Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Roosters

Roosters are so vain and rightfully so. This is my full grown Buff Catalina. He struts around the barnyard like he is a king and seems offended if I walk through the paddock on my way to the barn. I suppose I should give him a royal right of way, but I remember him without his tail feathers, wattle and comb. He was certainly less regal looking then. Truly, he is a good rooster. He finds tasty morsels for his hens and calls them over. He is not overly aggressive and seems to offer some protection for the hens. He doesn't crow non-stop all day and night like some of his predecessors. His mom, Henny Penny, took on a hawk to save his life, so I spared his life during the rooster cull even though his feet are not blue enough. I think he is beautiful unless he is in my garden.

The lighter colored bird is a young Barred Rock rooster and the darker one is a pullet. The adolescent rooster does not look as regal as the older Buff, though it won't be long until he will demand respect. The bird wire is part of the restructured chicken house. There is an outside yard and a building. I open the door at 5:30 each morning so the birds can free range and close it after sunset to protect them from predators. So far, The Yellow Dog has been respectful of the little birds, but I am keeping a close eye on him. I am always amazed at the anatomical changes that take place in such a short time. Remember when I first got them?

7 comments:

mull-berry said...

Beautiful birds! Don't the males fight?

wisteria said...

They don't really fight, but there is much posturing. Once the dominant male is established and if everything stays the same order is maintained in some chicken sort of way. It also helps to have enough hens to go around. For these big birds, one rooster for every eight to ten hens is about right. Go below that and things are a bit tense. That's why we have a rooster cull almost every year.

Susan said...

Love the chickens! They're beautiful. Thanks for the pictures.

Samantha said...

Love the pics! My mother-in-law adopted a stray chicken. It looked a lot like your grey and white ones. My mil tends to adopt a lot of stray animals, we often joke that she has some sort of sign or marking on her property that only animals can read. She would bring it in at night, and it would roost on the edge of her bathtub. On weekends when she was home it would follow her around, and sit on her lap. Eventually she gave it to a small family farm. My kids loved her. One day I will have to blog more about "Henny Penny".

wisteria said...

Animals usually can judge the true nature of people so maybe your mil does have a mark. I do think letting a rooster roost in your bathtub is taking it a bit over the top. Roosters get up before I do. I'm not so sure I would want an alarm clock with no snooze button in the bathroom.

malorie said...

What is the most humane way to cull the roosters. I have 14 acre parcel in California and I have about 30 chickens I raised. Unfortunately about 1/2 of them are roosters and the fighting and crowing is getting unbearable.

wisteria said...

Malorie,
In my mind, there is no humane way unless you give them away or sell them. Advertise in your market bulletin.

We usually kill and eat them, if we have a lot more than we need. I feel that if we are respectful and get it over quickly then it is as humane as possible. I let my husband do the killing, but I clean them. I am always sad, but it is part of the farm life. If you want specifics, I can give them. E-mail me.