Farming forum: Chicken questions

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Jul 25, 2013 6:28 PM CST
I'm back into egg production after about a 20 year hiatus...trying to remember how it all works. In March I bought a dozen pullet chicks and ended up with two roosters. I plan to ditch one and keep the other. One is a Welsummer beauty, the other is a not as pretty Russian Orloff. The Welsummer is clearly the head of the flock and is also a bit aggressive toward me - not scarily so, but I'm about ready to re-name him Tom Petty ("I won't back down"). My set up is such that I don't have to go into the chicken yard unless I choose to, I can access everything from outside. I have just lately started going into the yard with treats and scratch to get the rooster familiar with me as the boss guy. I probably should have done so from the get-go, but they're just a bit over 4 months old it so I figure it's still early. Any other suggestions for a rooster who challenges authority?

Winter care: I plan to run a timer light in the winter months to keep egg production going, but am a bit confused about heat requirements. I live in the Pacific NW which is Zone 8. We get freezing weather but not extreme cold - rarely gets below 20. My previous chickens were kept in a corner coop in our large barn and I don't recall every worrying about heat. This coop is a free standing 4x8 uninsulated wood building so will be colder. I have a wall mounted thermometer inside the coop. At what temp do I need a heat lamp, and how does that affect the whole lighting cycle?

Thanks for tips and tricks.

P.S. A few of the hens have just recently started laying, a bit early, but I'm getting 1-3 eggs/day. I think it is the Orfingtons who are laying - I have a mish-mash flock picked out by my granddaughter.

Here's the two roosters - Roto-Rooster (aka Tom Petty) on the left and Woolley-Bully on the right.

Thumb of 2013-07-26/Bonehead/a02706 Thumb of 2013-07-26/Bonehead/264099
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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porkpal
Jul 25, 2013 7:34 PM CST
You shouldn't have to worry about heat for your chickens (unless you add chicks in the winter) hens do fine as long as they have shelter from the wind.

As for your aggressive rooster: there is a rooster taming technique that is very successful. Pick him up and hold him securely under one arm, with the other hand gently force his head down so that it is lower than his body. Hold it there for about 30 seconds then take your hand away. Every time he tries to raise his head, push it back down. The training session can end when he pretty much keeps his head down continuously. You may have to repeat the process a couple of times, but I have never had it fail.

Is Woolley-Bully an Ameraucana?
Porkpal
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Jul 25, 2013 7:46 PM CST
Thanks PorkPal. No, Woolley-Bully is a Russian Orloff. He seems to be more passive, but he's clearly the low rooster in the pecking order so that may have something to do with his temperament. I'm hoping one of my neighbors will take him - they both have hens but no rooster.

So, any suggestions how to CATCH Roto-Rooster to give him his lessons? None of my chickens are particularly humanized, they are mostly left to be chickens by themselves. Their yard is fairly large - 24x32 feet with a fair amount of stinging nettles in situ (slowly working on cutting those down for the birds to eat, hoping I can eradicate them from the run). I've always had best luck nabbing chickens in the evening when they are pretty calm, but that doesn't seem like the best time for a dominance lesson. Roto is always the last guy in the coop at night.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jul 25, 2013 8:25 PM CST
I have always caught them at night off the roost. They still seem teachable then.
Porkpal
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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Paul2032
Jul 25, 2013 9:02 PM CST
I've raised chickens in zone 5 for years, many varieties, with no additional heat. I used a 25 watt light 24 hours a day to get my show bantams laying early in the year.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Jul 25, 2013 9:16 PM CST
OK, night lessons it is then.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Jul 26, 2013 4:08 AM CST
I live in zone 5, we get many winter nights below 0 here, and I never use heat lamps. I have the heavy breeds. I don't force laying with lights either. I used to do that, but the hens would burn out in a couple of years. By letting them rest in the winter, they live often up to 9 years for me, and lay nice big eggs. (I can't seem to get one to live more then 9 years) There are some that will lay eggs all winter long even in the cold, but of course I have to collect them often so they don't freeze. If egg production for sale is your goal, then you would want to use lights, and replace the hens every year or two. I ususally let one hen raise some chicks each year for replacement hens, and a few roosters for soup in the winter. I didn't this year, as I am at full capacity now. They are fun to have around, they pick up lots of the feed that the horses would waste.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Jul 26, 2013 2:24 PM CST
Back to the training -- do you do this inside the coop or outside? This particular rooster is very territorial and protective of his hens, which is good, he's very diligent about alerting them to hawks and eagles, but it would seem he'd object to being separated from the hens. My coop is pretty small (4x8) and on stilts, but I can get inside pretty easily. It also has an outside hinged nesting box which many of the chickens use as a mass huddle-up at night, and usually this rooster is in the midst of the chicken-pile so I could easily pluck him out from the outside. Just wondering if there might be an advantage one way or the other. I'm also thinking I should ditch the under rooster soon as opposed to later, as their personal competition may be making him more aggressive in general.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jul 26, 2013 3:20 PM CST
I have an area of the barn which contains 4 coops. I worked with the roosters in that space but not actually in a coop. Sometimes I just carry the rooster around for a while as I do chores in head down position. If the roosters are sparring it would be good for one to leave.
Porkpal
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Jul 26, 2013 3:25 PM CST
They are not sparring...yet. What I'm not liking is they are ganging up on the hens - Roto-Rooster jumps one of the ladies, and then Woolley-Bully decides he'd like a turn as well. Can't be fun for the hens. So definitely getting rid of the second rooster, hopefully this weekend. I also really only need one wake-up crowing in the morning rather than the duet I'm currently getting.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Jul 29, 2013 1:34 PM CST
Deb, post pictures of your girls when you get a chance. I love chicken pictures! nodding
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Jul 29, 2013 1:45 PM CST
Rita, I will do so. My rather loose plan is to try to get a nice head-shot of each bird to use as labels for the eggs I plan to sell/give away. I have an idea of what I'd like and am hopeful one of my more techno-savvy kids can help me come up with a template.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
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Newyorkrita
Jul 29, 2013 1:58 PM CST
Sounds like a great idea!
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
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lovemyhouse
Jul 29, 2013 3:20 PM CST
I am a-skeered of getting close to chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, parrots, parakeets, cockatoos, cockatiels, canaries...well, you get the idea. But that photo of Roto-Rooster is outstanding. He sure is a handsome fella.
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
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Newyorkrita
Jul 29, 2013 3:44 PM CST
Debra Parakeets? Really they are small. can't do much! Hilarious!
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
Image
lovemyhouse
Jul 29, 2013 3:54 PM CST
They have beaks and can peck at you! Tried two and didn't make it six months! Blinking Rolling on the floor laughing
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
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Newyorkrita
Jul 29, 2013 4:16 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Debra, you must have had some really nasty parakeets. Mine never pecked at me. Neither did the Cockatiels. Hilarious!
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
Image
lovemyhouse
Jul 29, 2013 7:58 PM CST
I guess I am just really jumpy about sharp, pointed objects that can suddenly strike on their own. Thumbs down Whistling Hilarious!
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
Image
Newyorkrita
Jul 29, 2013 8:44 PM CST
Hilarious! Hilarious!
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Jul 29, 2013 10:22 PM CST
Found a new home for my extra rooster this evening (the neighbor took him), so that is step one to getting the more dominant rooster to behave better. I think I'll let him settle into to being the only cock-on-the-block and then see how he acts.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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