Because our buff orpington roo was scratching the feathers off the hens backs, and winter was/is on the way, I gave him to a friend that also has chickens. I am interested to know everybody's opinion of what roosters (of the small breeds) are the friendliest toward humans. He will not be for breeding, just to comfort the hens and crow for them. I have had silkies in the past so I'm already leaning in that direction. I will hand raise him from a chick (hopefully can find/buy a chick.) Any ideas?
I had a Easter egger type males that were not very nice to most of the other chickens. They never attacked me, but attacked my other chickens. I will say that my Faverolle is a really nice roo. I also have a New Hampshire roo that is pretty calm too. Other males I have are Wyandotte and Plymouth Rock and they are nice chickens. All the roos I have now don't attack me and for the most part are not too bad to the girls. I guess they know that they will meet the same fate as the Easter eggers if they act up too much.
Do roosters get more gentle with the hens as they get older? These two accidental roosters that I have are my first; they are less than a year old and seem to pull out excessive numbers of feathers. However they are very gentle when handled by me.
All the roosters (except silkies) we've had always get rougher on the hens as time goes by. I was hoping the Buff Orpington rooster would be different but he wasn't. I just won't stand for my hens to have bare skin in the winter with the cold spells we have in north Texas. I've seen the cloth "saddles" that the British make for their hens to keep the roosters from scratching the hens' feathers out, but that just seems like too much of a hassle and uncomfortable for the hen to have something strapped on her all the time. So, time to find a gentleman rooster...
(I appreciate the input you all have given, thanks.)
CountryGardens, I guess "comforting the hens" is a bit of a stretch : ) But the hens seem to be more at ease when there is a rooster standing guard while they scratch around (eat.) We have a couple types of hawks that come around here looking for a meal. Roosters are good about sounding the alarm, and then the guineas start up a fuss, and the dog barks, and then I come running out of the house to shoo the dragon (in their eyes) away.
My Turkens and Cochins are the nicest of my roos. The Faverolles are young, but seem quite personable, as well. The Silkies are a bit more standoffish, but still easy to handle, and friendly to a point. Other than the Silkies, only the cochins have been banties
Ladypearl - maybe you can think about getting a couple geese instead. They don't need too much more than chickens. They just need a deep pan of water to clean their beaks with and they can eat chicken food (although I feed mine Purina Flock Raiser). Mine are always on alert and seem to keep everyone safe so far, but I also have a pond for my ducks and geese to use to get away from predators.
Okay, I'll look into the Chochins, catmad. Thank you
It would be neat to have a couple of ducks or geese (and their eggs are quite good I've heard.) But they also say they like to play in their drinking water and make it a mess. Now if we had a pond like you do titanium, and could keep'em separate from the chickens, then that would work. Thanks for the idea, though.
We have Canadian geese everywhere. No more swimming in the lakes around here. It's like a barnyard on the beaches. They don't even go away in the winter anymore. Only to places the water don't freeze.
Wouldn't want that mess in my yard!
Yes, they do make a mess. Large greenish black poo, but mine stay down by the lake most of the time. I have Canadian geese, mallards and some mixed domestic ducks currently. Some are permanently here and some that come and go.
The water is used to clean their beaks because they like to noodle around in the grass and mud and get dirt in their nostrils - they have to use that to clear that out. They only use the pan I have up by the house infrequently so I only have to dump it once a week. Without the pond I would say you probably have to dump it ever few days.
If we didn't have ducks and geese I still wouldn't swim in my pond... too many weeds and slimy stuff on the bottom.
We have a lot of Canadian geese at the lakes and ponds here also. Do people eat them any more? Seems like with such large populations, serving them up for supper now and then would solve two problems at once.
I had a total of 4 roosters until I found homes for 2. The polish & silver laced wyandotte were rehomed. I kept my little cochin banturm 'cause he's been so nice. So far, he isn't battling with the older roo (a mix of buff orpington and jersey giant). They are both awfully nice, though the big guy is rather rough on the ladies.
So... I'd recommend the cochin bantum from my experience.
I've got a few questions.. How many girls for your roo? Are you sure they are not molting? I have a few that are molting like there's no tomorrow.. naked backs and there are no roos big enough to do that kind of damage in with them.
I have bantam Ameraucanas and Serama Roosters... Once in a great while I'll get a fertile egg from the big girls (layers) but never any naked backs until they started molting.. or once when they had lice, I had a couple with bare patches...
