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In defense of a Rooster

 
pollinator
Posts: 309
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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Jamie Searous wrote:I have a question about roosters. Our hens are now laying, which we enjoy eating their fresh eggs. But the hens have been wandering too far for comfort so we got a rooster to help keep them in line. How quickly do we need to collect their eggs and refrigerate them now that we have a rooster fertilizing them? We don't want baby chicks.



Well, Jamie, you do lock them up in a coop at night, I would assume? After I have my breakfast [8 am], I do the rounds in the coop, since that is where the nests are. Out of the 2 dozens I expect, [25 hens, one a day] one dozen has been laid. I let them out, feed and water them and by noon, I can pretty much count that all have been laid. Early in the afternoon, I do the rounds again and collect the rest of them. They don't seem to lay their eggs much in the afternoon. I do check their paddock since one will surprise me every once in a while and lay outside. So that is if you'd like to collect the eggs are soon as they are laid.
Refrigerating the eggs immediately insures that no embryo develops and the eggs will look like they are unfertilized. Chilling the eggs stop any development. [To develop, they have to be kept warm for 21 days by their broody mom.] Mom also turns them around every day a few times a day when she sits on them. In the morning, she may leave the nest for a quick poop, a drink of fresh water and a quick snack but within 10 minutes, she is back on them, keeping them at her body temperature [105 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit]. Failure to stay on them would kill the embryo but the egg will not go bad for about 21 days unless it has a hairline crack.(By "bad", I mean "rotten"). If she abandons the nest after a week, you WILL notice that an embryo is starting to develop. It is just not appetizing, but it is not rotten.  [The eggs you see in the store may be considerably older, but still edible].
If you do not care to have baby chicks, you may not want to keep a rooster, although this thread has many good reasons to keep a rooster whether or not you want baby chicks. Even without a rooster, the hens will come back to eat and drink, so I would keep the water and the feed IN the coop. Keeping the grain in the coop also gives you more control about mice and rats that will come to steal a good thing. My coop is tight, so I have never seen a rodent in the coop. The chickens drink every hour or so, so keeping the only water available inside the coop insures that they will stay close, since that seems to be a concern. A little scratch grain and treats given consistently near the coop will keep them near. Adopt a calling call and if they seem to wander too far, call them and throw a little grain or a treat near the coop. They will come running.
Good luck with your flock!
 
pollinator
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Location: British Columbia
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I've had to move my rooster for the winter from a rural spot to our house which is more residential.

I'm trying the rooster collar method and... I'm not having much luck. Romeo hates it and it currently might be slightly muffling him. I live in residential area but other people have roosters but Romeo is just... so. ... loud! He's such a good rooster though. Takes care of the ladies, has killed a crow defending them.

Ahhh I'm not sure the stress or the noise of feeling like I'm torturing more Romeo is worth this battle! I'm leaving for 4 days and have house sitters that will not be able to adjusting the collar.

I feel like  bad chicken mamma and worse neighbour.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Ashley Cottonwood wrote:I've had to move my rooster for the winter from a rural spot to our house which is more residential.
I'm trying the rooster collar method and... I'm not having much luck. Romeo hates it and it currently might be slightly muffling him. I live in residential area but other people have roosters but Romeo is just... so. ... loud! He's such a good rooster though. Takes care of the ladies, has killed a crow defending them.
Ahhh I'm not sure the stress or the noise of feeling like I'm torturing more Romeo is worth this battle! I'm leaving for 4 days and have house sitters that will not be able to adjusting the collar.
I feel like  bad chicken mamma and worse neighbour.



Where are his ladies? You have enough room for them as well in this more residential setting? A residential setting is indeed a poor one for your neighbors, but from what you say, poor Romeo is getting the worst of it. Maybe he will get used to it, but crowing is an essential part of the rooster, so I don't think he will stop. Getting 'diminished' in that manner is emasculating and, I feel, cruel. Bending animals to our will is never a great idea. I would make do without a rooster rather than constrain him like this. One solution might be to rent his services to a local farmer who will fully appreciate it. The main reason for a rooster is to get fertile eggs. In the winter, the girls are not broody, so unless you use an incubator, you are not going to get baby chicks. Since you mentioned that he is such a good rooster because he killed a crow in their defense, I'm wondering if you need his guardian attributes in your present setting? You may not need him for that either during the winter.
If you do not need fertile eggs or a guardian for the hens, you might want to rethink the collar thingy. Will your neighbors complain or do you assume that they would? A dozen eggs as a gift may do a lot to assuage your neighbors. Otherwise, I fear that Romeo will end in the kettle. [I'd rent it: A farmer  wanting to enrich the genetics of his/her flock might some day repay the favor and let you have a rooster that will enrich the genetics of yours].
 
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I got 12 hens this spring to restart a flock, since mine disappeared.  Just recently discovered I got 11 hens and one rooster.  I'm worried I have had problems in the past.  So far he is behaving himself.  He looks after his girls, and hasn't challenged or tried to hurt me.  He is beautiful, and I don't mind the crowing, I kind of like it.  Time will tell.  It will probably be ok.  I am patching the old fence in an old corral that the coop is in. And I will make a gate.  This way they will have plenty of room to scratch and find worms and bugs ect.  but they wont be able to continue to destroy my yard.  
We live between Walnut orchards, and all the chickens we had before spent all there free time in the orchard, so not much destruction in the yard (veggie garden is fenced)  Since I lost every chicken in one day last year I have only been letting the chickens out when I am around (with the exception of a few times I forgot to close the coop at night)  so I'm guessing this is why they stay in the yard.  They have eaten all my pumpkins, and all the leaves and taken my hugelkultur down to the top layer of wood twice now, and done concealable damage to several flower gardens.  So they are getting there own area.  This may be good for the rooster, because he will have less opportunity's to miss behave.
 
Let's get him boys! We'll make him read this tiny ad!
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
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