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In defense of a Rooster

 
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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!
 
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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.
 
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Anna Tennis wrote:Roosters = illegal in our city. I'd love to have one. Anyone know of a way to keep a Stealth Rooster? Are there quiet roosters?



I live in a city where livestock are also banned. Stupid...  But the cops are too busy catching gangsters and rapists to care about a few chickens.

I talked to each of my neighbors before I got my flock, and none of them cared one iota about it, especially since there are three horses up the road, and the fella that lives behind us used to have a rooster.

I ended up with one rooster. So far so good on the crowing. (*knocking on wood*) I wasn't expecting a rooster, but there he is... Mr. Cluck Norris.

What my thoughts are for you is perhaps network with someone who does have a quiet rooster and try to breed him? That's what I was planning to do with my Rabbi's roo...I've NEVER heard him crow, and he's such a gentleman...the roo, not the Rabbi...LOL
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Every rooster crows. There are no breeds of chickens whose roos don't crow. I've had different breeds and they all crow. That's what they do. I live outside the city so I can have as many roos as I want, but because we live in a cold area, my coop is well insulated, and that can help if you want to muffle the sound of your roo without doing horrible things to the little guys. You may also cut down on rodents entering the coop to eat their feed [although that has never worked for me: There is no way to make the coop *that* tight.]
When does a roo crow? Early in the morning. when do the hens lay their eggs? in the morning.
Solution to losing eggs and hear the roo: I keep the door locked until 10am. By that time, the roos are done crowing and so are most of my girls done laying. They go out as soon as I open the doors and that is a good time for me to add feed, water without having chickens underfoot and take their eggs because I don't want to remove the eggs when they are in the middle of laying. It is cruel [How would you like someone to come clean the toilet when you are sitting on it, right? It kinda breaks your concentration if you know what I mean ;-) .]
 
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I love the sound of a crowing rooster. It is one of the positives of country living for me.   I fell in love with my roosters when my dominate rooster got let out of the coop one night.  I headed out with a flashlight for a final search.  There he was, on top of the coop, with his wings stretched out over the roof of the coop, protecting his flock.
 
John F Dean
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When  my chickens are free ranged, the dominate rooster will normally crow as the light fails to call his flock back to the coop.
 
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We had 9 roosters with our first flock of straight run chicks.  We culled the first 4 that were the most rape-y and mean.  Then we culled the ones from #6 on down.  Doo has been our rooster for 3.5 years now.

When a friend brought over a mid sized dog on a leash, Doo didn't do a damn thing.  Just kinda scurried away with the girls.  He makes plenty of warning noises when they're out and about so that hopefully helps.  The girls will be all over the property and he doesn't keep them together at all.  But he calls them to food when he finds it.

Twice in his lifetime he's had a serious scrape.  Two autumns ago he lost both spurs one day.  I assume it was in a fight with something.  This past summer he lost a big patch of feathers on each side of his neck.  Over this whole time we've never lost a hen to an animal.  So I think his primary purpose is as a decoy or target.  The fox/hawk/eagle hopefully targets him and the girls get away while he's fighting for his life.

Go Doo!
 
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Recently my sister was told to be rid of her rooster because of the bylaws of our city. Having read the article that was posted I am enlightened and comforted by a good attitude toward our beloved rooster.

My sister said that we put up with all sorts of other noises like speeding cars and loud stereos and all sorts of other noises.... I don't think roosters are a patch on all these other sounds that are part of our lives.   I'm not such a good sleeper but I'm not too rattled by a rooster crowing in the morning. It feels almost natural to be woken up by the sound of a rooster.  The rooster symbolises morning and he's like a natural alarm clock. I have a wife over in Laos who daily hears a rooster in the middle of the busiest city there. No problems. Why then do people so strongly object to their calling?  Is there something so unnatural in the way that we have made our lives? I think part of the problem here is that people have to work hard in order to pay their mortgage... Because houses are so expensive in New Zealand they expect that their experience in their house should be in line with them being able to sleep perfectly so they can work unnecessarily hard to pay off the mortgage.
 
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