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Author Topic: Chicken question  (Read 1469 times)
GSF
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« on: August 24, 2013, 08:37:00 PM »

Does anyone have a suggestion on how to de spur a rooster? We have about 8 or 10 and they are getting the age they will be wanting to spur you.

Also on broodiness. I read somewhere that the broodiness has been pretty much bred out of the modern day chickens. We just started keeping chickens again this year. I read you can #1) leave a bunch of eggs in a nest or #2) do the latter plus buy some baby chicks to keep near them. Something about the sound of biddys will crank the broodiness back up.

I had a friend of mine tell me a story. His 80+ dad has kept chickens all his life. Years ago someone told his dad that a snake was eating their eggs but they couldn't never catch it. So they bought some golf balls and put them in a nest. The golf balls went missing and the eggs stopped getting ate. Old wives fable?

Any thoughts about any of this?
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2013, 09:00:56 PM »

When we despurred them, we would cut them off with a hacksaw and put sulfur on them. That was 50 to 60 years ago. There may be better ways now.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2013, 09:06:54 PM »

eat them.  there's no reason i can think of to keep that many roosters and they will antagonize each other.  you will end up with birds so mean no one will want to get the eggs!

we put fake eggs in the nests before the hens started laying.  according to the chicken lady, they would 1. teach the hens before they started laying that eggs are not food, 2. teach the hens where they were supposed to lay, and 3. discourage egg eating critters from checking the hen house for eggs. 

for 1 and 2 it has worked. for 3 i built the fort knox of coops so i don't think anything has gotten in there. 

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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2013, 09:14:30 PM »

I do not de-spur them. If they try to attack me I go after them. After a couple of attacks they learn who is boss and stop. Had to tell my grand kids to do the same thing to keep them from getting hurt. It is just a matter of them thinking they are the alpha and you have to let them know that you are the alpha.
Jim
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2013, 09:25:03 PM »

Another problem with so many roosters is that they really harass the hens. With one rooster it is mostly mating. With a bunch of them it is more like rape. The hens have their preferred rooster and the other males force their way and it looks like pure rape and it happens every day with that many roosters.
Jim
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Modenacart
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2013, 09:27:41 PM »

How they go broody is a function of breed and individual chicken. We have some that don't stop and some that won't at all. We had one so hardheaded about it she got really weak and died.

If you are not trying to hatch eggs, break them right away.

The fake egg is a great trick to teach them where to lay.
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itsme
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2013, 10:57:59 PM »


 I read somewhere that the broodiness has been pretty much bred out of the modern day chickens.
It sounds like you are hoping to find good mother hens.

Most, but not all breeds have indeed been selected over time to exclude broody traits.  Bantams of any breed are generally good mothers and good setters.  Most cochins are also this way.

If you have hens that are broody and you don't want them to be broody the single best thing I know of is to move her to another chicken coop.  If she still wants to set, which is unlikely, move her again.  She will start to lay again and act more "normal".

Since we raise our own chicks from our own eggs we really appreciate a good broody hen as she takes the eggs all the way through incubation (better than a commercial incubator) and teaches them how to eat and keeps them warm without artificial heat, etc.

To us it's a grand thing to watch.  And we don't have to tend to the chicks nearly as much. 

I do understand that most people just want to buy chicks, have them lay eggs and not deal with the rest.

I do not know how to get a chicken to be broody if she is not inclined that way.  We have had some that were broody, would set on eggs and then be terrible mothers also. 

My best advise if you want a good mother/setter would be to buy hens from a breed that is known for being good moms/ setters.
Good luck!
Bill
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2013, 07:31:26 AM »

Use a grinder with a metal cutting wheel.The heat from the friction cauterizes the cut:

http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6097&hilit=trimming+spurs
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itsme
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2013, 08:41:46 AM »

Years ago someone told his dad that a snake was eating their eggs but they couldn't never catch it. So they bought some golf balls and put them in a nest. The golf balls went missing and the eggs stopped getting ate. Old wives fable?

I forgot to answer this one.  Yes, this does indeed work.  It kills the snake too, as it cannot pass the fake egg.  Other items work too.  We have used golf balls, wooden eggs, and even old door knobs.  I like it better when I can get the snake and retrieve the fake egg instead of it crawling off somewhere to die and our losing the "bait". 

