The Collar of Shame

The collar of shame is a method of discipline I introduced to originally deal with wayward chicks and young chickens.  Normally it was used whenever a chick or young chicken escaped from the pen or brooder they were supposed to be in, exposing themselves to danger.  It is a plastic collar cut out from an old political sign.  I cut the hole just big enough not to go over the head, and then a slit is cut in side to facilitate putting it on the neck, then duct tape is used to keep it on.  Normally, a day of wearing this collar causes the wayward youth to value being with it’s siblings and mommie or guardian pullet or cock.  I have been having a bit of trouble lately with a few of my roosters not wanting to lead their hens and youths to bed at a decent time.  There is an enclosure attached to the chicken house that I normally close an hour before bed, so they can get a few last bites of food before bed and dark.   I usually feed them inside this enclosure to encourage going in.  I wait and watch, and usually within thirty or so minutes after spreading the feed, everyone is inside so I can close the outside gate.  If there are any out, normally I can walk around the outside the enclosure and drive them in.  Not so with a couple knot-headed roosters this week.  I don’t know if Benelli is not getting enough attention from us lately, or he’s feeling his age (3 years), but he has been running outside the enclosure at the last minute and leading me on a chase to get him in, sometimes taking several roosters and hens with him.  Not only is Benelli head rooster, but he is Momma’s favorite.  He’s a bit spoiled, and also gets to go on outings with us, along with Ducati, his main mate.  We put a harness on him and Ducati, and they get to go to the park, especially on parade days.  Everyone loves to see them and gives them lots of attention.  That kind of attention has been lacking lately because of our stresses over money and gainful employment.  Napoleon is a Benelli offspring, but not pure D’uccle.  Momma was a mutt chicken from a local seller.  He is very sweet, and has shown very good leadership abilities.  Napoleon was entrusted with the raising of a sibling and four chicks hatched from our own eggs in an incubator and is doing quite well.  He simply made a bad judgement call today,  choosing to run circles around the enclosure rather than allowing his brood to be driven through the door.  Another thing I did to humiliate these guys is clip one wing on each of them, something I normally only do to the hens.  All our hens get this treatment to prevent them from escaping from our back yard and hiding their eggs in the woods.  Perhaps this will work.    This spring has been a little stressful between us and the flock.  After two great purges of birds, we have built back up with alot of young pullets who don’t know where to lay.  They have been all over the place, getting into things they aren’t supposed-to, like the enclosure around the back porch, laying far up underneath the house where we cannot reach, getting into my bb trap, hiding eggs under logs, laying in the house, etc.  We discourage laying in the house because there isn’t anywhere in there that the eggs won’t get covered in poop, or stepped-on.  The door is closed during the day, but I have one or two that will lay at night or in the morning before being let out. (sigh)

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