Les Farms


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How to Raise a Respectful Rooster

So you are new to keeping roosters.. or you are not new, and want to know where you went wrong with the rooster you have. He is aggressive, cocky and you just don’t like him.

I’ve raised my fair share of roosters. We had 15 full time boys that we used for breeding (at least). Only one of them was a little cockier than I would have liked him to be…

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Gigi.. for those of you who need a visual. Maybe he was pissed at me for tying his hair back.. Maybe he just couldn’t handle the pressure.. Who knows. He chased both Susan and Dylan, and flogged our neighbour (who kicked him in the ass and was immediately given respect from Gigi).

Now.. For the most part I would suggest eating an aggressive rooster, but I took the time to train this behaviour out of Gigi. Yes it can sometimes be done.. not always, but sometimes. I would not suggest even trying with one that had no value to your breeding program, or with one that has attacked children – but Gigi was trained to respect humans after a few minutes of stick training a day for a week. (will post separately about this if requested).

To avoid even getting to that point, here is what needs to happen:

  1. As soon as you can tell a chick is a male, do not handle the chick other than to check it over for injuries or illnesses. If the chick puffs up it’s chest at your hand in the brooder, ping it and make it move away from your hand. The goal is to make this future man respect your presence, and to respect that YOU are boss.
  2. Never walk around a rooster. Walk through him. Make him move. You are the boss. You are alpha rooster! Even if you are a woman, you are still the head of this flock!
  3. Do not let the roosters breed in your close proximity. Yes that is what you have a rooster for, but if he mates a hen right at your feet, that is blatant disrespect. Remember, you are the head rooster! Try to think like one.. If you see your underling mate your woman right in front of you, what are you going to do? Let him? No! Push him off of her. Chase the boy away after he is kicked off. Just like a real alpha rooster would!
  4. Don’t hand feed your cockerels. This teaches them (like handling does) that you are not to be respected.

The hens are the only ones I care to be friendly with. Roosters need to be timid of you, otherwise they are very likely to attack when you are trying to catch a hen, when you come too close to the hens, or are invading their space.

Think of yourself as the ALPHA. If your beta rooster is coming too close, you peck them. You don’t let them with your girls when you are present.

If you ever get one that needs correcting – I love using twigs. I don’t hit them with it or anything. I poke them and make them move away from it. They don’t like to be touched. This makes them give me a wide bubble of personal space.

I know it’s hard to abstain from handling the boys. You can if you want, but it did not work out well for Gigi, who was always handled as a chick (he was funny and everyone liked him).

You want keeping roosters to be a pleasurable experience  and it will be if you take the time to understand them and what they need. They are not created to be pets. Their instincts tell them to guard and protect and to make others submit. Your job is to be the head rooster, and to make sure they submit to you. By handling them you are showing them you are not worthy of respect and space.


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I’m Still Alive!

Sorry about the delay guys. I need to take the time and write out a proper entry, but until then.. enjoy this video of Betty picking on Gigi.

If anyone has fancy crested breeds, you’ll understand how this can restrict their vision and in turn make them crazy. Well Gigi was paranoid. Someone was ALWAYS following him, even when they were not. I had to help the guy out. He loves his new do, but Betty doesn’t.


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Penny, Penny and Penny

Penny has been driving me up the wall lately with her attempts at escaping the silkie pen.. and shortly after, trying to get back in like an idiot who forgot where she got out in the first place!

So I spent Friday cutting little holes that were Penny sized all around the silkie pen. Two holes weren’t enough. Penny still got out and forgot how to get back in.


So she would just wait around for me to come back and open the door.

That was that. I cut holes in between every. single. fence. post. There. That should do it.
Penny was now free to come and go as she pleased (which was often).


Mama had to free range with them as well. Flora Mae enjoyed the grass and didn’t feel as out of her element as I expected. Seeing as she never met the standard birds before now.


Penny and Penny and Penny enjoyed the crisp cucumbers I brought down as a treat..


The Pennies enjoyed outnumbering the big guys.


Which made Carlton feel a little insecure…


The ducks watched with baited breath. They enjoyed ganging up on a stray Penny. Little brats.. I put them all on time out.


Marge was free to scout out her old dusting spots. She had to show Penny where and how to dust bathe.

Jagger was excited to see Marge.


But I think Marge was much more excited to see Jagger.


However, Jagger was distracted by the possessive silkie who continued to flog him when he stepped near Penny.

So this weekend was busy. We cleaned out the entire barn again. Deep litter is just not for me!
I did get some time to photograph all my babies like I do every weekend. Here are some of my favourite shots from this week! Enjoy!


