Can a vet remove a rooster's crowing?

kumquat1July 14, 2007

I know from butchering animals that the thing that makes the noise is in the neck. I have 5 hens in a close neighborhood, and everyone enjoys my free range hens very much, I have had 2 of the girls setting on infertile nests of eggs for 3 weeks! I would like to pay a vet to remove the crowing mechanism from a roo and let me have fertile eggs. Do any of you know if this is feasible?

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pricem11(z7 NC)

Oh for God's sake.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 12:02AM
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No, it's not feasible and it's actually cruel. The rooster would probably die in the surgery anyway. Years ago when I worked for a veterinarian, there were a couple of dogs which were debarked. It was one of the most painful recoveries that I have ever come across, and the dogs still gave off a hoarse type of bark even though their vocal cords were severed. I cannot imagine fragile poultry even surviving anything of the sort. Why would you want to even consider putting an animal through this for the sake of getting fertile eggs? That seems quite lame and selfish.

"While this sounds like a great idea, it is not a simple procedure. Dr. Bernard Wentworth, emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin, agrees. He tried some of these surgeries many years ago. The muscles that allow the syrinx to contract need to be cut. The syrinx is located at the very bottom of the trachea, where it splits and enters the lungs, so it is not easy to get to these muscles. "It's a difficult and risky surgical procedure, since you're close to some very important blood vessels," Wentworth says. Unfortunately, I don't know of any good ways to keep a rooster from crowing at this time. If you're in an area that doesn't allow them, you probably will have to stick with hens."

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 2:00AM
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cheribelle(Z5 IA)

Break up those broody's nests and let them get on with things. Setting on infertile eggs is a waste of time and eggs.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 2:58AM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

If you want to raise your own chicks, buy fertile eggs from one of the hatcheries, or from a nearby person with a rooster. Removing a rooster's crow verges on cruelty, IMO.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 8:35AM
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Yeah, don't do that. Go to the farm store and either buy fertile eggs, or see if they'll "lend" you some for your broody ladies to hatch. They may want you to return the chicks to the store, or maybe not. Once you've figured out which ones are roosters, you should take them back to the farm store.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 10:32AM
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I feel chastened!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 11:16AM
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I'll keep my comments brief on this matter.

You probably aren't suitable for keeping animals.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 11:46AM
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Please people --- she simply asked a question. People remove dogs ears and tails, cats claws and there is also circumcision of unknowing little human infants. All of this is inhumane and cruel and totally unnecessary as far as I am concerned. But ----- maybe she just isn't knowledgeable about such things and just wanted information.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 1:43PM
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Give me a break. It's a reasonable question for someone who lives in the city. There's not a practical solution to crowing roosters, but it's still a reasonable question.

The sanctimonious know-it-alls who responded clearly have learned a lot from watching chickens peck each other to death.

There are about 180 million chickens each year that suffer through a botched death in slaughterhouses. They are scalded and plucked while still living. They die an excruciatingly painful death. If you want to be righteously indignant, do something about that problem instead of beating the crap out of someone for asking a legitimate question.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 4:32PM
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Another question though ------ hens laying eggs make as much noise as a rooster. In fact the noise lasts much longer. What do the neighbors think about that?

BTW, the noises roosters and hens make are not any more annoying than a fenced-in dog barking constantly!!! We lived in a suburb of Chicago and were surrounded by barking dogs. (We had a dog and the first thing we taught her was not to bark unless there was danger.) We moved to the farm and it is so peaceful now just hearing the chickens.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 5:21PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

you ask a very reasonable question, as you have heard it's really not a great idea and a risky surgery. Can I ask you what you would do with all the cockerels that you hatch?

I too live in a suburban neighborhood, last year I hatched loads of chicks with about 75% boys! (I have come to accept this is my luck!). We built a meat bird pen and in due time processed them for the freezer. While waiting for them to grow to full size they all learned how to crow, I got one neighbor's complaint...just something to think about.

Take care and good luck with your chickens!

-Sheila :)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 6:09PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Kumquat, I am very sorry that some of the more foolish people here are flaming you. If they would lurk more and learn, they would know that we don't do that here. It's unnecessary and juvenile.

