Archive Page 2

01
Oct
09

September Photo Contest

3rd place goes to Doc and his blue/red Asil .

2nd place goes to Stigy and his grey hen.

1st place goes to Cubakid for this wonderful pic of his Cubalaya flock!

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks for all the great pics that were submitted this month. If you want to enter your birds in our free monthly photo contest, just go to the Ultimate Fowl Forum, and sign up!

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01
Sep
09

August Contest Results

First off, this was one of the best months so far with quality birds.  Trust me when I say there were quite a few that easily could have placed, both of us were pulling our hair out to make our picks, but we had to narrow it down, so here it goes!

Third place goes to GomerParry.

Second place goes to Shamolady.

And first place goes to Mice75.

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks for all the great pics that were submitted this month. If you want to enter your birds in our free monthly photo contest, just go to the Ultimate Fowl Forum, and sign up!

19
Aug
09

The American Game Fowl

By: Daniel Thornton & Randy Stevens

Kelso Cock

Breed Statistics:

Purpose: Ornamental, Cockfighting (where legal)

Comb: Pea,  Straight, Triple, and combinations of each

Broodiness: Frequent

Climate Tolerance: All Climates

Breed Temperament: Aggressive towards other birds, but easily handled by people. Bears confinement well, and very vocal

Breed colors/varieties: Almost any color imaginable

Leg Color: White, Yellow, Green, Blue, Black

General Egg Info:

Productivity: Average

Size: Medium

Color: White or Cream

Kelso Hen

History:

American games were created by the various European, and Oriental games that were brought into our country by our forefathers. They bred them specifically for cockfighting, leaving us the birds we have today. Cockfighting is a large part of our heritage, like it is in many other countries around the world, but due to recent law changes, these beautiful birds are becoming more popular as an ornamental, or show fowl. There are organizations, like the American Gamefowl Society, that have standards for showing these birds, just as the APA does, and many people are starting to breed these birds for this, instead of the pit, but in the same time keeping the gameness that makes them what they are. The American gamefowl is broken down into strains, unlike most other fowl. Some of the more popular strains are Hatch, Kelso, Albany, Sweater, Whitehackle, Claret, Roundhead, and Butcher. Strain names originated from people that performed well in the pits, with the birds they made themselves through selective breeding. Strains are also broken down further by other breeders who did well with a particular strain, which in turn had a version of that strain named after them. A good example of this would be the Kelso fowl. The original Kelso was named after Walter Kelso, but one of the most well known breeders that did well with them was Johnny Jumper. This is where the Jumper line of Kelso originated. Most strains have several well-known bloodlines that other breeders have made famous. I know it sounds confusing, but these are all considered American games, but they have been broken down further based on their performance in the pits. Now days, most of the originators of these lines are long gone, but they are still called by these names, and an experienced gamefowl enthusiast knows that if they have a certain strain, it will have the correct look, and performance attributes of the original line it was named after. A few more examples of this are: Marsh Butchers, named after Phil Marsh; Sweaters, named after Herman “Sweater” McGinnis, who got his nickname from one day in 1926, the temperature dropped considerably, and Herman McGinnis was seen wearing a red knit sweater with buttons down the front. The bottom went to his knees like a dress, and the sleeves were rolled up to elbows and were bunched up as big as a football. About all you could see was a face, two hands, and two feet sticking out of a red sweater. Immediately people around him would say, ” Come here, Sweater” and the name just stuck; Lacy Roundheads, named after Judge Ernest Lacy. There are also other strains that their names came from certain circumstances, or a particular color. Some examples of these would be: Nigger Roundheads due to their dark feathering; Whitehackles got their name from being a red hackled fowl that if you lifted the hackle feathers, they were white underneath; Bumblefoot Grey fowl got their name from their color, and how these birds were raised in a very rocky area, and showed up at the pits with damaged feet from this on a regular basis. As you can see, there are many different strains of American games, and I only touched on a very small percentage of the most well known ones, but this should give you more of an understanding on how the different strains were created.


