Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Rooster Delima

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Backyard Chickens

So, you want backyard chickens, but you don’t know about the rooster bit. . . so, here’s the deal with roosters:

The pros of having a rooster:

Some of the pros for having a rooster in your flock are:

  • You need one if you want to get new chicks every year.

If you want a truly sustainable flock, you have to have at least one.  A good rule of thumb for the rooster to hen ratio is that for fertile eggs, you need at least one rooster for every 20 hens.  Most backyard flocks are small, since city regulations often limit the number to as little as 6 chickens.

  • Roosters will protect your flock from predators.

This may be true out in the country where your chickens have more room to roam, however in the city where your chickens are probably more confined to a small area in your yard, this isn’t so much the case, especially if they are in an enclosed coop at night.

  • Fertile eggs are more nutritious and Fertile eggs taste better than infertile eggs.

This is highly debatable, and I have yet to see any conclusive evidence that either of these claims are true.

  • Hens lay more eggs when there is a rooster around.

My dad always said that having roosters helped the hens lay more frequently, but I haven’t really noticed a difference without. My hens still lay nearly 1 egg per day in the laying season.

The cons of having a rooster:

  • They are aggressive

The degree of aggressiveness depends on the breed, so if you have small children, you would want to consider not having a rooster, or at least having a more docile breed of rooster, but even the more ‘docile’ breeds are more aggressive in the spring and summer because it is breeding season, and even ‘docile’ breeds like the Rhode Island Reds can be very aggressive. The rooster that inspired the  name of my blog was a Rhode Island Red.

For a list of chicken breeds and characteristics, click here to see Henderson’s Handy-Dandy Chicken Chart

  • They crow

supposedly larger breeds crow less often than the smaller bantam breeds, with a lower pitched crow, but they are also louder. This is a problem if your city has a noise ordinance. You could silence them by having their voice box cut, but to me, that is animal cruelty.

  • They eat as much as hens, but don’t lay eggs.

I think that it is ideal to have a rooster, but in the city where your neighbors are apt to complain about the noise, the best use for a rooster is mean rooster soup.

The Way to a Man’s Heart . . .

Show your man how much you love him for valentines with this heart shaped meat loaf and mashed potatoes:


2 – 3 Lbs of lean Hamburger
1 medium Onion, chopped
2 Eggs
1 c dry Whole wheat Bread Crumbs
1/2 c cooked Wild/Brown Rice
1 small can Tomato Sauce
1 can Tomato Paste
3 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt, Pepper, Garlic

Sauté onion in butter until translucent. Mix into raw hamburger with eggs, rice, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Mix well, and then stir in bread crumbs. Form meat mixture into the shape of a heart on a large foil covered cookie sheet top with tomato paste mixed with the remaining Worcestershire sauce. Bake for 45 min to an hour at 375° or until done in the Middle. Serve with steamed veggies of your choice and roasted garlic mashed potatoes below.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes:

Scrub and cube 4 or 5 large red potatoes. Do not peel. Put potatoes into a 2 quart saucepan and add several peeled cloves of garlic. Add 2 to 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until potatoes and garlic are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain water and add 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 tsp of sea salt, and 1/2 cup butter. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add a little milk or heavy cream if needed for consistency.  Fold in 1/2 cup of grated cheese (optional).

And to round it out, try these yummy garlic cheese biscuits: To your favorite drop biscuit recipe, mix in grated cheese and garlic powder. My kids can’t get enough of these 🙂

To Doctor or Not to Doctor? That is the Question

Does putting a stitch in your own child’s scalp make you a bad parent? The other day while my kids were roughhousing in the front room, Bee fell and split her head open on the sharp corner of the wall. I cleaned it up, and thought I might put a butterfly on it, but after I cut away a chunk of hair, it was still bleeding too much for anything to stick, not to mention that I would have had to shave her head in that spot, which I KNOW she would not have put up with . . . so I got out a needle and thread and put a stitch in it to hold it shut. And then, she happily ran into the bathroom to take a bath.

Mind you, she did kick and scream during the stitching process, but only after my 12-year-old shouted “What are you doing? Are you sewing up her head?!” After which the first stitch that I was just getting ready to tie off was yanked out because that is when she started the kicking. And the screaming. Good grief! So I had to start all over again.

The most screaming was done by the kids who were not actually being stitched up. My 15-year-old daughter yelled at me and then stomped off to her room and refused to speak to me until the next morning. I think her exact words were “If she needs stitches, why aren’t you taking her to the emergency room?! I’m never touching that needle again! (I used one of her beading needles, because they are really sharp)

Ok, her question may seem logical to most people, but in my defense, a trip to the emergency room would have meant trying to keep all that bleeding at bay in the van on the way to the doctor’s office. Then holding her still and keeping the bleeding at bay while waiting in the waiting room for an hour so that a doctor could then come and put a couple of stitches in her head. I had the tools, I had the know how, and best of all, I did it all in less than 5 minutes right in my own living room. Without the extended drama. I mean we had some drama, but it was really more of a mini matinee and not a 5 act play.

I know that scalps are not like the most sensitive part of the body. I remember in my old punk rock days seeing punks with mohawks bopping around with safety pins in their scalps in the mosh pit. Granted they were probably drunk when they put them there, but considering the fact that Bee didn’t even know her scalp was being pierced until my son shouted it out for the whole world to hear, I don’t think it hurt her much. Maybe next time I’ll use orajel first – I think I still have some left from the good ol’ teething days . . .