Euskal Oiloa Chicken Forum

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#1 2015-09-18 12:56:48

poplar girl
Administrator
From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Ontario Basque Breeders

I want to share a story about my Basques that will pass some cudoos along to the Ontrario folks.

I am just a few days away from the fall processing of my chickens and turkeys. This time of year the days get shorter very quickly, we go from 18 hours of daylight at summer solstice down to 12 with the fall equinox. In the middle of summer I don't lock up my birds each night, it's pretty much impossible. Once the days start to get shorter and cooler I find the preditors start to come out and try to store up for winter. Last year I lost around 10 chickens and 6 turkeys the last few weeks of fall. This year on top of everything we lost our livestock guardian dogs I need to be extra careful. Our trail camera shows a fox is checking around and last week I trapped a skunk and each night I can hear the coyotes howling :shock:

The past 3 weeks or so I have been diligently trying to lock up the animals each night. 2 pens of goats, 1 of turkeys and 5 seperate groups of chickens.  The turkeys must be herded in (with a long curved stick) well before dark or they are roosted on rooftops and in trees. The goats are flexible on timing. The chickens (all Basques of varying ages and genders) in general I must wait for dark to close in. Each of the five groups are different. The laying hens and the new oldest pullets pens are each relatively easy to lock up. Just after dark they do what they should and all go inside. One pen of mixed cockerels and pullets is a nightmare, two cockerels insist on sleeping on the building roof and the rest fight and squawk like crazy until finally going inside to sleep. If I open the gate during this phase they try to run out, I have built a bale twine leg snare to catch escapees!  The oldest group of cockerels there is no hope, they will not go inside and some are big mean boys so they are on their own.

And then there is my pen of Ontario Basques. These are the youngest of the bunch, a mix of pullets and cockerels, and I find sometimes young chickens like to stay up late and mixed gender groups tend to fight more. Not so this group. A good 30 minutes prior to dark with no squawking or fusing they all go in and roost for the night. And that's it, no drama no fuse!

So whatever you Ontario folks do to "train" your Basques, :thumbs: and :thanks:!


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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2015-09-18 12:56:48

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#2 2015-09-18 21:45:37

Flat Rock Farm
Member
From: Branchton, Ontario Canada
Registered: 2011-07-03
Posts: 3359

Re: Ontario Basque Breeders

What a great story! :thumbsup:

Well I must say I have no trouble with my Basques going to bed.  As soon as it's dusk, they all go up the ramp and into their pen.  No muss no fuss.  If I am wanting to put them in earlier all I have to is go into the barn and call them (with treats of course) and they all come running.  I have had other breeds that I have had to chase around to get them to go in.  With crappy knees I can't be chasing chickens around anymore, LOL.

Have you found another guardian dog yet??  We had a raccoon get into the yard the other night, a BIG one.  Even with the gates closed and withing the fenced perimeter.   I think he was looking for a free chicken dinner, dog went ballistic and he took off.

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#3 2015-09-19 01:43:47

poplar girl
Administrator
From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Re: Ontario Basque Breeders

We now have two maremma puppies. Malbec and The Tramp. They are too young to help much but as long as they don't eat any chickens I'm okay with waiting until they grow up a bit more.


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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#4 2015-09-19 17:04:36

Flat Rock Farm
Member
From: Branchton, Ontario Canada
Registered: 2011-07-03
Posts: 3359

Re: Ontario Basque Breeders

Glad you have some predator protection for next year.  They will grow and learn fast :thumbs:

My dog would kill the chickens in a heart beat, but they have an enclosed outside area to go out and the dog can't get in.

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