To answer your question, a vet can perform the surgery, some people have had a similar operation done for dogs that bark too much. The animals can still make noise, but the volume is reduced and has a scratchy quality. But it is risky and stressful to the bird since they have to use a general anesthetic, and doesn't work effectively and safely enough to bother with.

I can empathize with your feelings for your broodies setting on infertile eggs, poor girls! You might try to ask around in your local rural areas for someone who would sell you some fertile eggs. Try putting out feelers at the feed store. You can also buy fertile eggs on

And carmen, you make a point that I have found to be absolutely true--I think that hens DO make more noise than roos with their 'egg' cackling--the big difference is that roos start crowing at around 4:30AM and hens make their noise during the daylight hours, so people are more forgiving. :)

The only stupid question is the one that goes unasked. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 9:23PM
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Give him to me, I want a rooster one that crows,love hearing that early morning.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 8:07AM
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marbles_n_the_garden(DownEast Maine, Zone 5)

I find this forum useful for those odd questions that do not have 17 pages of answers on Google. I do not believe kumquat1 could have found de-crowing a rooster in any of the books because it isn't really done. I see this forum as a fine place for questions such as this. I had a chicken off eggs briefly, and I asked in a post about it. I have worked for 2 vets (never saw a chicken patient there), worked on farms, have had chickens 3 separate times in my life, read many books, and searched the internet, and I still had a question I couldn't find the answer to. So, I asked, and have had several supportive and informative responses. This is the place for kumquat1's question, IMO.

When I first read the post, I thought you (kumquat1) wanted to keep boys too--only without the crow. Likely if there is a hatch, there will be boys, and some folks cannot part with them. I have seen caponizing in books, but this is generally done to fatten males up for the freezer, right? I do not think the boys fully develop--I AM NOT SURE HERE, but maybe there would be no crow. This is just a wild brainstorm, to be taken as an idea for quiet boys, not as factual information. Of course, they wouldn't be breeders then.

I have 6 boys that I kept from last year's hatching. Some of them have better personalities than the hens. My neighbors do not mind the crowing (they have chickens too), so I am lucky. Hens can be noisy, we have one that sounds like Jack-the Ripper is in there killing her. She sounds off for 2 hours before an egg, and half an hour after. Most of the other hens hop out of the nest and just want to get back to eating. I find, that the roosters brag more about "their" hen's egg than many of the hens do.

Maybe someone has an extra rooster they can loan to you for "stud"--do they call it that with chickens? I would advise knowing what you are going to do with the extra roosters you will get BEFORE you set your hens. That way you are not stuck with several crowers.

Have you asked your neighbors if they mind? People are often obliging when they are respected by being asked first. I wanted to get Guinea fowl (we have deer tick that spread Lyme disease here, and they eat them), and I learned they can be LOUD. I asked my neighbors, and they were all fine with it. I now have 5 babies on the way to "Tick Warrior" super-hero status! My 10 y.o. daughter and I both had Lyme last year.

Hens do not suffer without the presence of a rooster.
Thanks for your question.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 11:18AM
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kumquat1, I agree you need to break those broodies. Remove the eggs. Some will continue to sit, making themselves sick in the process.

Several options...if you want to keep your present hens, get a rooster than is not quite so "manley" (rolling my eyes here!) Or...get hens that don't usually go broody. I like the idea of stud service...

Sorry you got flamed for asking an innocent question that we've all wondered about at one time or another.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 2:45AM
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When I lived in the city and couldn't have a rooster I took the eggs and put Legs Pantyhose eggs under my broodie hen. After 10 days(chickens can't count) before light I put three chicks(they were sexed chicks so all were female) under her. She was a black banti and she looked so cute with her big red chicks. The funny part of this story is my hen Crowed but was legal because she was a hen. She really crowed when she found her

