Chore Time! — Roosters
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I just know that the anticipation has been growing since last week to find out what else is living in hoop house 3. Well, folks, may your anxiousness subside for it is Tuesday once again! And today this “secret” is to be revealed…

…the pullet’s neighbors are…

…drum roll please…

…Roosters!

One eligible bachelor

One eligible bachelor

 

I hope that lived up to your expectations. The title didn’t give it away too much, did it?!

So, about a month ago I heard new sound on the farm. Well, it wasn’t exactly new, but it was new since September! (All of our previous roosters were butchered this past September). As I was going about my morning feeding, suddenly a sound like a cough/cackle/cry cringed through my ears…. who knew that it was actually (suppose to be) a crow! It sounded more like an adolescent boy’s unstable voice, but, nevertheless, it was the first crow of whole the batch. And, oohh, it made me smile! These chickens were growing so fast!

Anyways, what this also meant was that the roosters were developing, and so the hens wouldn’t be far behind them. After young roosters begin crowing, hens start laying about three weeks later. So, it was time for some changes.

Hannah and Jonathan (my fellow apprentices), Eric (my boss), and I set out to build these young men a new home. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it has done the trick. We simply took four scrap boards to use for the bottom parameter, a couple 2×2 inch boards and a pipe for vertical support, and a whole lot of chicken wire to go around and inclose it all. Eric also hung steel wire across the top parameter  for something to zip-tie the chicken wire to for support. We stapled the chicken wire to the boards, Jonathan constructed a nice door for me to get in and out, and voilà!… we had ourselves a certified co-ed resistant chicken pen.

Rolling out the chicken wire

Rolling out the chicken wire

Jonathan working on the door, and Hannah working on the bottom boards.

Jonathan working on the door, and Hannah working on the bottom boards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stapling

Stapling

All done!

All done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well… not exactly. The next day I noticed a few sneaky hens had found there way inside this bachelor pad! Throughout the next week, I was having to catch these rebellious ladies and put them back where they belonged. We determined that they were flying up and over the chicken wire. So, to remedy this little situation, Hannah and I simply put up some extra plastic netting on top of the chicken wire… no problems since!

In order to get the roosters separated and into the new pen, we had ourselves a little after-dark excursion. In other words, we went into the hoop houses after dinner with flashlights, caught the roosters by hand, put them in crates, and toted them over to their new home. It’s a lot easier to catch chickens in the dark when they’re sleepy.

Overall, there are two types of roosters in the pen. First, there’s Rhode Island Reds that were, originally, part of the same batch of chicks as the pullets in hoop 3. Second, there are the roosters that were hatched here on Polyface this past summer; they’re half Rhode Island Red and half Barred Rock. Besides the obvious gender (and temperament) difference between the hens and roosters, the roosters have the exact same watering system as the pullets. However, for feeding, they have bulk feeders instead of trough feeders. One of the advantages of bulk feeders is that they don’t need to be filled everyday.

Full of roosters!

All done — a pen full of roosters!

Bulk feeders

Bulk feeders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, that’s about all for these guys.

Next week… on to hoop house 4! Until then…

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About Miriam Gust

Miriam grew up among the lakes of beautiful central Minnesota and is the youngest of four. She is devoted to serving her King Jesus, and she finds great joy in spending time outside (especially while farming and hunting!) and in simply sharing a cup of coffee with friends or family. She looks forward to continuing to learn and grow at Polyface and is eager to trust the Lord with whatever the future may hold.
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10 Responses to Chore Time! — Roosters

  1. Kristin says:

    Thanks for sharing! This may be a dumb question, but…why do you need to keep the hens and roosters separate? What is Polyface’s view on fertile vs. non-fertile eggs to sell? Just wonderin’…

    • Miriam Gust says:

      It’s not a silly question! We just keep them separate because sometimes the roosters can get a little rough on the young hens and we want them to experience the least amount of stress as possible. We don’t advertise our eggs as fertile or infertile… sometimes they are and sometimes they’re not!

  2. tony manasseri says:

    My experience with roosters is it takes a while to get them to a decent weight for butchering and that is a lot of feed. Cost/benefit ratio not feasible. Please tell me more.

    • Miriam Gust says:

      Hi Tony–

      Good question! The reason we have roosters right now is…
      1. because a few of the “layer” chicks we ordered from the hatchery this fall turned out to be male (this is normal.. the sexing process at the hatcheries isn’t always 100%).
      2. because we hatched some of our own chicks this past summer. So, as it goes, about half of those chicks were males. We’re are planning on butchering all but 40 of them soon. The 40 that we’re keeping will be used for breeding this summer.

  3. cpatton1485 says:

    This is interesting. Will the roosters fight all gathered in like that?

    • Miriam Gust says:

      They sometimes get a little aggressive towards one another… but it dwindles out soon.

  4. Mark Wertin says:

    Why do you have roosters?

    • Miriam Gust says:

      Hi Mark–

      See my answer on the above comment from Tony. I think this might answer your question too!

  5. Scott McCabe says:

    Great article- thanks Miriam

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