Game hen with chicks

Breed Comments/Experience:

American gamefowl are some of the hardiest birds that you will ever come across, and in my opinion, by far the most beautiful. They are known most for being excellent flyers, very good foragers, and you can’t beat them for broodiness. All of these traits make them an excellent choice for free ranging, until the stags come of age, then they will need to be separated, as they will fight to the death defending their territory. This is something that is part of their nature, being “game”, and nothing you do to them will change this unless you start mixing non-game breeds into them, and even then it doesn’t mean you will not still have this issue to deal with. This is why you see many people keep mature cocks on tethers attached to barrels, as it is a great way to keep them separated, and at the same time, allow them to move around enough to keep them happy and healthy. It is also common practice to dub cocks tight to the head, and remove the ear lobes and wattles as well. This practice was originally done for the pit, but now it is done for purely aesthetic reasons. Hen’s lay mid-spring to late summer, but some will continue until early fall. As a rule, games are normally easily handled birds, and are a joy to own. I highly recommend at least a pair of these birds in every yard.

Young stag and pullet

02
Aug
09

July Contest Winners

In the heat of the summer, this contest was a little slow, but here are this months winners!

In 3rd place, we have Ja8dedfyre with her barred rock

In 2nd place we have Mice75 and her minohiki

And in 1st place, we have cutrite with his spangled butcher

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks for all the great pics that were submitted this month. If you want to enter your birds in our free monthly photo contest, just go to the Ultimate Fowl Forum, and sign up!

01
Jul
09

June Contest Results

Third place goes to Ferdi

2nd place goes to Roundheadman

First place goes to Decoyman

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks for all the great pics that were submitted this month. If you want to enter your birds in our free monthly photo contest, just go to the Ultimate Fowl Forum, and sign up!

16
Jun
09

Trimming Chickens Spurs & Toenails

Trimming spurs on roosters is primarily done for several reasons. Most people trim them to help protect their hen’s back from getting punctured from being topped, but they also need trimmed to avoid injuries from roosters sparring, and in extreme cases, to allow them to walk easier. There are basically two methods for doing this, cutting the spur with a saw, or twisting the spur off with pliers. The method I prefer is to cut the spurs off because when you are done, you will have short, blunt spurs that will be as safe to your other chickens as possible. If you decide to twist off the spurs, you will have short spurs, but they will still be sharp, and can still do damage.

Cutting off spurs is very simple, and does not hurt your chickens at all. Spurs have an inner core, which is the live part, and an outer husk, which is the hard horn type material. When you trim the spur, you are cutting the outer husk. The trick is to not cut into the inner core, which can bleed. The first thing you will need to do is to immobilize your bird. What I have found works well for this is to take an old towel, fold it in half, lay the bird down on it, hold the wings tight to the body, and leaving only the head and legs sticking out, roll the bird in the towel nice and snug. By doing this, it will allow you to work on his spurs much easier, and even do it by yourself! After securing the bird, you will need to decide where you need to cut the spur off. As a rule of thumb, I have found that the length of the inner core is approximately three times the size of the diameter of the spur itself, which on most standard sized, mature roosters will be about 5/8 of an inch away from the leg. Next, grab the spur at the base, while supporting the leg at the same time. Doing this is very important as the saw can grab while cutting, and you don’t want to excessively torque the spur which can actually break the connection of it to the leg bone. Next, use a small, fine toothed hacksaw to cut the spur off. I find it works best to use short, light strokes with the saw. Some people prefer to use a rotary tool to do this, if you do, just make sure that you don’t inadvertently hit the leg, or your fingers for that matter, because it will cut anything it touches very quickly. If done properly, you will see no bleeding at all. If you do trim them a little short, and get into the inner core, you may get some bleeding. This is nothing to be concerned about, as it won’t bleed excessively, and will soon stop on it’s own.

Notice how the bird is immobilized in the towel with only his head and feet hanging out. This will allow you to work on your bird without assistance.

Spur before trimming.

While gripping the spur firmly, begin to make your cut. Notice how I hold both the leg, and the spur at the same time.

