Getting the Chickens Under Control


First of all, you need to get tidy. You’re not pigs. You’re chickens.
Stop throwing the straw out of your nest, and start polishing your eggs a little bit. Let’s keep it clean. And would you start sitting on that nest already? I want babies.
Also, whoever is laying on the floor?
Cut it out.

And you. Mean rooster!
Stop looking at me and huffing at me and nipping at my legs.

And the rest of you hens? Those of you who AREN’T LAYING???? Let’s practice some visualization techniques.
Imagine you are in a beautiful garden filled with fruit and vegetables and cracked corn spilling from overturned buckets.

Now imagine you feel naked…..
…..and hot.

You feel very, very hot.
You feel burning, scalding, boiling hot.
Because that garden? It’s chicken heaven, where you’re gonna be when YOU ARE FRYING IN A SKILLET. NOW START LAYING EGGS ALREADY!!!

And that goes for you, too, Mean Rooster. I mean, not the laying eggs part. I’m not calling you a hen!!!
I’m just gonna leave now…..
While I’ve got stuff under control and everything…..


  1. Nancy Straka says:

    HAHA you are so talented with your animal stories!

  2. Kathie says:

    No matter how much straw I put in the nesting boxes, they take it our an lay on the bare wood. The straw on the floor is pushed to one corner. I guess they have their own chicken feng shui! And why did I make so many nesting boxes when they all lay in one?

  3. Kelli says:

    I have been following your blog for quite a while now, and posts like this one crack me up. We bought a house in the country last November, and while we only have three acres (surrounded by many, many acres), we are working on acquiring some livestock. A friend is giving us a dozen laying hens (who are already seasoned layers) and a rooster, and we have ducklings and poults brooding in our foyer. Hubby is busy working on a coop for all of the poultry. Then will come rabbits, and he wants a goat or two…

  4. Patty Norton says:

    I see union organizers arriving on the scene.
    I see chickens on strike….be careful. You may have a chicken revolt LOL

  5. Fencepost says:

    That’s right, girl, you tell ’em who’s boss. Don’t let them chickens push you around. tee hee
    Love those close-ups!

  6. Cyndi Lewis says:

    I absolutely love the chickens! :heart: I have decided that next spring I’m going for the raising of chickens. I want eggs. No rooster though. I’m still to close to suburbia for that and well, I just don’t want to deal with a meanie. :chicken:

    • epon4 says:

      I love my chickens! They are so much fun to watch. I’ll often just sit in the coop and watch them interacting. (I’ll have to move that past time outside as it starts getting warmer!)

      I esp. love my little banty hens. They crack me up! They are finally getting to experience catching worms. Oh goodness! You’d think they found buried treasure! (well, I guess in a sense, they have!) They run around squealing and playing keep away from the big birds. 😉

  7. Jodie says:

    I see some of those extra roosters becoming chicken dinners too. You can always make chicken soup.

  8. lisa says:

    I love your chickens, I am excited to see what my little chickies grow into!! What kind of Roo is that? He may be mean but he is handsome.

  9. Kathryn says:

    That’s the spirit! A little tough love can work wonders, and your speech will wake those chickens up! If you have the time, would you mind coming over here and having a chat with a woodpecker that is determined to eat up our house? TIA!

  10. Ang. says:

    I have some freeloaders, too! I have so many that I have no idea which ones are freeloading. As for you rooster, kick him across the barnyard when he comes after you. You won’t hurt him and he will think twice about bothering you. I have a monthly fight with one of mine and I always win. :chicken:

  11. CindyP says:

    Heeheehee! Are you having chicken for dinner? or have they got back on the straight and narrow?

  12. Dawn says:

    Those chickens! You almost make me want some–except for the poop and the feeding and the watering and the poop and the dug up flowerbeds and the poop on the porch!

  13. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    Uh, huh. We all know how well that attempt to control worked with Clover….I can just see you building little individual chicken ramps with tiny headlocks to keep them in place on their nests. Oh, and tying one little chicken foot up to the side so it won’t kick you. As I said, uh, huh!!! :chicken: :chicken: :chicken:

  14. Taryn says:

    We have 9 hens, and I average 4-8 eggs a day. Yesterday, we had 9! (This was after my version of the chicken stew pot lecture). Every girl has contributed. They all lay in the same spot, and occasionally, there is some bickering over who is going to sit in that spot and lay at what time. One brave Rhode Island will even stick her head under a laying hen to see if she is done. That is my Quantity Control Chicken. She drives the others nuts. I never thought I would love chickens.

