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is my rooster 'doing his duty'?

 
S Carreg
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Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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We've got 5 2 yr old Warren hens and a massive Austrolorp rooster we think is about 1 year old. They've all been together for around 6 weeks or so. The flock is very calm and the rooster is incredibly chilled - he eats out a scoop from my hand. So chilled, he isn't chasing away the crows as we hoped he would. What I haven't noticed is him doing anything with the hens. He's very attentive to them in that he always checks the food and then points it out to them, checks to make sure they're all inside at bedtime, etc. But I've never noticed him mounting them. Is he just shy in front of humans do you think?

 
Amedean Messan
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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S Carreg wrote:He's very attentive to them in that he always checks the food and then points it out to them, checks to make sure they're all inside at bedtime, etc.


Nice roosters finish last, lol! Seriously though, from my experience roosters generally are effective as a breeder at about 1 and a half years to 4 years of age. I have never heard of a rooster who would not do "the duty" so I would just give some more time.
 
S Carreg
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Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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I just did some googling on eggs, and I think maybe he is doing it, since since we got him the eggs have the 'bullseye' white dot in them. Maybe he's just shy around us? Yeah, I don't know how old he is exactly, he could be younger than 1 year.
I'm hoping he's doing his thing but calmly since we just got 3 8 week old hens to add in to the flock and I don't want them to get really harassed.
 
Renate Howard
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Our young roosters are especially randy first thing in the morning. Listen for hen squawks after you let them out.
 
Jay Green
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I wouldn't be too hasty about chasing off crows...they are regularly fighting the redtail hawks around here in fantastic aerial battles....this helps my dog keep the chickens safe and they are quicker to see these preds than even the chickens or the dog.
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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Jay, I've seen you mention that before, it's interesting. I haven't noticed that, but it is certainly possible, we do have birds of prey. I don't work too hard to scare the crows, though I did hope the rooster would deter them, but he's not.
I mostly didn't want them hanging around as they are eating a lot of the chickens' food! and on the rare occassions that the ducks lay outside (we dont let them out til 830-9, but still sometimes there will be an egg outside) the eggs get pecked by birds that definitely arent ducks (and chickens dont have access there) so the crows that sit and watch them all day are the top suspects.
 
Jay Green
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I don't leave food outside the coop...I don't advise it for anyone. Wild birds are parasite and disease vectors and can easily access food left outside. That would be the first step I'd take to get those pesky crows off the feed.

Our local murder of crows feed in a separate part of the pasture than do the chickens, so they never really make contact...but I'm really loving that they live here. They are noisy but worth it all the same.
 
S Carreg
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Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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Hmm. That's not something that I ever really considered to be honest. Our coop was not designed to have feeders in it really, and in any case I don't tend to use the feeders as they prefer to scratch, so because they prefer it, and it's better for them and for the composting woodchip, all of the food and scraps and everything goes onto the woodchip pile for them to pick at. How would I even give them kitchen scraps in the coop - the floor is semi-deep litter but it's still a confined space so ya know, there's poo.
 
Jay Green
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The only problem with feeding on the ground and in the litter is the food waste and this also attracts rodents to the coop...and snakes. Also, feeding their feed on the ground on which they defecate can cause them to consume their own parasites more readily. They will dig through a deep litter system anyway to consume any bugs that may arrive, but that's a little different than eating feed right off their own feces. If you are using a deep litter system that is not designed to consume and digest the fecal material, then they are basically dining off their own poop at that point. Not advisable.

I'd make some coop modifications to allow for feed AND water in the coop...one never knows when those birds will have to be confined to the coop for one reason or another and the convenience and good sense of having feed and water available during those times will be efficacious for you and the birds in those times.
 
S Carreg
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Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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Thanks for your input. We don't have snakes here, but I take your point. I will look into possible modifications, although at the moment the system does seem to be working reasonably well.
 
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