So after deciding what route to go with my chick purchase I have decided to order a few extra hens and roosters in case some die and to pick the best ones to keep around for breeding. I intend to breed my birds so that my flock is self sustaining and for a backyard project, just for my own enjoyment. Point being that I want to be able to hatch some chicks to renew my stock every so often and raise some for meat purposes. Anyway, on to my questions. Lets say that I get 4 roosters and they all make it. I will not need 4 roosters so I will want to keep the best 2 and cull the other 2 and add them to the soup pot. At what ages should I be looking for the best roos? I have already ordered the American SOP illustrated and have been reading and watching videos about what characteristics to look for but I am unclear of when to start looking for these characteristics.
Having said that I can venture a guess. Judging by their size and basic appearance it looks like you should be able to start to tell at around 16 weeks of age but that is just a guess. Also, are there any characteristics that I should look for that may not be as obvious as those already listed in illustrated text? For example: I read on here the other day that you should check for proper egg laying capabilities even in a rooster as even though he can not lay eggs he can pass on his good or bad traits to his daughters.
Thank you in advance for any insight you may have to offer.