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 5:26PM
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2 of our hens go absolutely bonkers each time they lay an egg. They stop as soon as they see us come out to get it. They're so funny!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 10:17AM
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kumquat1, you asked a question that I have heard people ask here in Australia. I think the question is perfectly reasonable and I'm sure you asked it out of consideration for you neighbours.
We have 2 girls (had 3 but one just died R.I.P)and they have just hatched a clutch of eggs each. We don't have a rooster but purchased the eggs from breeders in our area.
Please, don't allow a broody to sit on unfertile eggs. They seem to go into a trance and just sit until ......??
they hardly eat or drink and lose so much condition for no reward.
Fertile eggs are readily available and you can probably buy different breeds too if that appealed to you.
Anyway ... thanks for posting the question because I've learned something new.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 3:31AM
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fleethart(z6 WNY)

FYI see this link regarding crowing roosters. At the end it describes the benefits of a capon, including reduced crowing.
Detailed instructions for the DIY type.

Here is a link that might be useful: Caponizing Cockerels

    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 2:21PM
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Perfectly fair question.

In Italy, a farmer was recently fined because of a crowing rooster.

But it's also perfectly stupid and a fine example of why there are certain people who just should not be living in the country (or what passes for country where ever you are).

Roosters crow. People are jerks. Dogs chase cats. Babies cry and make poo and ogre babies...sorry, got carried away. The point is there are certain things that just are. Not a real popular premise is the twenty-first century world.

If a crowing rooster bothers you, for whatever reason, get rid of it. Or put a Bret Farve jersey on it and throw it in a Minnesota Vikings practice session...

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 8:30AM
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criticisms, too. I know you mean well. I love crowing roosters, and eat them for meat before they reach the adult (crowing) stage. Trouble is, we live in a formerly rural "suburb". Neighbors love seeing our hens, and remembering the good old days. My hens forage out all day de-bugging the place. I receive many compliments and lose many hens to neighborhood dogs. I learned something very important from your comments also! I know hens set on the nest for 21 days waiting for hatch. I take the eggs from under them, but they go into a trance and keep on setting anyway. Good idea about putting the babies under them, or getting some fertile eggs from some place. A couple of neighbors have said they would love to hear a rooster crow, but the nearest neighbor looked horrified when I said I was going to let one rooster live to adulthood to see if the crowing was too loud. Funny thing, they get up at 4am anyway. This is a banty wild game rooster that I am trying to allow to mature. Is there a variety of jungle rooster that is very small and can't crow very loud? Could a miniature Seebright roster impregnate big Buff Orpington hens?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 12:37AM
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terryboc(z5 NH)

I suspect that crowing volume is a very bird specific habit. I have 3 silkie roos (still :) The top roo is loud and has the crow down pat. The other 2 are much quieter and their crows sound more garbled, like they are crowing with their mouths full. I've read that "usually" biger birds crow louder.
My silkies are not very irritating overall. They don't crow until I open the coop up, but they crow at odd times during the day-more so after I've been out with them. I almost can't hear them inside my house and since I have received no complaints from neighbors, I suspect they can't really hear them either. The neighborhood dogs, on the other hand, hear them well. One day I heard a crow, then a bark, then a crow then a bark. This went on for quite some time. I'm surprised there were not complaints that day!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 8:05PM
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why don't you just research the quieter breed of roo's, I agree the couple of roo's i have had aren't really any louder then the hens.

I too am in a suburb. we didn't want roo's at first but got a few by mistake. the first time that roo crowed my husband fell absolutely in love with him. LOL We eventually had to get rid of him becuase we didn't have enough hens to satisfy thier rooserly lust. but the crowing didn't bother anyone. No one complained anyway.

right now I am looking for an amercicana roo in hopes of chicks. Maybe around easter i will have more luck.

see you soon

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 1:37PM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Aloha Kumquat,

I tried to get a roo de-crowed and there was only one vet on the island who would even try it and only because it was a choice between de-crow the roo or eat it. The surgery would have run around $400 and she figured there would be about a 40% chance the roo wouldn't make it through the surgery so we ate him instead.

It was a red shouldered Yokohama rooster which is a fairly rare breed so I wanted to keep it, but it just wouldn't shut up. It crowed about every ten minutes all day and all night. I didn't like the crowing and my neighbors really didn't like it.

