Friday, June 17, 2016

The Tale of a Gay Rooster

At Evening Shade Farms, we occasionally raise a few chickens to restore the flock.

The process of incubating takes about 28 days. A few, hopefully fertile, eggs were gathered and in 28 days we had some baby chicks. It takes a few weeks before they are big enough to merge in with the rest of the chickens.

Two of three roosters we introduced to the other chickens were, the twins, Mr. Rooster; Shorty, a pretty color of brown and black and the other rooster, Betty White, was mostly white with some black. All good looking roosters. They were brothers, we thought!


Mr. Rooster and Betty White

Things went along pretty good for a while, then we noticed, as sometimes happens when you have too many roosters, competition for the hens causes problem for the hens and the others too.

There were 3 rooster that seemed to be causing all the problems; Mr. Rooster, Shorty, & Betty White. They were bigger than the other roosters so tended to dominate. We decided to move them from the farm to the Evening Shade Farms Soap House area. We had built a smaller chicken house near the Soap House, so there was a place for them to roost. The door came from an old chicken house that we took apart.

For a couple of months things were going good and the three rooster brothers traveled around together and were very friendly with each other and us. Then one day we heard a ruckus on the front porch of the soap house. When we looked out to see what was going on, we found that the Betty White was in a wood box on the front porch of the soap house and Mr. Rooster, the larger of the twins, was doing the 'hen lay an egg crow'.

To give a little background about the box: we had a banty hen, named Betty, who laid a some eggs during one winter in that box. None of those hatched, but she was successful on later tries. She was a good sitter and a pretty brown. Unfortunately, she disappeared one day. We live in the country and there are a variety of predators around.

Anyway, what we figured was that Betty White rooster was pretending to be a hen and Mr. Rooster thought Betty White was going to lay an egg, thus the 'egg laying cackle'. (We think that they could tell that a hen had been in the box.) This happened several times, and we wondered what would happen if we put a fake wooden egg in the box.

Well, in a day or two, Betty White rooster started fighting and chasing Mr. Rooster & Shorty to the point of chasing Mr. Rooster down to the farm where we found him in the barn.

We figured that Betty White rooster thought a hen had laid the egg, even though there was no hen other than him pretending to be a hen, and because of that he needed to keep the other suitors away.

Not wanting the three brothers to be apart, we removed the egg and covered the box so they could not get into it.

That night, Betty White & Shorty slept together in their chicken house with no problems and the next day were back to normal. We then move Mr. Rooster back up to the chicken house to be with his brothers the next night.

Since then, they are back to being brothers and traveling around together with almost no fighting other than what is normal for three brother roosters being together.

We enjoy their company and they love to eat bugs and mulberries and crow a lot.

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