That’s a good tip, my solution was always more drastic… Good to have an alternative.
excellent post. but what do you mean by walking him down?
Be the aggressor. Walk right at the little turd and show him who’s boss. I’m always amazed at the people afraid of birds, little birds. Maybe it’s because I grew up on a farm with 200 to 2000 lb animals. Never got hurt by any of them either but I didn’t walk down the bulls or boars.
That often works, but not always. I recall many years ago when I was flock sitting for a neighbor in the middle of an upstate NY winter. I came by the barn once a day to replenish their food and water. That rooster attacked me every time. A swift kick to the wall stunned him enough for me to finish up with everything and collect the eggs most of the time, but occasionally he would come back for seconds. Slow learner I guess. Perhaps he was used to the owners or good at protecting the flock, but seemed to me to be prime soup material.
As someone pointed out, if they weren’t already called chickens they’d probably be called stupids.
Oh you can do that with a bull and it will work sometimes but if he calls your bluff it’s a little worse than getting flogged by a chicken.
Back a little closer to topic, I kept chickens for ten years or so. In my experience you can buy eggs cheaper than you can buy chicken pellets and get eggs from your own chickens. If you free range the chickens you can cut way back on what you feed them but they won’t stay out of your garden once they find it. Mostly it was just a fun hobby and I enjoyed watching them scratching around in the yard.
Yeah, I’ve considered the cost of keeping maybe a couple dozen on the farm. I mean, I like eggs, eat them maybe 3 times a week, but what would I do with all the others? How many eggs does a hen lay in her prime years? My wife says we’d need at least a couple dozen birds, so how many eggs a day are we looking at? 24 birds laying, what, maybe 20 a day? That’s a lot of omelettes and quiches!
Most of our neighbors around here already have their own chickens and we get eggs for free most of the year. But, we could give some to my in law’s family, I suppose.
I would imagine in the winter you’d have to give them some feed, as there’s less bugs and grass to eat?
So, guys what would you say you’re out expense wise per month for your chickens?
Keeping bees next to a pasture with a young bull in it. He was standing at the fence growling (yes they do) and pawing and pushing on that wire fence so I shook a frame of bees in his face, he had plenty of respect and caution then! TeeHee
In the literature, a red star hybrid will lay 250-300 brown eggs a year. A white legern will do 300+ in their prime. My girls are 2-3 yrs now and I get 2 doz. xl-jumbo a day from 55 Rhode Island Red hens. My biggest expense is brooding chicks because you go 16-22 wks. w/o eggs. I sell eggs @ $2/ doz which just covers feed. It needs to be at least $3
I don’t play by the rules so I bought bulk wheat out of the fields or at the coop here which cost $50 a truckload roughly. I ground corn I grew and always had plenty of feed. Because I fed like that raising chickens was cheap for me!
We don’t have many hens (11) but my wife sells enough so grain is paid for and our eggs are free. It’s really not about the cost. It’s the taste and health aspects of the eggs. No brainer. When you see the difference in the color of the yolk you will know there is something special going on with that egg. Then the taste. Wow, are they good!
Many years ago a humorous trick I would play on my Father’s large brown swiss bulls was to feed them a bunch of grain and then set on their head while they ate. No attention was paid to the 180 lbs on their head. They would munch away and look all around for a while. After eating they would flick their heads back and throw me completely over their backs and with practice I would land on my feet. Very big and dangerous animals accept while eating. If you got caught by them any other time they would bellow and chase you and the only chance you would have would be to get behind a tree or telephone pole and then kick them as hard as possible in the nose or eyes. Sounds brutal but better than being killed. Not possible for a human to hurt one of them anyway. Just their play sparring with each other was far more forceful than any human could ever muster. Used to put a chain around their necks and tow them down to the pasture with the tractor. If they braced their feet it would make the tractor spin!
When they say strong as a bull it’s no joke.
If I were going to do it again I would build one of those moveable coops so they wou be contained but you could still move them to freash ground all the time. Maybe even park them under fruit trees to help eat bugs. I know turkeys eat stink bugs and I bet chickens would too. I seem to have quit a bit of damage from stink bugs , I discovered this year that the black spots on my pecans are also from stink bugs. They were also real hard on my first Asian pears.
Forgot to say we only have one old barred rock rooster but he is big and at times nasty(aggressive). He wants to be the boss which is good for watching out for the flock. He is capable of drawing blood so I keep his spurs and nails trimmed. Still his beak will draw blood also so he needs periodic “training”. He is not only handsome but is fun to watch around the yard. His call is loud but we have gotten used to it and it is no bother. Time to be out of bed by the time he is cock a doodle doing anyway! Just as fruitnut says, you must be the aggressor and walking him down just means walking toward him slowly until he chickens out. Do not walk towards his hens or he will instantly see that and he will react. Even his head movements will change. Watching how they react will tell you how to work with them. Even with regular training if you grab a hen and she squawks he will attack to protect his wife!!!
