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Best Roosters for my Flock

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Sorry for the long post, I am fairly new to the chicken world (having raised many other types of animals and livestock).  I need some rooster help.

 

I am looking to keep between 20-40 laying hens.  Currently I have 3 grown Rhode Island Reds, 7 IsaBrowns that are 9 weeks old, and a mix of 18 White Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, and Easter Eggers that are 7 weeks old.  That gives me 28 hens/pullets right now, but only 3 that are old enough to lay.  Last week they all made it together in the new coop.  By August I expect an eggalanch to start.  I plan to raise another group of chicks starting late summer and will sell several of the hens in early spring.

 

After this group of Isa Browns, I will likely stay with straight breeds so my hens will have better longevity.  I am raising hatchery grade stock and am not interested in show quality.  I want practical birds that will be healthy, attractive to sell, robust, and of course lay eggs.  Part of the project is to teach my kids to raise the birds and make some income from selling eggs and young laying hens.  I realize there isn't any real money to be made with our operation, but with me footing most of the big bills, the kids will end up with some cash and learn some valuable skills.  So far the coop building experience, fresh eggs, and raising the chicks has been great.
So I want to add a couple of roosters.  At least for now, I don't plan to hatch out the eggs.  With birds coming in and out of the flock periodically I was thinking the roosters may be helpful in keeping peace and order, especially when I try to add juveniles with the adult flock.  Again, I am new to the chicken world, so I may be off base here.  I don't want to feed the roosters if they aren't going to bring some value to my flock.  I want roosters that will help my flock on a daily basis and not be overly aggressive.

 

So my first question is if adding a couple of roosters is a good idea, or should I just move on.

 

My second question is what breed I should pick if I add roosters.  I was planning to raise a small group of chicks late this summer and could just get straight run and keep the roosters.  My neighbor also has some sort of easter egger mixes hatching and has offered to give me a couple of roosters.  In any even I plan to raise matching roosters from a set of chicks.  That is just what I want to do.  Breeds I am interested in for my hens are Rhode Island Reds, Easter Eggers (OK not a breed but I want blue eggs), Wyandottes, Australcorps, or Barred Rocks).  I am trying to raise some different types of chickens to see what I like and because it adds interest comparing them.  I don't want anything too exotic and the breeds above are easy to acquire and trade in my area.  I will consider other suggestions though.  So, since I am not primarily interested in genetics, please help me pick a breed for my roosters based on behaviour.  


Go!

post #2 of 7

If I were in your situation I would either start a flock of White Leghorns or Barred Plymouth Rocks.

 

Leghorns - White Eggs

Essentially an egg a day

Great feed conversion 

Good foragers

Begin laying earlier than many other breeds

 

Barred Rocks - Brown Legs

Good layer

Good personality

Hardy

Dual Purpose Bird

 

I've recently started a new flock for my son's 4-H.  Most of our birds are Barred Rock bantams.  I've had barred rocks in the past and they're probably my favorite breed of chicken and I'll add a breeding flock of LF barred rocks next spring.  You absolutely cannot go wrong with their personalities - a good choice if you have kids.

 

The rest of my flock is a barnyard mix of - Cream Legbar, Orpington, Hamburg, & Orpington.  I also have a pullet/cockerel Svart Hona that I'll begin a hobby breeding program with once they age out.  My biggest regret is not adding half a dozen or so White Leghorn to the flock.  I've also had them in the past - my first chickens were leghorns actually - and would have them again this year if I could've found a reliable breeder of them (personal preference of avoiding hatchery stock).  I'll likely add a breeding flock of White Leghorn next year as well.

 

You could add a colored egg layer to either of these without harm if you want a few for your basket.  I'd add Ameraucana or Easter Eggers to a Barred Rock flock - you could have a small "olive egger" breeding program in with your regular stock just to add egg color variety.  I'd add Cream Legbar to a Leghorn flock - a recent and popular cross to make "Sapphire" (aka Super Blue) chickens - as with the earlier mix, they could be added as a side breeding program within the existing flock.

On vaccinating v/s Marek's Disease - ( here & here )
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On vaccinating v/s Marek's Disease - ( here & here )
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post #3 of 7
Pick a rooster you like.