  15. LauraP says:

    An old farmer told me years ago to drizzle castor oil over the chicken food for a couple of days to jumpstart laying. It’s particularly effective after a molt. I usually notice a significant uptick in egg production over the next couple weeks.

  16. Lucy says:

    I love chickens. And their roosters. So…regal with that little crown of theirs. If we had another life, I’d do everything I didn’t get to do in this one. 🙂

  17. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:

    All I know is that I hate roosters. Mean, mean, mean and ornery. You don’t need one in order for the hens to lay, do you? I can’t remember.

    – Suzanne

  18. Barbee' says:

    What a gorgeous rooster!

  19. Mental P Mama says:

    Looks like they’re about to join a union;) Watch out!

  20. Maria says:

    My eleven year old and I were laughing very hard at this one. We also like the BEEYOUTEEFUL photos of Mr. Rooster. Gorgeous. But don’t tell him that. He’ll be crowing and thinking he’s all cool.

  21. Amy says:

    You tell ’em, Suzanne!

  22. Suzy says:

    Just loved this post…you’re crackin’ me up!
    Write a book about about all these farm animal antics!

  23. nursemary says:

    Suzanne, if the tough love doesn’t work out, that chicken recipe Georgia posted today sounds GOOD! Maybe showing up in the henhouse with a can of soup and some cream cheese just might let them know who’s boos.

  24. catslady says:

    I must really be warped – I thought you were going to give us a romance scene with the rooster and his chickens :help:

  25. Robin G. says:

    What if you confine the hens closer to the next? Would that make them more likely to sit?

  26. IowaCowgirl says:

    I love Taryn’s QC bird. ha!

    And Suzanne, the last photo is calendar-worthy, don’t you agree??

  27. feathrencox says:

    Your rooster looks just like my “George” and he’s the nicest rooster I’ve ever encountered! He walks beside me and lets me pet him and my 6 year old daughter just walks over to him and picks him up. He’s huge and gorgeous. I have a blown up picture of him in my kitchen! Maybe your hens just aren’t ready to start setting yet. You can tell when they are getting broody because they are fluffed up ALL the time, even when walking around the yard. My Gypsy did this days before she started setting and has done it every time she wants to go broody. I think she is telling me what’s going on and preparing me. :heart:

  28. Susan says:

    Good luck training them! :wave: :chicken:

  29. Kate says:

    Those eggs are beautiful!

  30. Steph says:

    My silkie hen just hatched out two baby chicks. I’ve got pics on my blog if anyone would like to see. Out of all my chickens, the only two who have ever tried to set are my two silkie hens. Which is why I got them in the first place. Plus they are very cool to look at. Also, to keep my chickens laying through the winter, I keep a light in the chicken house until about ten at night. Although I have heard of a suggestion of putting cayenne pepper in their water to keep them warm and laying, but I haven’t tried this. Oh, and I love all your pictures. They are so great, they almost tell a story by themselves.

  31. monica says:

    I want to have a Barred Rock and name him Barrack. I voted for him, but I don’t know if he would appreciate having a mean old stubborn rooster with his namesake.

    Is the comb blackened from injury or frostbite? When I was little, we had bunch that it affected the way they walked and they forgot how to eat. They died soon after, but They just weren’t right after getting their comb frostbit so bad.

  32. Shelley says:

    😆 You may want to read the rooster post at American Way Farm’s blog and how she handled her meanie Rooster. She has an obituary dedicated to Androscoggin. Well worth reading and a laugh out loud! Here’s the link:

  33. Julia says:

    You said:
    I’m so eager to have new chicken babies. As soon as I have enough chickens, I can start free-ranging.

    How many chickens do you need to free-range, and why?

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      The reason I need more before I free-range is because free-ranging (while better for the chickens’ quality of life overall) carries inherent risks. I only have 7 hens right now, so I can’t afford to risk losing any. I won’t free-range until I know I can free-range and still not lose my whole flock in an unfortunate incident.

  34. Jeanne says:

    I think chickens like classical music. Play a little Mozart or Bach for them and I think you will get a lot more eggs.

  35. M says:

    :sheepjump: Very, very cool pictures! That’s one handsome rooster!

  36. kritter keeper says:

    they are all so beautiful…you are so lucky. tomorrow i plan for the good husband to see this entry…might help!

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