I had a Silver cochin bantam that would have bred a rock if he could.. he was terrible. Cute, but terrible. So I think it's a crap shoot.. there are good roos and bad roos in every breed.
Yeah, you know I've been thinking that too ZZ. It just depends on the individual animal - there's gentle and mean in every breed. I guess I was trying to narrow down to the ones that most people report as gentle to increase my chances of getting the kind of roo we are looking for.
I have eight buff O. hens and thankfully since the roo has been gone (about a month or a little longer) their feathers are coming in real nice. They did molt but the bare backs they had were not from molting. So I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for a batam chochin or a silkie that is available around here. Some sweet person told me about a silkie roo that is available but it is just too far from here to get him right now. Our feed store will have chicks in the spring or maybe I'll order some then.
I appreciate you offering the pattern Tammy, but I better pass. Got so much else on my plate right now, sewing is bottom of the list. Do you happen to have a picture you could post of some hens with the aprons on? Would like to see how they look on the bird. ( Maybe some others would like to see also.) (If you don't have a picture then don't bother with it.) Thanks, Sonna
Well those are cute! And the hens seem not to mind them from the look of the pictures. Do they stay on straight for the most part? I guess I'm wondering what the hen does when she wants to take a dust bath and is wearing one of those. (?)
Also, how long did it take you to make them? .
Thanks for letting me see them. I'm reconsidering now because it would be nice to have the rooster (buff 0.) around in the spring so we could have eggs to hatch. My friend would let me borrow him for a while. I'm still going to get a nicer roo to keep though.
I had ordered a few and then they wore out so I just took a pattern of one and make my own,it didn`t take long at all,mine are put on with snaps but the one that is the camafloge is velcro and it two pieces,because some of the hens have no feathers on their backs or wings.If you goggle hen savers you will come up with a site I think.If you get one then you can use it as a pattern and make your own.Yes they do stay on and they can still dist bath.Some hens don`t mind them at all and others it takes a day or so for them to start moving right.
They come in different sizes,these are for like the sex links,The blue one is almost wore out but wanted to show you the font and the back.The cameo is the front you can see the velcro,I like this one cause it has no snaps and it easy to put on.
And this is the back of the blue one,there is two pieces of fabric sewn togather and stitched around and then the snaps are put on and the elastic.It crosses in front of the hens breast and under each wing.
I have Turken hen who's worn one for over a year, probably closer to 2. Well, I did have to replace it this spring. She has a collection of roosters who dance attendance, so it's a neccesity. She has never seemed to mind it at all.
I make then with fabric glue and velcro. I do sew the velcro on, but the hems and seams of the actual garment are glued. If I had a sewing machine, I'd sew, but this works for now:)
I've made them myself and it took about 30-35 minutes from start to finish (once I got the hang of it)...including the cut-out and I am a novice when it comes to sewing. I also use Velcro instead of snaps. I got the pattern from here... http://backtobasicliving.com/blog/make-a-chicken-saddle/
Porkpal - I was looking for something with a chicken pattern on it and just happen to find 2 types at Wal-Mart. I chose the one that I thought would match the ladies feathers the best. They also had one with white background, but since I don't have any white chickies I went with the brown and burgundy pattern. It would also have ended up reddish brown in time because of all the red clay that we have here.
Green - I found some that is specifically sew on...I've seen the glue on type too so maybe if you look for some without the glue it may save your needle.
One other thing that I'm not sure is mentioned in the instructions is that I used some medium weight interfacing to give it more strength so it wouldn't get torn-up as quickly as just using the fabric. I probably could have used denim fabric on the back and that would have probably been just as effective. It probably worked out the same price wise, but not sure about durability. They've been only wearing them a few months and are holding up pretty well so far. Only thing wrong with them is they have a little poo on them because of how the roosts are set-up.
I must say I am surprised (pleasantly surprised) by all this. You all are so creative and have solved the problem for the hens without getting rid of the roosters. Wow! I should have asked about this sooner.
The velcro (sew on kind) sounds like a great idea so I'll be shopping for that. I have plenty of interfacing and old blue jeans my son outgrew and quilting fabric.
Catmad, you sure seem to have a variety of chickens- so cute!
titanium, that chicken saddle almost looks too nice (professionally made) to stick on a chicken.
