Tuesday, May 31, 2011

#18 - Loud Roosters a Problem

Having chickens in our backyard has been amazing. I've learned a lot about their behavior as I sit outside in my lawnchair and watch them strut around our yard. A great lesson I've recently discovered as I own my first flock of chickens is to NOT wear red toe-nail polish while bare-foot among the chickens. Farmers out there, beware, red toe-nail polish will entice the chickens to chase you down and peck off those little piggies as they are going to market!!

Since the chickens are only in my backyard, I can wear my flip flops or walk out bare-foot, but on our acreage we can't walk around without putting on good protective shoes.

After receiving a few painful, very serious pecks on my toes, I ran from the chickens and they literally ran after me to chase my toes as if they were food. If only they could make fishing lures that would work as good as this! But, the entire ordeal wasn't as fun as it sounds, but I truly did look as ridiculous while running for the back door. I also learned that chickens are surprisingly FAST.

Red Toe-nail polish not good when exposed in front of chickens.
I love our chickens, but the entire reason for us buying these seven chickens was for us to have fresh eggs, but two of these chickens turned out to be roosters. Uh oh.

Big Boy Rooster

Little Boy Rooster has a Big Attitude!
Over the past week, the roosters have been testing their big boy voices. They started with pathetic squawk attempts that sounded similar to a teenage boy as he goes through voice changes. Quickly, the roosters gained enough vocal experience to boast louder roosterly sounds. I'm sure they'll get better and better at their cock-a-doodle-doo-ing and that's a big problem.

Having awesome neighbors is a beautiful thing, but no one likes to hear a rooster making a morning wake-up call at 6am on a relaxing Saturday morning, especially when there is just a few feet between each house. All the sweet feelings that the neighbors had toward the chickens --- wanting to bring their children and grand-children over to see REAL chickens, the eagerness to get their own fresh eggs from our flock, the laughs we all share as we watch these interesting creatures --- all those fuzzy good feelings begin to disappear at 6:00am Saturday morning as our neighbors wake up from hearing the roosters' harsh, irritating, repetitive noises; murderous intentions take root.

The roosters have GOT to be evicted. Otherwise, can anyone say "Fried Chicken" block party?

Lyla giving Roo a wee taste.
Making matters worse, the two roosters are becoming territorial and aggressive, especially toward each other. Each morning, for one SOLID hour, one rooster will sound off, then the other sounds off and they alternate for one hour straight. Next on the roosters' agenda is their macho game of "I'm tougher than you." This is when the Michael Jackson movements start as the two roosters dance around each other with popping heads and fancy foot work, all we need is the music.

Surely there has got to be SOMEONE around Houston who won't mind taking a couple of roosters. We're determined to find this person this week. I'll give updates.

Calling all chicken owners in Houston!
We got to enjoy a nice break from being backyard farmers this weekend as we were invited to Caprock Electric Suds and Buds Crawfish Boil in Houston's Heights neighborhood.  My husband's best-friend from high-school owns this successful Houston based company, so we get to be buddy-attendees.

The party just getting started in Houston.
Jimmy and Tracy were excellent hosts and the food was AWESOME. Our platters of crawfish, corn on the cob, potatoes, mushrooms, sausage and jalapenos was over the top.

The Heights in Houston is a district with mostly Craftsman style homes that have been renovated or elaborate is a historic part of Houston known for serious efforts toward restoration of the neighborhood along with gorgeous new construction that is unlike normal cookie-cutter houses. The Heights is ultimately a cool place to live.

The party was held at the Heights Fire Station which is now retired, but the interesting building is available for local residents to use for social gatherings.

But, we soon headed back home to check on our chickens and the two roosters. We drove back through the heart of Houston and then through the heavy industrial lined highway toward our house.

Near our city, just outside of Houston, Texas.
And it felt great to get back home to our chickens, our garden and our dogs. But, on the way home from the heart of Houston we must drive through refinery and chemical plants on either side of a highway that's known as HAZMAT Highway. It's an interesting landscape. Daily, we all use products that these chemical plants help to produce, so I can't be mad about the stink and the scary chances we take with potential lethal releases into the air or explosions too near our home. That would be embracing double standards. I know our households need these products, but I'll be glad when I am able to live further away from the plants.

Very soon, we'll live in the country on our beautiful acreage and we won't see these chemical plants any longer as we make a drive home. Instead, we'll see towering pines, rolling hills, cows and two-lane highways, and we'll be able to take in a deep breath of air and be confident that clean, fresh, tree-filtered air is flowing into our lungs. breathe country air.

Another section of highway near our house in the city.
Moving to the country will be incredible, but this week, I still live in the city and have two roosters that need to move out of here faster than fast. The search begins...


Anonymous said...

