What to do with my flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mccluckers, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. Mccluckers

    Mccluckers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So guys you may have seen my various threads about various bantam breeds and all that jazz... But it has become very complicated so I thought I would just make a new thread and have everything in it.

    I have a mixed flock of 5 standard hens, 3 bantam hens and 1 standard rooster.
    The rooster has always been very gentle with the hens but recently has started to force mate the bantams and if any of the they don't want to mate he then chases them around u till he catches them... So I decided to rehome him (haven't done that yet) and get a bantam rooster and several bantam more hens. But my pen is uncovered and we have buzzards here (in the UK a buzzard is like a broad winged hawk) and I am worried they may start taking them. They haven't in the past but I think that is because they are not very many bantams in with a group of standards. So that would leave the option of revoking the three bantam hens and just having standards , but I really like the bantams and would really like to get some OEGB. Unfortunately covering the pen is not an option for me so I am in an impossible situation, something has to give but what!!
    Please help me, any suggestions welcome.
    Thanks
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    How old are they? It sounds like they are just hitting puberty. I wrote this for another thread but it might help you to read it. What you are describing sounds like typical adolescent behavior.


    Typical mating behavior between mature consenting adults.

    The rooster dances for a specific hen. He lowers one wing and sort of circles her. This signals his intent.

    The hen squats. This gets her body onto the ground so the rooster’s weight goes into the ground through her entire body and not just her legs. That way she can support a much heavier rooster without hurting her legs.

    The rooster hops on and grabs the back of her head. The head grab helps him get in the right position to hit the target and helps him to keep his balance, but its major purpose is to tell the hen to raise her tail out of the way to expose the target. A mating will not be successful if she does not raise her tail and expose the target. The head grab is necessary.

    The rooster touches vents and hops off. This may be over in the blink of an eye or it may take a few seconds. But when this is over the rooster’s part is done.

    The hen then stands up, fluffs up, and shakes. This fluffy shake gets the sperm into a special container inside the hen near where the egg starts its internal journey through her internal egg making factory.

    With five month olds you are not dealing with consenting adults. You are dealing with adolescents that have no control over their hormones. The cockerels normally mature earlier than the pullets and are being driven mad by their hormones. The pullets have no idea what is going on so they certainly are not going to cooperate.

    At that age most of this is not about sex either. The mating ritual is about dominance. The one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. It’s not about pecking order either, but total flock dominance. The cockerel’s hormones are screaming at it to dominate the pullets but the pullets are not ready for that. It takes both to do their part, pullets as well as cockerel.

    To do his job as flock master, the cockerel has to be the dominant chicken. How can he keep peace in his flock if he can’t break up a fight without the others beating the crap out of him? What good does it do to warn of danger if no one listens? How can he fertilize the eggs if they don’t cooperate? A cockerel is usually bigger and stronger than the pullets. If they don’t cooperate willingly he is going to force them. That’s part of his job, to be the dominant chicken.


    A buzzard can be a hawk or it can be a vulture. I’m glad you explained how you meant it. I’ve run into some people that get pretty passionate about their personal definition of buzzard.

    It’s hard to give any real assurances one way or the other about a hawk taking a chicken. I have several large hawks around here and even saw a bald eagle recently. My chickens roam inside electric netting in an area that is about 40’ x 90’ with nothing over them. I did lose one to an owl a few years back when I was away at dusk and could not lock them up but that is the only chicken I’ve ever lost to a flying predator. Other people have had horrible experiences with hawks. My chickens are standard size but some of the hawks around here are big enough to take one, plus I usually have juveniles roaming around.

    Your chickens are going to be at risk. Smaller chickens are going to be at a higher risk. You can help reduce that risk by having some places for them to hide under but whether you have a hawk problem is more luck than anything else. There is no easy answer on that.
     
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  3. Mccluckers

    Mccluckers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for the reply,The rooster is 3 years old. The hens are mixed ages varying from 2 years to 8 months. I am most worried about the bantam hens. I don't know wether to try my luck with a bantam rooster or rehome my bantam hens and stick with standard which I don't really want to do as I like the spunk of the bantams. As I said I have never had anything taken by a "buzzard" in 2.5 years but my neighbours think that there hen was taken by a buzzard.
    Hhhhhhhhheeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllllllllppppppppppp!!!! Lol
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I sure guessed wrong on that one, didn’t I? At that age, if he is mistreating his hens, he needs to go.
     
  5. Mccluckers

    Mccluckers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you think he needs to be butchered? I can't bear to do it but I don't want anyone else to have the same issues as me. In other ways he is very good calls them for food warns them of predators...ECT. Still don't know what to do about a new rooster. I am thinking re homing bantams?? But I don't know, I think I would probably go for brahmas if I rehomed bantams but I really would like to keep them and have some OEGB but don't want to lose them all.
    Does anyone else have any suggestions? Which does everyone prefer bantams or brahmas?
     
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Put him on Craigslist, don't ask questions about what they are going to do with him.

    Really, I think you want the bantams, and if so go with them, this is a hobby, you should enjoy it. Don' feel guilty about a mean bird.

    Mrs K
     
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  7. Mccluckers

    Mccluckers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Mrs K, I have settled on brahmas! I am really excited and i think they are beautiful birds. I will keep my bantam hens and if the brahma roo is mean I may build another coop for the bantams :D:celebrate
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I've had Brahmas. I love them. I had a Brahma rooster and a bantam hen at one time. They were bonded. She roosted next to him at night, and was by his side all day. It was so cute. If he bred her, and he probably did, I never saw missing feathers or anything. He was my favorite rooster. I have his grandson as my flock roo now. The Brahma hens I've had seemed to be very calm birds. I don't make pets of my chickens, but I also don't want them to flip out every time I go near them, either. Have you looked for Brahma bantams? That seems like it would suit all your desires for your flock. I don't know if they come in bantam size, but everything else seems to. Why not Brahmas? [​IMG]
     
  9. Mccluckers

    Mccluckers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes they do come in bantams but one of the things I love about them is how big they are! I either like HUGE birds or tiny ones!! Your old roo sounds lovely!
     
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    [​IMG]
    This was my boy. He was not a pet - when I'd go out to do chores, he'd just move his hens away and kept his distance. Just what I like in a rooster!
     

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