This is what you should end up with after being cut, and as you can see, the spur is very blunt. This is the best option to help keep your hens from getting damaged from being topped.

Twisting off the spur is a little more difficult in my opinion. You may have had people tell you to use a potato, or some other method, but you don’t need anything special to twist them off. What you are doing by twisting off the spurs, is removing the outer husk from the inner core completely. To do this, follow the method above to immobilize the bird, then hold the bird by the leg where the spur is attached. Take a pair of ordinary pliers and grip the spur approximately where the inner core ends, and rock the spur gently side to side to help break it loose. Once you feel the spur start to loosen, use the pliers in a twisting motion to pop off the outer husk. What you will end up with is the soft inner core of the spur. You will see some blood, but it is typically minimal. After a few days, the spur will harden up, and you will have a stag sized spur again.

Spurs that have grown long after being trimmed before.

Hold the leg firmly as you begin to remove the outer casing, notice the placement of the pliers, if you get them too close to the leg, you will have trouble twisting them off.

Both spurs have been removed, you can see them laying on the floor next to the legs.

Trimming toenails is another thing you can do to help protect your hen’s backsides. It also will need done to fowl that are raised on wire, because they don’t wear down the toenails naturally as they would if they were raised on the ground. It’s really easy to do with no bleeding, as long as you do it right. To start, you will need to immobilize the bird in the same fashion I already described, and a pair of dog toenail clippers. Some breeds have dark nails, and some have lighter ones. The lighter ones are much easier to do since you can see the vein in the nail. The vein is like the quick in a dog, if you hit the vein while trimming, it will cause some bleeding. On the chickens with light colored nails, it is easy to see where the vein is, so just cut enough that you don’t hit it. On the dark nails, I find it best to hold them up in the light to trim. It can be tricky with really dark ones to see, but by holding them against a light source, it will help you see where you need to cut. It is best to leave them longer if you are not sure where to cut, than to cut too close. If you do cut too far back, and get some bleeding, it will stop by applying pressure. Even if you still see some bleeding after that, don’t worry too much as it will quit on its own.

Toenails in need of trimming.

Find your placement for the cut by watching where the vein ends in the nail.

After the nails have been trimmed.

Some additional notes: Trimming both the spurs, and toenails will definitely help keep your hens from getting damage from them when being topped, but something that is just as important is your hen to rooster ratio. Too many roosters can literally kill your hens from being topped too much, even after being trimmed. Some breeds of chickens are worse than others for this, but as a rule of thumb, one rooster can top several hens without a problem. Also, you can run into problems with abnormally submissive hens. Hens like this will drop to be bred just by the sight of a rooster getting close. When this situation happens, the hen will be over bred, and can easily be damaged from this. There isn’t much you can do about this situation except to keep roosters away from them, put a chicken saddle on her, or what I do, cull her out. This is not a desirable trait, so I prefer to not breed off them. Something else you may run across, are hens that are spurred. I prefer to leave the spurs on the hens, as they won’t hurt anything to let them keep them, and having spurs will help them defend their chicks, especially if they are free ranging. Another thing to consider if you are free ranging is to not trim the spurs on your rooster for the same reasons. A good rooster will help protect your flock, and chicks as well, and having spurs will help him do this. Now saying this, if you let them get too long, they will start curling to the point it won’t help, and will actually hinder him walking properly. This is where twisting off the spur is the better choice, because by doing this, the spur will harden back up to a weapon for the rooster to use for defending with. Either way, you will have to make your own decisions when deciding whether or not to trim your birds, but hopefully this information will help you make that decision. If you want to learn more about this, or any other issues with the caring of your fowl, check out our forum for this at www.ultimatefowl.com.

01
Jun
09

May Photo Contest Results

3rd Place goes to Hawk7 and his Buckeye

2nd Place goes to redbeard on his Brazilian

First place goes to Ferdi for his Roundhead

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks for all the great pics that were submitted this month. If you want to enter your birds in our free monthly photo contest, just go to the Ultimate Fowl Forum, and sign up!




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