Wow!!!! I am new to chickens, still researching, hoping to buy this spring. This thread kills me!!! All these little chickens running around with aprons on! LOL i am so glad to know about this. Am i the only one who wants to add a ruffle to the edge!? :)
This thread has also been really helpful because i wanted easter eggers, but maybe i'll get just a few hens, and a blue cochin rooster. We plan to raise them for eggs and meat, so maybe it won't matter if the rooster is mean... O:-)
Too bad you're no closer to me. I have three Blue Cochin roos looking for homes. But, Cochins are very NICE roosters, at least all of mine (and I have more than I should) are. Even if they were mean, they aren't fast enough to be much danger (again, at least mine).
ps. Ruffles don't work, they catch in the roosters claws...
So you see Outlaw, if you run into a problem with your chickens (or rooster) you need only ask the friendly folks at DG Poultry and Livestock forum!
Now if I could just find a way to make my sewing machine quieter could sew some chicken aprons when everybody else is sleeping...
Outlaw, good luck with the meat part, especially of you have only a few. Didn't work for me. They each have personalities, and can be very endearing. I'm not real sure that someone considering ruffles for chickens is gonna have much luck marching them to the chopping block...
There's no reason you can't have Easter Egg hens and a Cochin roo. But, my Ameracauna roos are also pretty nice, if not as friendly as the fluffy-foots. And Ameracauna's are much better layers than Cochins.
LOL!!! ok... Apparently i'm totally transparent, even online! No pokerface.
I will probably not be getting any meat chickens. :(
I have wanted cows my whole life. I am from the city. I meet a country boy, fall in love, move to the country, and we have 2.5 cows and a white picket fence... The trouble is... They were free martins. Sterile twins. They're supposed to fill the freezer. :( i may plan an escape for them! Mind you, as a rebellious young person i was a VEGAN!!! LOL
ah farm life!!! *cue green acres*
You guys just keep talking me into chickens, and fire that sewing machine up for me! :) i have a feeling this obsession will end in a coop full this spring. :)
I never thought I could eat any of my flock 'til I got a batch of roosters that wouldn't come into the barn at night. At first they slept in the dogwood trees in our front yard but the wild life kept picking them off, 1-2 ea night. So they moved to the hanging baskets on my deck. The hanging baskets that HAD beautiful begonias. The hanging baskets that were right under the open windows of our bedroom. The roosters that slept in those baskets apparently detected dawn at 2:30am as they continued to crow from then until they finally got up for the day. They fertilized those baskets so thoroughly that I lost all the begonias that I'd been saving over each winter to decorate the deck ea summer.
Yep. Didn't really mind enjoying the delicious chicken noodle soup those roo's provided!
aaaahhh Tammy, that's too funny!!! Yeah, we've had those kind of roosters that want to be the first to wake everybody up (Uuuuugggh) They didn't last long around here either.
We have a Pomeranian who loves to chase chickens (saves me a lot of leg work) so when some chicken doesn't put him or herself up in the evening, I bring out the big guns (the pom.) and she chases them into the coop - makes both of us happy.
I'm sorry about your begonias getting squished and over fertilized - but you make a good point, it helps to be mad at them when you take them to the chopping block.
Yep, it's good exercise for her too. We have had roosters that would turn on her and start to attack - that was pretty funny to watch. I have to go help her (stop the impending fight) and make the rooster move on toward the pen. She only likes to chase them when they run away.
This makes me long for my Corgi. He herded our cats, so I'm sure a few chickens would have been right up his alley. But Poms and chickens! Who knew Poms had a herding gene!
I have one Sex Link hen and every roo we have had has lusted after her, to the point that she got a bare back and shoulders. I got one of those aprons (Happy Hens, I think) and she took a day or so to get used to it, but is fine now. It has elastic loops that just slip over her wings. She still takes her dust baths. It is a two piece unit, with a second piece that attached to the first, and goes across the shoulders, with velcro. I did not put the second overlay on her -- though I should now since her shoulders are bare and it's cold in mid-Delaware. I worry about her being able to fly up onto the roost with that second piece on. Anyone have experience with that?
I am just now able to start making chicken aprons since the holiday get-togethers kept me too busy to sew, and then this computer got a virus which we just got rid of so haven't been on DG for a while. I don't know if hens can fly with chicken aprons on but am eager to know the answer to that as well.
Don't know if all Poms have a herding instinct but ours seems to. Or maybe she just enjoys chasing them so much she seems to have it. She is, of course, an inside dog so chasing chickens (with supervision) keeps her from getting fat and lazy. Poms love to eat too much.