I have heard that you can also make a snake trap, but have not tried it.  It is made just like a minnow trap and works the same way (with different bait, obviously).  We seem to have less of a problem with snakes than when we first moved here. 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2013, 03:23:05 PM »

>I do not de-spur them. If they try to attack me I go after them.

That's always been my solution as well.  I never de-spur them, I eat them...
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iddee
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2013, 03:33:02 PM »

We only de-spurred them to attach the gags for fighting. Never just for the barn yard.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2013, 07:49:10 PM »

Thanks all

My goal is to have chickens that will raise and take care of the young.

About 25 years ago my wife and I had a white leghorn that didn't give a dang how bad you beat him, he'd always come back for more. We only that three back then. That's when we last had chickens.

I think the minnow trap has merit. We used to  catch  minnows and use them for fish bait back in the 60s & 70s(I was a kid). We used to catch moccasins all the time in those traps. Sometimes we would leave a corner exposed to the air and bring them home alive.
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kathyp
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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2013, 10:14:51 PM »

back in the day, when we had chickens CW was that you made the rooster believe that you were the biggest and baddest in the barnyard. i don't remember that working to well.  i remember eating some roosters.

when we got chickens this time CW had changed.  my rooster was a bit older when i got him, so he already was developing some attitude.  rather than fight him, i got after him with the spray bottle of water with a little ammonia in it.  he respects that bottle now, but he also know when i forget it. 

when my son got chickens and we realized that one was a rooster, i went up and held him every day.  i tucked him under my arm and carried him around.  he's the nicest rooster i have ever been around.  he sure watches all of us but he has never challenged any of us. 

not fighting them makes some sense.  roosters will fight to the death, so you booting them across the yard is not going to teach them much.  they'll just come back at you. 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2013, 10:45:05 PM »

That may be the case with some breeds but the ones that we have had only challenged me a couple of times. I would kick at them when they attacked usually missing them because they ducked. I would then chase them all over the place. I usually only have to do this 2 or 3 times per rooster. And then they will not attack me. I cannot get my wife to do this and often times she has problems over and over again. Not all of our roosters go after people. The 2 we have now do not attack at all. One is a RO Red and the other is an Americana.

Jim
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GSF
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2013, 08:38:40 AM »

Some goats are aggressive toward their owners. I've been told the way to cure that is grab and pin them to the ground. Keep them there for a little while and let them up.

With my goats you are most likely to be injured when they are running to food or away from another goat. For what ever reason a lot of them like to get between your legs, when the butting starts you're going down!
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2013, 10:26:02 AM »

well... Kathy and sawdstmakr already said what I intended to....

   Grandpa used to use sidecutters and a file and sprayed yellow anticeptic on them. IIRC he left them about half an inch long.. but that was 30 years ago so memory may not be perfect..
   We had a rooster about ten years ago that was excessively aggressive.. I tried the boot method and he only left me alone until he was all healed up from getting booted the last time. My wife took to carrying a board into the pen to whack him with when he came at her.  Then came the day she missed him and ended up being spurred pretty badly across her thigh.. that was the end of that rooster.. my wife is an animal lover to extreme and I struggle to keep the stray critters to a minimum.. but she was so hot when she got spurred....  that idiot bird had no idea that a world of hurt was about to descend upon him..
  I have to agree that having more than one rooster is counterproductive unless you have a LOT of hens to fertilize. It is cheaper to buy chicks at the local farm store than it is to maintain a rooster. They do offer some protection from cats and smaller dogs if your chickens are let out during the day, but vigilance and a good .22 serve a similar purpose. They will also keep one of your hens laying.. without a rooster one of the hens will take over his duties.
   I have to wonder how much fighting you have with that many roosters?  having at one time had three, I know they fought terribly until one of them was badly wounded and had to be destroyed. After that we have made sure to keep only one.

   We ended up finding a Brahma/Cochin cross that was young and very pretty. We have had him about two years now. He watches us, but has never once tried to attack. The four we hatched this spring from him are from Buffs, reds and barred rocks, and all were laying eggs by 4 months.. granted, they were tiny eggs to start, but are rapidly growing in size now. Quite happy with him and the hens he produced.
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