Tag Archives: roosters

Lesson 868 – Sleeping in a car and roosters

As I told you on Friday, I went to a Buddhist writing retreat this weekend. I had no idea what to expect and I’m positive it was that attitude that left me so wide open for possibilities.

First, let’s get the sleeping in the car thing over with. Some people (hi mom) were appalled and fearful for my safety –  “that’s bear country you know.” I assure you that there were never any  worries. Flashlights and lanterns sufficiently held back the dark and I was quite warm, safe, and comfortable each night (well, more so on the second night when I moved the car from a steep incline – it had looked like nothing more than a gently slope when I first parked – to a flat parking surface.) Although I don’t plan on sleeping in my car on a regular basis, I would certainly do it again especially when it meant you ended up staying in a room with a view like this:

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Most of the retreat was spent in something called Noble Silence. Which was a surprise to me – I had assumed that when two or more writers are gathered in a room, there will be critical analysis and discussion.

Nope.

We were encouraged to not say anything. At all.

And we were also encouraged to only read for 15 minutes. Continue reading

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Filed under Backyard Chickens, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Mama Hen, Personal, Teaching kids, Violet

Lesson 846 – Getting rid of roos – continued

Yesterday I wrote about how to get rid of unwanted roosters from your flock.

One of my readers responded by sending me this important piece of email:

While I admire your forthright way of helping people find ways of disposing of their unwanted cockerels, perhaps before you advise them to give them away, you may inform them of a fate worse than the stew pot.  Like you, if I could eat my own birds, I’d be eating healthy food and my birds’ deaths wouldn’t be totally unwarranted.

 

Unfortunately, when you do find someone who will “take them off your hands,” or will actually pay you a few dollars for them, they are going to be used as bait birds in training fighting cocks.  I realize that this despicable practice is illegal now in all 50 states, but it continues unabated.  Continue reading

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Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Life Lessons, Roosters, The Family

Lesson 845 – What to do about the roos?

It’s that time of year again. No, not when the kids go back to school, although I have to admit that’s a pretty exciting event in any parent’s life, but instead, it’s the time when many of our Spring chicks have matured enough that we can no longer deny what is clearly right in front of us.

We’ve got some roosters.

I’m starting to get messages like:

I have a buff ameraucana roo- about 5.5 months old and a white silkie roo- 14 wks old I need to re-home. If you know of anyone looking, please let me know.

And:

I am looking for a home for this guy who is about 6 mos.  He is too protective to the flock when they are in their pen but running free outside he is fine.  i just can’t have them free all day while I am not home. Any suggestions would be welcomed. 

As anyone who reads my blog or who attends my chicken classes knows, I believe that roosters DO NOT *ever* belong in residential flocks (and that old argument that if my neighbor has a barking dog, I can keep a rooster just doesn’t hold water with me.)

But even if you’re careful, and I mean really careful, you can still get roosters. I know of someone who got a rooster when she ordered pullets from a mail-order hatchery. I’ve been told by “chicken experts” that I’ve got pullets who then turned into roos. I’ve feather sexed my young chicks and have gotten that wrong and I’ve “taken a chance” on birds and, yup, gotten roosters. (note: I’ve learned that just because they are really cute doesn’t mean that they are the girls.)

Unless your chicks are sex-linked there is no real way to tell if you have a rooster or not. Continue reading

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Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Life Lessons, Roosters, The Family

Lesson 793 – Grasshoppers and babies

The high schoolers have finals this week which means that they are getting home early from school.

 

And this also means that they are hanging around the house, half-studying and half-bugging mom.

 

“Mom, can you drive me to the store?”

 

“Mom, what’s for lunch?”

 

“Mom….”

 

Yesterday in an attempt to buy a few minutes of time so that I could finish an article I was working on, I sent Addy outdoors with my camera (be careful, I just got it back from being repaired) to take a few pictures of our new babies.

 

I want to remind you that this is my daughter Addy, who has yet to meet a baby she didn’t love. All I can say is – Addy, sweetheart, be careful, that’s how you end up with 6 kids.

 

Here are some of her masterpieces.

 

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And of this one, Addy said:

 

“Look at how that one is so proud and puffing out his chest. I’m thinking that one’s a male.”

 

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Ah, little grasshopper, you’ve learned well.  Now go back to studying.

 

 

***
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Life Lessons, Mama Hen, Maran chickens, Violet

Lesson 553 – The rooster in Cincinnati

We’re here in Cincinnati and although I haven’t found a chicken yet, I have found a reason for what I do.

After Trevor had his 2 hour gymnastics practice session this morning, we went to an outdoor square in order to have a pastry and a (long) overdue cup of coffee. As we were sitting at our table, we heard a little boy call out “A rooster! A rooster, mommy!”

Trevor and I both looked at each other in that “No, way, there’s a rooster here??!!” way. I mean what are the odds, that we would go five states away from New Hampshire only to find a male chicken in our midst?

We excitedly looked around, ready to pay homage and respect to the rooster in Cincinnati.

What we found instead was this:

That is what the little boy called a rooster.

And that is why I do what I do. I write about chickens because people have lost their connection to their food and the animals that supply that food. People don’t remember that food needs to be grown and animals that provide our food need to be cared for. We’re all in this together.

They don’t know that we can learn so many lessons from living with our food and taking care of it.

And as long as little kids think that pigeons are roosters in Cincinnati, I think I may still have a very good reason to do my job.

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Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, In the News, Life Lessons, Personal, The kids

Lesson 509 – Sexing a day old chick by its wings

A reader (amy elizabeth of tbn ranch) yesterday left a comment on my rooster blog about sexing day old chicks based on their wing feathers. I had heard of this technique but by the time I got around to looking at Charlie’s wings, she was much too old for this to be considered a valid indicator. Although I have never had a chance to use this technique, amy elizabeth  claims that it works consistently.

I plan to make a visit to our local feed store to take pictures of little chick wings to see if I can capture this technique. In the meantime, I’ll pass on the information but like the pendulum at a baby shower – I must caution you to use it at your own risk (in other words, don’t come crying to me if you get a rooster.)

amy elizabeth wrote:

I thought I’d pass on a little trick I learned a few years back that might help you… a lot. Sexing day old chicks is easy if you just look at the wing. Continue reading

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Filed under Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicks, Roosters

Lesson 508 – how you can tell you’ve got a rooster

We’ve had to harvest a total of 3 roosters this winter. All from the eggs that we had incubated during the summer and while we had our suspicions, we waited until the last minute (or the neighbors complained) before we took action.

Baby chickens all look alike (except of course for sex-linked birds) you really can’t tell if a bird is male or female until they get older.

Oh, for sure, there are some clues along the way. For example, for the most part males have bigger, thicker, legs and feet than the hens do.

Here is a rooster’s feet:

And here is a lovely lady checking out those feet.

Although roosters will have a larger comb than the ladies, hens can and do develop impressive combs, so – at least initially – the presence of a comb is not a reliable way to tell if you have a bad boy in your flock. Continue reading

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Filed under Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicks, Roosters