easier for her to eat. I would not trim due to behavioral issues arising from housing, diet, etc., as I feel like I should try to address those first. Have you looked into devices like pinless peepers?
Pinless peepers??? Tell me more please..
I was not going to clip them. Just entertaining the thought. I took the suggestion from a neighboring farmer with a grain of salt. Our birds are pampered.
Some are over pampered. 2 or 3 bad apples are about to go bye bye to return the tranquillity. As a last resort. Maybe adding a rooster to keep them inline but don't wish to sell fertile eggs as food even though they are refrigerated quickly, they could have a red dot in the the yoke. We advertise them as unfertile and we don't b.s. our faithful clients.
Adding a rooster is not likely to cure aggressive hens.
Need to find the cause, first to look at is the details of housing space vs population and diet.
Red dot on the yolk is not a sign of fertility. Red spot in egg(blood spot) can be in infertile eggs as well, caused by a broken blood vessel as ova is released.
Pinless peepers are these little devices that clip on a beak to block off part a chicken's field of view, with the idea being that they won't/will find it hard to peck at what they can't see, I think? I haven't tried them but I've seen people post about them on here. It's not a permanent or magical solution, and I would definitely try to address any space or diet issues first, but it could help if you have a bird that just doesn't want to stop.
Are your aggressive hens human or bird aggressive? You might try training them if it's human aggression, by using the same technique I would use on a rooster. check out this excellent post by Bee Kissed:
I'm going to give you a clue on "rooster speak"....holding him down doesn't mean anything to him. If you'll watch how roosters interact between dominant ones and subordinate ones, there is rarely any, if ever, holding a bird down for a long time when there is an altercation. There is very quick flogging, gripping by the back of the head and flinging him away or getting him down and giving some savage pecking to the back of the head or neck. No holding him down and nothing else. That's a rooster on a hen maneuver, not rooster on rooster.
Because your rooster is attacking you, you are the subordinate in this picture. You are getting dominated by your bird simply because you are walking where a subordinate isn't supposed to be walking when a dominant is in the area. What you never see is a dominant rooster getting attacked by a subordinate rooster unless there is going to be a definite shift in power, at which time the sub will challenge the dom and win...or lose. So far you are losing and not even challenging.
If you want to win this battle, you must go on the offensive, not the defensive. He who attacks first, and is still claiming the area when the other guy leaves it, is the winner. Some people never have to go on the offensive because their movements in the coop are so decisive that they move and act like a dominant and a 2 ft. rooster is smart enough to recognize a dominant attitude and behavior...which is likely why he's never attacked your husband. Most men move more decisively than do women and children and they rarely step around a bird, but walk through them.
Carrying him around also doesn't mean anything to him...it just doesn't translate at all. His environment is that coop and run floor and that's where you need to speak to him, in a language he understands. Because they are quick on their feet and can evade you, you need a training tool like a long, limber, supple rod of some kind...cutting a nice switch from a shrub or tree that will lengthen your reach by 5 ft. really helps in this. Don't use a rake or broom because they are too clumsy and stiff and can put the hurts on the guy when you don't really mean to.
When you enter your coop, walk with decisive movements and walk directly towards your rooster. Move him away from the feeder and the rest of the flock and keep a slow, determined pressure on him until he leaves the coop. The stick will help you guide him. Then...wait patiently while he gets his bird mind around what just happened. He will try to come back in the coop...let him. When he gets a good bit into that coop, take your switch and give him a good smack on the fluffy feathers under his tail if you can aim it well. If you cannot, just smack the floor near him very hard and fast until he hops and runs and keep at it until he leaves the coop once again. Repeat this process until he is too wary to come back in the coop.
Feed your hens. When he tries to come to the feeder, you "attack" him with the switch...smack the wall by the pop door just as he tries to enter. If he makes it inside, pursue him with the stick either smacking the floor or tapping him on the back or the head until he leaves in a hurry. Make him stay outside while you sit there and enjoy watching your hens eat. Use the stick to keep him from the flock..just him. Don't worry about the hens running and getting excited when this is happening...they will get over it. This is for the future of your flock and your management of it.
When the hens have had a good tucker....leave the coop and let him come back in. Go out later and walk through that flock and use your legs to scatter birds if they get in your way...top roosters do not step to one side for any other bird in the flock. You shouldn't either. Take your stick and startle him with a smack on the floor next to him when he is least expecting it...make that bird jump and RUN. Make him so nervous around you that he is always looking over his shoulder and trying to get out of your way. THAT'S how he needs to be from now on in your lives together. Forget about pets or cuddles...this is a language and behavior he understands. You can hand feed him and such later...right now you need to establish that when you move, he moves...away. When you turn your back, he doesn't move towards you...ever.
Then test him...take your stick along, move around in the coop, bend over with your back turned to him, feed, water, etc....but keep one eye on that rooster. If he even makes one tiny step in your direction or in your "zone", go on the attack and run him clear on out of the coop. Then keep him out while everyone else is eating.
THAT'S how a dominant rooster treats a subordinate. They don't let them crow, mate or even eat in their space. If the subordinate knows his place and watches over his shoulder a lot, he may get to come and eat while the other rooster is at the feeder...but he doesn't ever relax if he knows what is good for him. At any given time the dominant will run him off of that feed and he knows it, so he eats with one eye toward the door. If he feels the need to crow, it's not usually where the dom can reach him...maybe across the yard.
If your rooster crows while you are there, move towards him and keep on the pressure until he stops. He doesn't get to crow while you are there. He can crow later...not while you are there.
It all sounds time consuming but it really isn't...shouldn't take more than minutes for each lesson and you can learn a lot as you go along. And it can be fun if you venture into it with the right attitude....this is rooster training that really works if you do it correctly. This can work on strange roosters, multiple roosters and even old roosters...they can all learn. You rule the coop...now act like it. Carrying is for babies...you have a full grown rooster on your hands, not a baby.
We have Roosters getting beat up by these 4 hens. I can pick up and handle 2 of our roos they so tame. We hatched them so from birth to present day they understand the pecking order. My buddy is a giant barrock roo. If am not too busy, I let him out of population and he follows me into the garage , hops on the bench and gargles telling me to scratch him.
Coming up on twenty years since our first Chicken so when know the sweet spots. He will long gargle like a cat purring.
Our neighbors have a mean Roo but they never come out side. Never could understand why people buy animals and throw them in the backyard them spend their entire lives in the air conditioning. Then it dies, runs away or disrespects them and still don't get it.
We live outdoors so to speak so they are interacted by us a lot. We take time and care of our flock. Band all the birds by age, health and their production results. Some are like parrots and will fly up on our arms when an arm is extended outwards.
We never intended to clip or trim beaks. Just inquiring on a statement from a neighbouring farmer who commented on our situation during small talk recently.
Our solution is already in affect. They now are temporarily total free range until they straightened up their act. They nest in a tall tree near their old housing. They have fresh water and a dry self feeder.
I know it is a predator risk but they are seriously injuring the whole flock and we went from 50 eggs a day to 18 on a good day. We removed the stress and anxiety and almost over night the egg numbers increased.
2 Easter eggers,1 red sex link and 1 R/Island Red. All different ages.
Our big house is 15 X 30 and is double decked. Tons of room, isolated nesting boxes and ample multi leveled perches. 10 self feeders always full. 5 auto filled hydration stations always scrubbed once a week no exceptions.
Lots of time and expense put into this project. Their eggs production pays for food and health care for the chickens and our twenty goats or so.
Sometimes creatures of habit don't choose good habits.
There is a longer history related to semi current events associated with this out come. I have them listed kind of so in other threads I have started recently.