We hatch out eggs (fertile eggs we get from other folks and set under our broody hens) so they hatch out about half roosters and chicken soup is guaranteed to cure crowing. No need to get the neighbors upset with crowing roosters, especially when they are tasty. If any of these roos would crow quietly or less often, then we would keep them around. At one time I did have a Rhode Island Red who didn't quite know how to crow real well. He would kinda go "ahrookah" instead of the "ahrookah-rookah-ROO" like the rest of them. We kept him for a long time but his peculiar style of crowing didn't seem to be genetic.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 4:52PM
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My mom used to tell me,"There is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers."
With that said, I have heard that they tried to come up with a solution and it appears that have not yet, besides, not to mention it is probably cruel, it would cost a fortune.

True short story: A friend of mine hated the loud sound his roo makes at all hours so he got rid of it. A week later he started to get phone calls inquiring about his roos and when he told them he got rid of it they all got upset, they actually loved the sound, it didn't bother them at all, go figure.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 1:11PM
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On the subject of unusual crowing habits, one of my young banties climbs up into the highest tree he can find, just on dawn, puffs himself up, opens his mouth wide and yells 'WOOOOHOOOROOO'. It is probably the most hilarious crow I've ever heard. He doesn't seem to be growing out of it either.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 4:50AM
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I am new here, and have a small flock which I plan to continue to build upon.

We have 7 chickens, 5 girls and 2 boys. We started out with 10, but our farm cats got 2 when they were small and one later one when she foolishly flew out of a fenced in area and couldn't get back in. Anyway, our roosters begin crowing early in the AM and crow whenever they feel like it, even late into the even, in winter, after it is well past dark. These are our first chickens and I always thought they would only crow in the AM, but it's not a big deal for us. I have had a lot of enjoyment watching them develop. My wife likes the girls, but she and the roos don't get along very well. She won't go feed them if I don't have time before going to work because the roosters tend to attack her. (We are going to seperate them in the sprin.) Our biggest rooster only attacked me once, and we came to an understanding.

I had never thought of de-crowing a rooster, but I can see how crowing could be an issue in a close residential area. Lucky for us we moved to a rural area where our nearest neighbor on all sides is .5 miles away.

We have started selling eggs, and have wondered about getting the girls to hatch chicks in the spring, but decided it is just not a hassel we want to deal with at this point. I want about 25 more laying hens, and with the chance of getting a high percentage of roosters, it wouldn't really be worth my time if I dont' get enough hens.

I hope to learn a lot from these forums, and may contribute something too.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 1:48PM
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I'm assuming from your question you don't live out in the middle of nowhere like I do. So I'd suggest that you do a little research and find out if there is a ordinance against roosters where you live. Some towns have those. Then ask your neighbors if they would mind having the rooster around. My roosters crow all hours of the day and night. If they would mind then I'd go with the fertilized eggs. Feed store or online hatcheries are good. I sell mine at the local consignment auctions so try a couple of those too. Only you don't always know what you're getting.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 8:53PM
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I have heard that if you put some oil(any cooking not car engine oil :) ) on the roosters crown, it stops him crowing. Not sure if it works, never tried myself.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 5:57PM
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I have an accidental roo that came from a sexed batch at my local feed store. I am asking around to see if I can find anyone who can take him, as my suburban area does indeed have an ordinance prohibiting roosters. I have joked with my roommates and friends that we can always eat him, but it would break my heart. I have only had pet animals for my entire life. It would be like killing a friend. How does one emotionally disconnect from raising a chick, naming it, coddling it, and then...I wouldn't even know where to start, but that may be the only resort. Question: Do you think it would be preferable to humanely murder and eat my own cockerel than to return it to the feed store where they will probably give it to some stranger who will do the same? Is it better for the poor boy to be killed by his "mom" than by a stranger? I am clearly not cut out for farm life...just backyard hens. And yet here I am, with a prepubescent cockerel. Help!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 1:20AM
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My Grampa told me that he once had a rooster crow for a week after his head was cut off.

Not sure if it's true or not. You might try it.

Seriously though - it's a common and legitimate question from urban keepers of chickens.