Scotty Mac – 15 weeks old


Gretta & Phyllis – 15 weeks old.

Everyone loves a fluffy butt pillow!


Skittles ❤


Spock – 14 weeks


Lorraine with her brood of 11 (ages are between 3 and 1 week – she takes anything I give her lol)


Black Ameraucana


Carl Jr. Looking mighty fine! They have started to lay already 😀


Silver Laced Wyandotte – 7 weeks


Sizzle – 7 weeks


Sizzle – 7 weeks


Stanley – 25 weeks


Bruce – 12 weeks


Roger – 19 weeks


Brian – 14 weeks


Jaycie – 15 weeks


Tilly & Rosa – 14 weeks (how cute are they?!)


Cochin x BR pullet – 15 weeks


Frilkie – 15 weeks


Betty – 12 weeks – chasing butterfly 😀


Jagger with son (left) This boy is only 15 weeks old! HUGE!


Lots of silkies. They were supposed to be eating some grass.. Instead they just piled up and waited for me to stick them back in their pen of safety :/


Agatha (crooked beak)


Silkie – 12 weeks


Silkie – 12 weeks


Same girl – 12 weeks


Barbara – 19 weeks

Thanks for reading 🙂 Don’t forget to leave a comment bellow!


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Bye Bye Chickadees!

Well we did it.. we sold half of what we had.. It was very sad for me on the days leading up to the sale, but once I got there it was really rewarding. Everyone loved that I brought them in a playpen, and we sold a few pairs of barred rocks to brand-new chicken enthusiasts. I watched as each barred rock boy pecked at this lady’s engagement ring. The boys were the first to go. The week old cochin x barred rocks were the last. So in our brooder we currently have (and are keeping at least until September):


4 silkies (2 white, 1 blue partridge, 1 frilkie)


4 cochin x barred rocks. We are keeping a girl, and the boys will be used for meat.


Penny’s baby


All 10 of the Naked Necks. The boys will be sold (save one for breeding) in September.


Doesn’t this Naked Neck look gravely beautiful? I think it is my favourite..


Lorraine & Pearl have 13 chicks. They had 11 last time I mentioned them.. I gave them two more silkie chicks. They are wonderful moms.


The goslings are simply huge. I fall more and more in love with them every day. They follow us everywhere. Invading our personal spaces and nibbling on our clothes.. It’s wonderful.


The first chicks are 13 weeks old. Can you believe that? They are the most beautiful group of chicks EVER. Don’t deny it. 😛

Skittles above.


Stanley


Gigi – Boy. I am going to breed him and skittles. I am so excited about these two. They are stunning.. I don’t even care that they wouldn’t be showable (or would they? :P) They are so beautiful no matter what.


Cathy – Tim finally responded to my emails, letting me know that Cathy could very well have white leghorn in her.


Bonnie & Hoover


Eedie


Lynette (so kill me.. I can’t tell them apart :P)


Fern (front)


Willow


The barred rock chicks are 8 weeks old. I am very sad to announce that Louanne is a Lou. 😦 Has to be.. He’s way too pretty to be a girl.


Oh he is so pretty it breaks my heart.


We enjoyed a nice sunny weekend.. Unfortunately we won’t see sun again all week.

Oh and we bought two turkey poults at the sale. They are living in the playpen with a cover over it (because they fly like crazy and are only 10 days old!) until we can get them off the heat lamp. They are Eastern Wild Turkey poults. I really hope one is a tom. Pictures to come!


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Oh so many chicks!

No pictures for today’s post, though I did take a ton of pictures over the weekend. I will have to share those pictures another day..

Right now our eggs are hatching. We have 10 so far, with 17 more yet to hatch. Two of the 3 week old silkie chicks don’t seem to be growing well, and seem weak. I am such a sap. I have a hard time with this.. How will I ever get used to a chick dying? I don’t know if I will.. I don’t know if I want to get used to it.. It’s hard for me to see any animal suffer.

We went to visit Jacqueline who hatched 26 of our eggs 7 weeks ago. The chicks are so cute. We helped her sex a few of them. One of Denny’s babies was easy to spot, and it was missing toenails just like Mom!


I guess there will be one picture today 😉
You can see where Denny is missing her two front nails. I’ve heard this is genetic, and seen a lot in Delawares. My two babies from her do not have missing toenails. All of her kids have very light barring. The two I have are very bossy just like their mommy.

