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Selling a rooster question...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I hatched out two chicks in July, and both turned out to be roosters. They are big and GORGEOUS boys who are not aggressive to humans or each other. I absolutely LOVE them both, but one of them (Thor) has his favorite ladies and I'm seeing some wear and tear. I have 3 roosters to 40 hens. Thor is very persistent when he wants a lady and will chase them until he gets them. I'm thinking of trying some saddles on the two or three that he overmates, but if that doesn't work, I'm going to try and sell him because he is just to beautiful and nice to eat! However, he is a mutt. He is half Lavender Orpington and half Easter Egger. Do you think I'd be able to sell a mixed breed? Like I said, he has very desirable qualities (Non-aggressive but protective of ladies). Would he overmate the hens in his new home if I was to find one for him? Should I even try to relocate him or should I just cull him right away? 

 

Here he is, the handsome guy! :love

 

 

 

 

Within the couple weeks from when this pictures were taken his neck feathers have grown a lot and form a "cape" around his shoulders...I don't want to part with him! 

"Jesus is my Savior, not my religion"

 

Member of the Chatterbox Chooks Club

 

Wanna know how to make a chicken diaper? Check out this article! /how-to-make-a-chicken-diaper-a-how-to-with-pictures

 

Rest In Peace: Crumpet (Click to show)
The actual definition of a "crumpet" - A unsweetened English pastry
 
My Definition of Crumpet: The sweetest thing that ever was. :( 
 
RIP Crumpet. I...
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"Jesus is my Savior, not my religion"

 

Member of the Chatterbox Chooks Club

 

Wanna know how to make a chicken diaper? Check out this article! /how-to-make-a-chicken-diaper-a-how-to-with-pictures

 

Rest In Peace: Crumpet (Click to show)
The actual definition of a "crumpet" - A unsweetened English pastry
 
My Definition of Crumpet: The sweetest thing that ever was. :( 
 
RIP Crumpet. I...
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post #2 of 8

I managed to sell three muts recently to a fellow who keeps chickens as pets.

 

Good luck!

post #3 of 8

I think you have a good idea of trying the saddles first.  Your rooster/hen ratio is right, and roosters normally calm down after they're a year old.  When he starts chasing you could pick him up to stop him.  Chasing is hard on the hens.

...what you know for sure that just ain't so...--Mark Twain;  is what harms future generations.--me
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...what you know for sure that just ain't so...--Mark Twain;  is what harms future generations.--me
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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

If I'm out there when he starts chasing someone they usually run to me cause they know he will stop when I'm around. I think what I'm going to do is make some saddles for the hens, and if that works out I'll wait until he is a year old to see if he calms down. Thanks guys!

"Jesus is my Savior, not my religion"

 

Member of the Chatterbox Chooks Club

 

Wanna know how to make a chicken diaper? Check out this article! /how-to-make-a-chicken-diaper-a-how-to-with-pictures

 

Rest In Peace: Crumpet (Click to show)
The actual definition of a "crumpet" - A unsweetened English pastry
 
My Definition of Crumpet: The sweetest thing that ever was. :( 
 
RIP Crumpet. I...
Reply

"Jesus is my Savior, not my religion"

 

Member of the Chatterbox Chooks Club

 

Wanna know how to make a chicken diaper? Check out this article! /how-to-make-a-chicken-diaper-a-how-to-with-pictures

 

Rest In Peace: Crumpet (Click to show)
The actual definition of a "crumpet" - A unsweetened English pastry
 
My Definition of Crumpet: The sweetest thing that ever was. :( 
 
RIP Crumpet. I...
Reply
post #5 of 8

Also, trim his toenails.

post #6 of 8

The toenails should wear naturally when foraging, so be careful.  It's the spurs that need to have the sharp point trimmed and filed.  The spurs start growing once the rooster is a year old.  

...what you know for sure that just ain't so...--Mark Twain;  is what harms future generations.--me
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...what you know for sure that just ain't so...--Mark Twain;  is what harms future generations.--me
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post #7 of 8
Chicks, if you are counting this one, you don’t have three roosters, you have at least one cockerel. I have no idea how many pullets you may have. I also don’t know how your flock interacts. I’ll assume at least one male is a dominant rooster. There is a big difference in cockerels and roosters just as there is a difference in pullets and hens. Mature roosters and hens are normally fairly calm but cockerels have hormones running wild and the pullets usually don’t have a clue what is going on until they at least start laying eggs. Even then they may want a more responsible partner than a hormone crazed adolescent. Things often get wild when pullets and cockerels are involved. Mature hens often reject an immature cockerel, considering him not good enough to be the father of their children. They normally want a more responsible partner.

His chasing and mating is not all that much about sex either. When chickens mate the one on the bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. His chasing and mating is more about dominance than fertilizing eggs.