Chickens love strawberries , any berries, I bet that is what they thought your red toes were.
You can feed them most leftovers you have...they eat almost anything really. Love watermelon...just put what is left from one you eat out for them and they will feast.
I can't wait for you to get to the country, for your sanity.
You do know anyone in Houston that gets those roosters is going to eat them don't you?? Maybe you have an elderly neighbor who can teach you how to dress them? No , not with clothes. B.

LindaG said...

I seem to recall from Animal Planet that Houston has an ASPCA or some such. They may be able to refer you to someone who can take the roosters for you. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello, enjoyed reading your blog and looking forward to keeping up with your adventure. My husband and I moved from the city to the country 3 1/2 years ago. We used to drive the 2 hours on the weekend to stay here on the property and work till we finally got moved.
Yes, you can feed the chickens all your leftovers. DO NOT FEED CHICKENS POTATOES OR SKINS as they cause digestive problems. You should order the 'Backyard Poultry' magazine. Another good book is 'The encyclopedia of Country Living' by Carla Emery. A must have book. I call watching my chickens 'Chicken TV'. As far as the roosters you can post on craiglist in the area your moving to and someone will respond to take them. When you move to the country you will want a rooster as he is the watchdog for the hens. He warns them with a sound of any lurking danger. If he finds food he calls them over and lets them eat it first. He will give up his life for the hens. Also your hens will only lay well for up to 3 years and then you will need new hens and having a rooster and a healthy hens will make sure you get a few new hens each year. When a Hen goes broody and hatches the eggs herself you do not have to do anything she does all the work of taking care of them and teaching them how to be chickens. They are much smarter when raised by Mama.

I will keep you posted on your request of more info on the wood burning stove. We bought it used and are putting in new gaskets and such. Much more affordable buying one used. I bought a 1500 dollars stove with pipes for 100 because they simply wanted it out of the way. It is a nice one with all the accesories and extra parts. You can start by looking on craiglist as well.

Will post more on my blog as I have been taking a break. Had some health issues and getting back to normal again. Remember when living in the country to take good care of your back :)

oh yeah, Installing fence is much easier when using heavy duty metal T post. They are driven in with a special tool you buy for about 25 dollars. We can fence in an acre in a half day doing it this way. Not sure why they do not do it this way in Texas but it is stronger and last longer then wooden fence post.

Anonymous said...

I had come back to recommend the very book Barbara has everything in it.B.

Lana C. said...

B --- I didn't know that chickens could eat left-overs. Are you talking about cooked and non-cooked left-overs (besides potatoes and their peelings)? Is this kind of like a little bowl of pig slop kind of left-overs? I usually do have some food that I could take out to the chickens and anything to cut down on the cost of feed would be nice. And YES, I do need to get moved out to the country for my sanity. That is the truth. I'm am MORE than ready and Deputy Dave is knocking on the retirement door, so we're ALMOST there. It seems the closer it gets, the more anxious I become to get there. Those little roosters might have a home, we've got to go by and speak with them. I know they might be eaten and frankly, I have the chickens to learn how to live off the land and to better provide for ourselves, so I know I'll one day be eating the chickens we're raising. They aren't pets, so if we could do as you suggest and find an older person to help us "dress" them (and not in doll clothes-haha) then we might be able to have fresh fresh fresh chicken on our table. I'm sure we'd have to take the chickens to our acreage to do the "dressing" but that would be ok. Every day I learn something new.

Lana C. said...

Hey Linda, we're going to make sure we take care of the chickens, one way or another. It's just another step in our Farm Life Lessons, but we've got to keep going and make the best of our situation. Having roosters has given us a thrill, they're a lot of fun, but the city dictates so many rules and I guess we'll just have to figure it out. There's someone nearby who might take them to add to their flock. We'll see.

Lana C. said...

Barbara, you have been through exactly what we are going through. Right now, the gas prices are so dang high that it is stopping us from going to the acreage every weekend and I'm having withdrawals, seriously.

Your info about the practical side of roosters and their roles in the yard are fascinating to me. Hearing a person's personal experience with roosters and chickens is so thrilling. I am becoming one of those people who get to observe their behavior. We are definitely seeing the territorial, protective nature come out in the roosters.

My husband and I also talked about searcing for the woodstoves on Craigslist and the fencing with the metal T that you mentioned. I wonder if what you referred to is similar to a picture I posted on my fencing blog the other day? It has metal frame work with a more rustic appearance for the fence line.

I am determined to learn as much as I can before we make our final move to the land. But, I'm sure we'll learn much more once we're there full-time. I cannot wait!

Lana C. said...

P.S. As for those books, I am going to be dropping by Half Price Books, one of my favorite places to wander around and I'll keep a list in my purse for these books and hopefully be able to add them to my library for good reading.

Thank you for the suggestions so I can know which books are the best to buy!