Roosters Galore

So, when we got our chicks, the guy we bought them from had this certain way he sexed them – he would hold out their wings and look at the length of their feathers.  Well, guess what…that obviously doesn’t work.  Now, I can understand if he would’ve gotten a couple wrong (since he’s “been doing this for years” and seemed very confident), but out of 12, we’re pretty sure we have 5 roosters.  I mean please, just tell me you’re guessing if you’re guessing.  Don’t get my hopes up in thinking I’m getting all hens and one roo.

A few days ago we took two buff orpington roos back to the chicken man (we had 3 but really want to keep one of these), and he traded us for 3 of his older girls who are supposed to be pretty close to laying age.  Now, I realize that you can’t take young chicks into a coop with all older chickens because the older ones will kill the younger ones, so I was thinking taking a minority of three bigger hens (now known as “the mean girls”) into a coop with 7 younger hens and 3 younger roosters that we wouldn’t have a problem.  Boy, was I wrong.  This whole chicken thing has been live-and-learn for me.

[Hopefully, I can add a pic of the 3 mean girls soon]

My first mistake was not letting the mean girls acclimate to their new coop and flock while being separated from them by chicken wire.  I just threw them in the coop as soon as I got home with them…big mistake.  They immediately became defensive and started fighting with my little roos and literally scaring the poop out of my other little hens.  They were chasing them, pecking them, you name it…it was a traumatic time for all of us.

Commodore (the buff orp roo we were planning to keep) was even scared of them at first, and they seemed to have called his bluff.  He finally came around a while later, though, and I actually saw him pick up one of the meanies by her chest feathers (she’s twice his size, I might add) and hurl her across the coop.  He definitely earned his keep at that point.  He will be the one to stay and take care of our his girls.

Commodore

Now, we only have two (we hope) superfluous roosters: Myrtle and Linda Sue.  (Obviously, we named them before we knew they were roos.) Hopefully we can find homes for these two, because they are really pretty little roosters.

Myrtle - the Ameraucana rooster

Linda Sue - the Buff Polish rooster

After several days with the others, the mean girls have finally become accustomed to their new home and the other chickens.  Of course, they are occasionally still mean to the other hens and peck them off the roost every chance they get.  Sometimes I swear I see the three of them conspiring against one of the others, but I guess that’s just pecking order forming with the biggest first.  And, since we got them at an older age, they’re scared of us.  Lauren has the hardest time catching them, but she does manage to grab one occasionally.  Hopefully, though, they should be good egg layers…that’s all I can expect from them at this point.

I’m linking up over on the Barnhop today, so check out what’s going on at other homesteads!

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6 comments

  1. Geralyn Hampton · July 23, 2011

    Hey Amie,
    Geralyn Hampton here, the chicken lady in California.
    Yes, sad to say sometimes when you get pullets Roosters will show up.
    I was promised no more than 6% could be roosters. Well out of 30 birds I have
    two. One Rhode Island Rooster who as a babe the hens literally picked all of his back feathers and tail feathers out. I felt so sad for this “HUGE” chick I bought some stuff that was nasty brown and had tea tree oil in it. The hens stopped picking on HUGHIE!, Like the cartoon , baby HUGHIE. that is what my men folk called him ,the name fits. He was so strange looking as he grew. He is HUGE!! He must stand over 2ft tall and he is only 4mos. old.

    My hens do not know it but Hughie is going to have his day with them and won’t they be surprised who is on top of who?!!

    ! I also have a very small Japanese Bantam. He has the” little man” syndrome. He once tried to match up with Hughie then bailed, He sounds like a broken dog toy. HE is so handsome though!! Hughie is getting prettier also, and is crowing like a champ.I just wish he would grow some tail feathers!!

    When introducing new birds it is best to put the new birds in coup at night, that sometimes works. When I introduced my Bantams I had them in a cage in the caged area, for about two weeks ,then put them in the coup with the girls at night, NO one was killed that night, , but my hens did chase around and still do one little mix bird that was the age of my Bantams,
    As long as the new birds have a place to hide and get away from the meanies, they will do okay. They definitely have a pecking ORDER. Usually the rooster is at the TOP or a dominate hen.
    But it can be a challenge!! At one point I had to hose down three hens that were ganging up on that little mixed breed hen, in a corner.. She is always paranoid when not with her white
    friends. (THE JAPANESE BANTAMS)
    I hope you are enjoying your chickens as I am. THEY remind me of people and how we act.
    blessings, Amy, YOUR Mom’s Calif friend and sister,
    MISS G.

  2. Amy · July 23, 2011

    Thanks for the comment, Ms. Geralyn. This has definitely been a learning process. After reading Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, I thought I knew all I needed to know. Where I’ve learned the most, though, is from people like you and on backyardchickens.com forum. After I had already dumped the mean girls in the coop with the others and saw there was a problem, I decided to visit the forum to see what I should’ve done…which was like you said: put them in there at night. From what I understand, if you sneak them in at night, they wake up and don’t realize anyone is “new.”

    I would love to see pics of your chickens sometime…send them to my mom!

  3. Geralyn Hampton · July 23, 2011

    Hey Amy~
    I did just that, but my camera’s battery died before I could down load them to my computer.
    I am. Charging it right now so I can send you pics
    of my two boys and all my wonderful girls. They are so spoiled every time they see me they
    want a treat of scratch or clover.. they follow me when I walk around their enclosure. THEY are
    so silly. THEY are little budge balls with feathers. One of my friends said when chickens run they look like ladies wearing a lot of peti coats and holding them up as they run away. I always think of that when my Buff Orphington’s run, they are so cute!!
    They have not started laying as yet Maybe around end of Aug. or Mid Sept.?
    , We are in the process of fixing them a new coup. Also learned not to put nest boxes in their
    coup when they are young they will roost in them, put your roost poles higher than next boxes.
    Also to put slanted tops on your nest boxes or else they poop on the tops of nest boxes.
    It will
    My new coup be larger. 8x12ft. inside with a dozen nest boxes and many perches. My luck they will
    all cram on the floor in one corner as they do now in my 4x8ft coup. Richie(HONEY-HUBBY) made.
    They were fine when I first put them in it, but now, a lot of squawking and cackling at bed time until
    they settle in their own places. It is crowded big time!!
    G.

  4. Amy · July 25, 2011

    Loved seeing your pictures, Ms. Geralyn! They are beautiful! I can’t wait until ours get that big…and congrats on your first egg!!!

  5. Geralyn Hampton · July 25, 2011

    Morning! Amy
    My new coup went into place yesterday!. It was so exciting! After returning
    from Church Service to see it in place just warmed my heart.. My son’s and hubby were working very hard together as a team
    to level it. THEY even painted it. I will be painting the trim white. I will send
    you pictures. We have to make the nest boxes and perches. also connect a small ramp and incloses wire tunnel so none of my precious birds escape
    blessings,
    geralyn

  6. Georgia · July 29, 2011

    so glad you gave me you link! you could write a book about all the ways people sex their chicks. A friend of mine got 12 baby chicks all “girls” 5 of them are roosters. my girls are starting to get along better, they still won’t sleep together though. hope yours are getting along better too!

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