I watched one attack Steve yesterday, and one also tried to attack Jagger. Steve just stood there.. Thinking “Should I retaliate?”

He didn’t.. That’s my good boy!

I am going to keep one rooster from the Naked Neck group. Here’s where I ask you guys for help… What colour? Should I keep a barred boy? I know I have at least three barred boys from the group *sigh*.. I have a red, white and black chicks. If one of those are boys, which colour should I use?


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Broodies.. Broodies.. and more Broodies!

Did I mention that Lorraine and Pearl are broody? Yeah.. They are turkeying all around the yard. Screetching at all who come near.. And smelling up the joint. If you’ve ever had a broody – you will know what I mean.. That poo.. It’s.. It’s.. Let’s not speak of it.

Not only are they both broody – leaving me with zero silkie eggs to hatch (ARGH!) but they are co-sitting on three eggs.

Lorraine went broody the day the chicks hatched. The same thing happened with Olive. She went broody when Janet’s eggs were due to hatch (though sadly none did).


I can’t imagine Pearl with more than one chick. She is so tiny.. A week ago I caught her fully covered under Olive – Along with Olive’s five chicks (aged 5 weeks at that point). Does this say that Olive is over weight? Probably.. I’ve told her many times over to consider my offer of Weight Watchers – but she does not like to count calories.


And when I ask her – she looks like I just killed her child.. with torture methods. Yes – she does not like to watch her figure.


Most of my girls enjoy indulging in extra fatty foods. Like Night-crawlers and June-bug Larvae (Love them for the last one!)


Really, in all honesty – Jagger likes his girls with junk in their trunk. It helps him balance.


Jagger is all muscle and no fat.


It’s been a while since I updated on Carlton. He is definitely a man now. 21 weeks and counting. No crowing yet, but he has tried to mate Macy a few times. She is really into him.


Rosa & Tilly seem to have doubled in size. I can’t easily pick them up with one hand anymore. They still follow me around like I’m mama goose. It is heartwarming ❤


Could be my yellow rubber boots 🙂


The oldest chicks are chickens now. They will be 12 weeks old this Saturday. Oh time flies…
Here is Eedie or Lynette. I can not tell them apart. We are going to get zip ties for easier identification.


Stanley has become quite the man!


Bonnie is also really beautiful – they all are.


Phyllis – Hating me for holding her. She is not at all curious like her hatch mates.


Denny’s baby.


Mabel’s baby


One of the barred mixes. Could be either Penny’s or Dott’s baby.. Though I’m not sure.


I really like the silver silkies. They are oh so cute 😀


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Chicks, Chicks and more Chicks!

Well you can say I’ve gone of the deep end in the chick department.. Right now we have 15 with 36 on the way. Who would have known a tiny flock of four would have grown to this obsession (as Susan would call it). Our first 10 chicks are now 8 weeks old, and the other 5 are now 3 weeks old. Oh how time flies..

Olive is a perfect mother. She protects her babies with a vengence. Even going so far as to attack our house dogs when they walk by.

If barred rocks are indeed sexable by the wash on their legs and the colour of their down, we have 3 girls and 2 boys. This one pictured above has the nicest barring of all five, and it’s one of the girls. This one is my favourite, and I have only named her.

I introduce you to Louanne!

As you can see, the other girls have much more blotchy barring. I hope they grow out of this. Either way, I would bet anything that Louanne will be the closest to the SOP.

She’s inquisitive and adorable ❤

While we are talking barred rock, Marge is very grown up. She is plump and robust *coughfatcough*…

Jagger is a stud! He took over head rooster spot! Steve is in the outs right now. Poor guy.. Jagger feels very good about himself. Not a single ounce of aggression towards humans yet. He does chase Steve around a lot now.

My sweet Honey got Picture of the Week on Backyard Chickens! I am very excited about that! I was also nominated by someone unknown to be a BYC Friend. 🙂 Thank you to whoever nominated me. It  means a lot.

Ida is the only grown chicken that has not started to lay. Will she ever? I’ve come to the conclusion that silkies take their sweet time before coming into lay. Ida is now pushing 33 weeks old today. She has not started squatting and Steve does not show any interest in mating her.

Patience is a virtue….

On to the 8 week old chicks.. Oh God they are cute.. Look at those beards! How can you not smile and squint your eyes in cuteness overload?

I am very happy that I can tell Fern and Willow apart now by beard alone. Fern has the grey beard and Willow’s beard is mostly strawberry blond.

Stay tuned to hear about the hatch due this Friday! I hope we have at least 30 new little fluffy butts to post pictures of. ❤