So how did your Corgi do that (herd cats) ? Must have been a sight to behold : D
Some hens get their wings clipped if they go over the fence one to many times around here. Do you clip your chickens wings, Catmad?
And I am curious how you chose the name Catmad... I have a parrot named Pearl and I borrowed her name because I couldn't think of anything else. It's funny how fast and easy it is to answer all the questions they ask until they want to know what user name you want. It takes me an hour sometimes to decide that (LOL!) Anyway, it is interesting to see all the different (unusual) user names people pick...
No, I don't clip anybody's wings, they free-range, and need to be able to get away from the Bad Things. When I say too well, it's when they get up higher than I can easily reach, and decide it's a good place to spend the night. Then I have to find an appropriate Chicken Stick, and get them to climb on, and be transported to where _I_ want them for the night.
I've been involved it cat rescue for many years, so most of my user names have a feline component. I don't really remember where catmad came from, but it was like you stated, I had to come up with something. I'm not good at names. Even my critters' names evolve over time...
No wonder you were happy when I had this wild cat spayed. You should see her btw so fat and pretty now. She lets me near her, but no touching. Now a lot of other cats in the neighborhood are coming around for free food. They were fighting in the front yard last night, sounded like a small dog was out there, but no, it was the cats making weird sounds.
Sometimes the cats go in or near the backyard and scare the chickens. The hens huddle all up in one spot and won't move. So far, no casualties.
One of "our" feral cats was stalking a hen when her friends suddenly saw it. They sprinted over to see what was going on and the cat fled! We've never had a problem with cats harming the chickens but they are large breeds and don't free range as little pullets.
I have a "new" kitten that has come to visit, and seems to want to saty. He's betwenn 5-7 months, and about 4 pounds. At first. he tried to stalk the chickens, and actually went after one Silky Roo. The Roo was so surprised that he squeaked *G*. None of the many local cats has EVER gone after him. Yesterday he was eyeing a tiny roo, but the roo puffed up at him, and he halloweened at it. Seems he wants to play, not eat.
I don't trust any cat with chicks, but once they're big enough to fly well, the cats pretty much ignore them.
I did see the kit sitting on the porch, watching my big Cochin roos. He just stared at them for while. Then walked slowly over to one, sat next to him, and reached up a paw to pat the funny looking thing. Did it once more, and turned around and came inside. Apparently not much fun...
My blue silkie rooster was a mean SOB, so he had to go. He was mean to the girls. But my BB red bantam is adorable and perfect. He gets along great with the ladies and loves to be held if you can catch him. I love this little guy. Crows like crazy, though.
Thanks! Can you believe for a while that I was trying to give him away on Craig's List for free (b/c of the incessant crowing), and that I couldn't find a taker? In fact, this is his Craig's List photo. So I decided to keep him.
Finally I have pictures of my girls. Their feathers have grown back and they are beautiful again. I haven't had time to make them all aprons but hope to do so soon so I can get a rooster (hope one of them will be broody this spring - chicks!) Normally there is some grass in their pen too but because of the drought last summer the ground is bare. The green grassy area to the left of them is the garden. They get big bunches of that grass to eat everyday along with their grain. You can see part of the fenced run going off behind them which they police for bugs and invading bermuda grass (they keep it out of the garden). There is a little chicken sized gate in the garden fence so we can let them in the garden sometimes. And of course there is a big gate where we turn them out into the main yard. They have to be supervised though or they will get into my flower beds and tear them up.
Thank you Light. We have a long way to go on this place yet...
The nice thing is, like you say Porkpal, the winter has been rather mild, and we have had rain, so it is greener now than in the summer (2011.) The last few months have been a such a relief for everything (because it isn't HOT and DRY).
Thought I would add a picture of me at the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed store in Missouri a few months ago. That way you all know who the dingbat is that got rid of her rooster before she asked the DG people what to do about the feathers getting scratched off her hens. LOL!
I am very jealous. I am also very glad that store is nowhere near me. I would need at least a wheelbarrow...
Funny, I have a Baker Creek order waiting on my computer. I have learned to give these orders at least 24 hours before I send it. That way I don't have to re-order when I remember the other things I must have. At least not for a while :)
Ladypearl, you don't look like a dingbat. You can't help what you did before you found Dave's...
You are a beautiful woman, LadyPearl and wise too.