We had various beef and dairy bulls when I was growing up. One of my favorites was a little Jersey bull that my grandpa bought at the sale barn. He was young and only weighed 500 lbs or so. We had him in a pen in the corral and I would feed him hay and grain everyday. He really thought he was mean and would bellow and paw everytime I went in the pen. I was young and tough so I would get hold of him around the neck like I was going to bull dog him and just wool him around. After a couple of months of that , (he was growing and getting stronger everyday) I couldn’t handle him any more. When I would go it to feed him I would get a big stick and have to fight him off. My grandpa had no idea I had been “training” his new little bull so when we got ready to put him out with some heifers he just walked in the pen with him. I should have warned him but I figured I would get in trouble for making him mean so I just didn’t say anything. As Grandpa walked across the pen the bull charged him and knocked him down in the mud and manure. After we got the bull out of the pen and in the trailer, Grandpa was trying to scrape off some of the mess on his clothes and he looked at me and said " It’s almost like someone has been teasing that bull and made him mean".
So, how are Barred Rocks temperament wise, besides that old rooster? Which breeds would you say are more friendly? I know that’s not the most important aspect when picking a breed, but was wondering.
I think the 4 breeds we’re leaning towards are Barred Rock, New Hampshire, Buff Orpington and Sussex. I found some of these and a bunch more on this site, Cackle Hatchery out of Missouri. They have decent selection and prices, and to ship 20 birds the shipping is about $20. If we don’t get any locally we might try them.
Our buff o hen is a mean old gal. If you buy from a hatchery look for specials on mixed breed layers, they can be very good deals.
I found one of our local farm stores would order for me and didn’t charge shipping. Another thing I found on craigslist is a guy who raises lots of chickens selling 17 wk pullets for $7 delivered. They just started laying, crazy good deal.
I would not get the barred rocks again because they lose feather frequently and quit laying for long amounts of time. They are an old breed so think new breed apples against old apples. If I was looking for a brown egg layer like barred rocks I would get Dekalb hybrids amberlink or Dekalb white egg layer ( hard to find but I formerly had) . I know not everyone cares about production like I do but at least look at the reviews on chickens and if the reviews are not 97%+ maybe reconsider http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/category/chicken-breeds. The dekalbs supply many of the eggs in the world but unlike white leghorn are more gentle. I know of one supplier http://www.mthealthy.com/product/AMBER-p?mobileback=Search^%2Fsearch. I would try to purchase them directly through your local feed store if you can. Feed stores are typically who large companies that raise commercial breeds deal with. Most home users never set eyes on dekalbs. Barred rocks are inexpensive but it’s a Mercedes vs a gremlin in comparison. Amberlinks will go a long time and not moult which means produce more eggs http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/120245/need-some-info-on-dekalb-amberlinks. If your heart is set on barred rocks there are improvements of those such as black sexlink which are barred rock roosters and black hens which lay around 250 eggs per year. They are not bad but cannot convert feed to eggs like a white leghorn or Dekalb hybrid can. They are a rode island red x barred rock . They call them black sexlink because when they are babies you know the sex based on color. Roosters are all barred rocks and hens are all black from that cross so technically you can make your own cross. Here is a link http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/black-sex-link-chicken. Mine were very big heavy birds so could not fly well which is important to me so they can escape predators. I did not loose many because they are camouflaged well due to their color.if you want a chicken no one can touch that flys like a pheasant and runs like one try these black Minorca http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/minorca . They don’t lay enough eggs for me but the predators will have a hard time getting that meal! Eggs are white and they don’t sit eggs. I had some of those hens that I never touched accept when they were babies because if I got within 20’ they took off. I did not take it personal I’ve owned them a couple different times and calling them flighty is an understatement.
My son’s leghorn rooster is also mean but not quite as bad as my barred rock. We have a mix of barred, leghorn and red comet hens. Also a few that are a cross of any of them. All are great layers and the different personalities and colors make them interesting whether in the yard or out roaming all around the lawns and fields. Be sure to plan on replacements for the one’s you lose to foxes, eagles, coons, and of course the neighbors dogs. Always a wonder why neighbors think it is their dog’s right to kill your hens on YOUR property. Don’t let them get away with it. Get a lawyer and make them pay for the hens and if the courts rule in your favor then also ask for your lawyer and court costs. Trust me , most of the dog problems will stop! Sometimes you must be the mean rooster.
In my area the law is tired of dogs killing chickens. They stay on the side of the chicken farmer. If the dog cannot remain home it’s put down. It’s sad to see irresponsible people that’s dog pays for their inability to be responsible.