Since moving from the farm, I've missed my chickens a lot. I'd like to keep a good looking rooster for old times sake and not be limited to the more plain hens. If you like chickens there's nothing more beautiful than a colorful rooster strutting his stuff. But I can't keep one because of the crowing.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 6:28PM
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"Mike the Headless Chicken" lived for 18 months and could not crow.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 5:33PM
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Why am I posting? The original question was years ago.
Gotta tell you though, the same thought has gone through my head. I have a Serama Rooster and a couple Serama hens. This guy is awesome, can't even imagine him not being in my life.
I let my neighbors know about him ... and would they please feel free to tell me if he is bothersome. So far, so good. On weekend nights I bring the little critter indoors so the neighbors can have a sleep in. Although next door, my friend tells me he doesn't wake them up, but they do hear if they are already awake. Someone mentioned jungle roosters vs. standard sized roosters. It doesn't matter as far as I've observed the volume is just as loud and with the smaller breed more high pitched, which can be super annoying.
So, I am working on an idea to sound proof his roosting area at night and/or bringing him indoors.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 5:07PM
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The question is very valid in light of many cities now have new laws allowing the raising of hens for eggs, but those eggs are less tasty and nutritious than fertilized eggs. I do not see the harm in having one quiet rooster live a nice long spoiled life impregnating hens. As soon as Houston gets this law passed I will have a few backyard hens of my own and wanted to know about roosters surgically being de-crowed so I can have fertile eggs to EAT or sell. Seeing that most roosters are killed anyway and many people kill the rooster babies just to avoid dealing with them... I don't see how in the world making a wonderful life in my backyard for a spoiled silenced rooster is a bad thing since it saves his life. Better than you eating him! Frankly I'd not need a rooster at all but I feel like I should be prepared in case there comes a time we are impoverished for one reason or another and our backyard "farm" supplements our food resources. Hens would eventually die off and stop laying. We need a perpetual stock that we can raise and barter with if it comes to that. Call it prepping and treat me with hatred for it, but my granny lived through the great depression and taught me how she managed to get her family through it. I honor her advice to me to "not put all my eggs in one basket".

This post was edited by chelseacraft on Thu, Mar 28, 13 at 20:51

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 8:35PM
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I was intrigued by all the information and ideas I was able to learn on this forum about this issue that has been bugging me for several years. We live in a gated rural community that has restrictions against raising poultry. I have built a large, totally enclosed pen at the back of my 3 acres where I intend to raise a small illegal flock. Nearest neighbor over 1/4 mile. If nobody complains, no problem. Therefore, I need a crow-less rooster. I learned today that the operation is impractical for several reasons. We want a renewable supply of meat birds without having to pay $3 ea. for chicks. So, best idea for us seems to borrow a rooster for a short period, say a 7-10 days -- shouldn't create much of a ruckus. Thanks, Kumquat for the question, five years ago. It is still bearing fruit.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 12:36PM
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I can't believe they got so much negative responses for asking a simple question. It is not inhumane to have the procedure done. Animals get surgery all the time to remove qualities we don't like so its no different for a rooster. If you don't have Any insight or productive response keep your beak shut. No one wants to hear it. The first person who said ...oh for god sake.... You should have seen how far my eyes rolled when I read that. I made an account just to chime in on all these people attacking this person for a valid question. To the poster. I would check with the vet and see for yourself. If he makes too much noise. Have him processed for dinner. How's that for humane.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Post i found. I for one am gonna look into this.

Re: About "De-Crowing" Roosters
Hey, Im a vet in eastern OK and have been pretty successful with my decrowing procedure. It does carry risks, but I think that I've got the anesthesia and technique down. I haven't lost a bird in a long time. 50% death loss is way off from what I'm seeing, I haven't lost one since I built my new instruments. It really seems effective also. Here is a youtube link of a little AGB of mine, pre and post surgery.

This procedure isn't for everybody. But some people have a rooster in town that the neighbors can't get along with. This could save him from the hatchet. I dont know how it affects an athletic rooster, but I do know that they still mate and produce fertile eggs. Got chicks on the ground now out of one. Birds seem to be just the same, but much quieter.

Dr. James

December 25th, 2012, 11:28 am

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 11:50AM
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