If I had more energy I'd do more gardening. The heirloom seed are the only way to go. Maybe, God willing, I will be able to do something this spring. I want to SO badly, even if it is just some carrots and onions or something simple like that. Of course it would help if I could disconnect myself, at least a few hours a day, from this computer. :D
I was thinking yesterday, isn't this about the time of year to start planting seed in the house? I should do that. I have a couple of grow lights, I should plant some tomato seeds and put the lights over them. That isn't too difficult to do.
When we went to the register at Baker Creek that day, and my husband saw how many seed packets I had, he told me to put them on the counter and go to the car. He is so funny, he didn't want me to see how much it was going to cost. And he never did tell me. But we don't go to Missouri very often so he told me when we went in to pick out what I want, and I did! Although I'm like you Catmad, I would liked to have one of everything!!! But then I would have had to sell our first born LOL!
Yep, Light, tomatoes usually are pretty easy to grow if the weather/rain cooperate. But gardening can be addictive you know. And now that they (Mansanto/Dow) are trying to get the spraying of crops with that herbicide that is related to Agent Orange approved, it makes you want to grow your own food even more. It's bad enough that so many crops are Round Up ready and it (the glycophosphates from Round UP) is being found in ground water. (The weeds are becoming resistant to RU so they have to go to something stronger.) You probably already know all that though.
OT; LfJ, if you just want a few 'mater plants and such, but don't want all the heavy work of a traditional garden, wander on over to the Strawbale Gardening Forum. I started that several years ago, and it's the best thing I ever did...
Last load was $2.50 each, instead of $3, because they'd been partially rained on. Ask for old or "wet" bales, they're often cheaper, and perfect for gardening. Truth is, I use hay to grow in, but most people use straw, I think.
Hay for the cows in $3.00 per two string square bales, $30 for the big round ones.
Here in the panhandle of Texas, a large round bale is going for $120. Last year it was $60. Many if the farmers and ranchers are just unloading their entire herds at the auctions. They just cannot afford to feed them.
Our extension service recommended selling out when the drought was obviously going to be severe (actually rated "exceptional"). Cattle prices were good so many ranchers did. The breeders of purebred stock moved them out of state if they could. Some predictions are for the drought to continue until 2020. I sure hope they are wrong! So far I am holding onto my cows and recent rains have been encouraging. We'll see...
That is good Porkpal, "batten down the hatches" and ride out the storm.
One man here said it would last five years. No idea where or how they come up with these predictions. Unless there is some kind of history pattern I don't know how they could know these things with any certainty. Weren't they also saying there has never been a drought this severe as far back as they've recorded the weather here? Seems I heard that statement made.
My Buff Orp roo is the nicest of all the roos I've had. He has gotten less feisty with the ladies as he has aged. I had one hen -- a sex link-- who was consitatnly barebacked for 3 years and I got her an apron. It went on in winter and came off once it warmed up and she had grown back feathers. Now that our BO roo is older she is keeping all her feathers. For ssome reason the sex link was beloved by the roos (we had two for a while and both favored her, so she got a lot of action. Easter Egger was nasty and attacked me, Marans were fine -- we just liked the Buff better, and mutts who were half Welsumer and half Buff Orp might have been fine, but we hatched from five eggs and they were 3 males to 2 females and they fought each other. Our young Black Australorp was also a nice roo, but we could not have two with only a dozen hens, so we gave him away and he is loved at his new home. He was always a perfect gentleman with me and it was hysterical how he would sneak in a quick screw behind the Buff's back so to speak, and then outrun the big guy when he was discovered. My hens were also happy with no roo around at all, but it is charming to see our roo find food and call his ladies, and he does keep an eye out for hawks. But when a coon got into the coop he never lifted a spur in defense of the hen who was attacked.
I have two Minorca roosters and one Partridge Rock; he is huge. They are all easy to live with; not aggressive with people at all. Between the three of them though they were keeping most of the hens looking pretty ratty so I have begun keeping them separated most of the time. It is much quieter and so far no hawk attacks...
I have two roosters. Both are wonderful friendly guys - they have lived harmoniously (mostly) together for three years (counting this year).
One is a Giant Jersey/Buff Orp cross. He is gigantic and the nicest roo I've had in the 15yrs I've had chickens! The other is a little white bantum cochin. He seems to be more popular with the hens as I've got a lit of chicks with fluffy legs. :-)