Since he was hatched in July, he is five months old. You can help dispel a myth, at least to yourself. I think you are already on board with this anyway. Take a good look at his leg. Count the number of spurs and observe how long and sharp those spur are. Then take a good look at his claws. Not toenails, claws. Count them and see how long and sharp they are. Watch when he mounts a pullet. Does he hold on by his spurs or does he hold on using his claws? The results are pretty much the same with an older rooster with a much longer sharper spur but looking at a five month old it’s pretty clear what is causing the damage. An older rooster’s spur is a dangerous weapon and it is possible that it could cause damage during mating if the hen resists and he forces her or his technique is really bad or if the hen is really barebacked, but the vast majority of feather loss is not because of the spurs.

With three males and 40 females you’ve already shown that the magical 10 to 1 ratio isn’t magical after all. Breeders often keep one rooster with one or two hens throughout the breeding season without any problems. People with much higher ratios sometimes see the problems you are seeing. The 10 to 1 does not stop roosters fighting, barebacked hens, or over-mated hens. It is simply a ratio that hatcheries use with the pen breeding method to ensure fertility. 10 to 1 makes a nice flock but the hatcheries have learned that putting say 20 roosters in a pen with 200 hen swill ensure practically all eggs will be fertile. It’s a fertility ration when using the pen breeding method, not a behavioral thing. With different management techniques it’s not even about fertility.

I don’t know how bad that feather loss is or if it is on hens or pullets. It is normal to occasionally have some feather loss during a mating, the problem comes when that feather loss is so great bare skin is exposed. Bare skin can be cut during a mating even if the rooster or cockerel’s technique is fairly good. Saddles may be appropriate.

I’m assuming the barebacked chickens are hens, not pullets, but I’m not sure. I’m also assuming you have at least one dominant rooster with the flock. Usually when a cockerel starts bothering my mature hens they run to the dominant rooster and he sorts out Junior. With the size of your flock they may be too spread out for that to happen.

I have had the situation where a hen was barebacked, not because of the rooster’s technique but because the hen’s feathers were brittle. No matter how gentle his technique the feathers just break really easily. That brittle feather thing is not extremely common but it’s not all that rare either. It’s normally a heredity/nutrient thing. An absence of certain nutrients can cause the feathers to be brittle. Due to heredity some hens’ bodies don’t process those nutrients like they should.

When I have a problem one of my first considerations is whether this is a flock problem or an individual problem. If it is pretty common across the flock I need to change my management. If it is an individual problem I treat the individual, not the entire flock. When I permanently removed the barebacked hen with brittle feathers it made my hen to rooster ratio worse but the problem went away and did not return in future generations.

Your problem is probably that cockerel. At five months his hormones are out of control, he has to resort to force since he is not mature enough to charm the hens, and his technique is probably not really good. The way I see it you have a few options. Since you said you don’t want to eat him, get rid of him. What happens at his new home is up to the new owners and flock dynamics if the new owner doesn’t eat him. When he is gone you have lost control of his future. You can try those saddles. They might work until he is mature enough to get his hormones under control and he matures enough that he doesn’t have to resort to force. You can try locking him up for a couple of months to see if he matures enough to behave with the flock. The downside to this is that when he rejoins the flock he and any other males of the right age will have to determine which is the flock master. With lots of room they normally sort this out pretty quickly and reach an accommodation on how they will work together to protect the flock, but when they fight there is always risk one could be seriously hurt or killed.

Good luck with it. Your situation is not unusual at all. Normally with time it sorts itself out but with hens that are truly barebacked there is risk.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the information, Ridgerunner. Yes, I have 1 rooster and 2 cockerals. 24 of the hens are pullets and 16 are hens. Thor has a thing for Easter Eggers, they are usually the only ones he chases. There are two or three that have feather loss and one who is nearing a bald back. (All pullets.) I spent some time in the coop yesterday observing and while his hatchday brother Loki does some chasing/mounting it's not near as much or as crazy as Thor's - which could be because Loki is the least dominant of the 3. Dumbledore is the head rooster, but like you said with a big a flock as I have he can't always be there to stop the hormone-crazed chasing. I also noticed Thor is pretty aggressive to some of the hens, not just chasing/mating but just pecking anyone who comes by. I think he's trying to be the dominant one. I also noticed Dumbledore is on top of the whole flock. Thor is the second dominant rooster but still has some hens above him. Loki is just at the very bottom of basically all of the flock. 

"Jesus is my Savior, not my religion"

 

Member of the Chatterbox Chooks Club

 

Wanna know how to make a chicken diaper? Check out this article! /how-to-make-a-chicken-diaper-a-how-to-with-pictures

 

Rest In Peace: Crumpet (Click to show)
The actual definition of a "crumpet" - A unsweetened English pastry
 
My Definition of Crumpet: The sweetest thing that ever was. :( 
 
RIP Crumpet. I...
Reply

"Jesus is my Savior, not my religion"

 

Member of the Chatterbox Chooks Club

 

Wanna know how to make a chicken diaper? Check out this article! /how-to-make-a-chicken-diaper-a-how-to-with-pictures

 

Rest In Peace: Crumpet (Click to show)
The actual definition of a "crumpet" - A unsweetened English pastry
 
My Definition of Crumpet: The sweetest thing that ever was. :( 
 
RIP Crumpet. I...
Reply
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