I would try to stay towards some pure matings if you want to sell chicks.

Some roos are good protectors some arent. Agressiveness is also rooster dependant some are some arent.

I have ee, Rhode Island red, slw, barred rock, buff orphington, and a bantam roo. With about 50 hens.

So far other than the buff in his hormonal early years. None have shown Agressiveness toward me or others.
post #4 of 7

I would contact some local people that have chickens, perhaps through your local extension agent or a poultry club. You want your first rooster to be a good rooster, and there are roosters that have not been culled because they are so nice, but are really extra roosters. That is the one you want.

 

Mrs K

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #5 of 7

Welcome!  It depends on what your goals are for the chicks you plan to raise.  For egg production only,  Leghorns.  For dual purpose, in other words,  decent sized eating cockrels,  Plymouth Rocks, Australorps, and maybe some more interesting breed types for mixed egg colors, like the EEs and French Marans and Welsummers.  Many choices!  Mary

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

What I was really hoping to find out is if I should even bother with roosters, and if so of the common breeds are there any that are known to be good (or poor) roosters for a mixed flock that turns over a couple times a year?  Any that will better/worse as I add juveniles to the flock?  I understand that individual roosters may be a good egg or bad egg but are there any breed generalities?

post #7 of 7

I like having a rooster in the flock.  Even when I'm not hatching I like the dynamics they add in keeping the flock in order.  Several flocks with several roosters thus far...

 

First flock - leghorns w/ leghorn rooster.  Hens were great and the rooster was good at protecting them and maintaining order up until I sold them.  I think a good leghorn rooster is a pretty bird and looks like what you expect a rooster to look like.  He was never in attack mode with humans but he was stand-offish.  I sold them to a lady who had a farm with a large flock that wanted to add leghorn production to it.  - Hatchery stock

 

Brahma flock - all I'd ever heard about Brahmas was that they were gentle giants.  Good hens, good roosters, Great temperaments - I call B.S. on this.  Hen's were ok, Rooster was a complete a-hole.  I gave him away to guy who insisted on keeping him alive because he thought the novelty of his size was fascinating.  Haven't heard from him in a long time, but when I got a few updates from him about the rooster - he'd been flogged a few times by then (still kept the bird alive as of then because he said he was good for his hens).  Between the poor feed conversion and the experience with that rooster - I'll likely never own another Brahma.  Hatchery quality stock, and not very good at that - for what it's worth..

 

Orpington flock - I wound up with a mature flock of Orpington chickens from a woman who evidently wasn't a very good care taker.  When the birds arrived hom they were dirty, skittish, and generally not very well cared for.  Hens remained wary of people and the Rooster was pretty aggressive to the hens, although he was "ok" towards people - sort of wary like the hens.  The experience, I'm sure, would have been better had I not received them from someone who had a clue of what they were doing... - hatchery originated stock

 

"Easter Egger"/Barred Rock Barnyard flock - Hens had great personalities and so did the roosters.  I rehomed a few roosters and wound up keeping a rock roo over the EE's.  Roo remained personable and tolerant of human interaction and was great to his hens.  I wound up losing this flock to Marek's. - Local farm stock

 

Barnyard stock II - a Mix of marans, rocks, faverolles, polish, leghorn, RIR - Hatchery birds that I didn't keep long.  Wound up giving them to a relative becase we moved for my wife to go to school.  Hens were ok and the Faverolles roo was initially.  Hormones hit and he became somewhat aggressive but eventually balanced out.  Owner loves the rooster and is able to pick him up and interact with him.  She likes him a lot more than I did but he seems to be a quality bird for a backyard flock.

 

All that to say this...  I know some hatchery roosters become great birds, but my experience is that you stand a better chance of a tolerant rooster from a proven breeder stock.  I have some hatchery hens right now as part of my hobby flock - egg color mix but would never intentionally order a cockerel from a hatchery.  My current cockerels are a Svart Hona (hatched by me via Cedar Crest Farm stock) and likely a few roos in a Horstman Barred Rock flock I recently received.  If you have roosters now, I'd give them a chance and see how it goes.  If you're looking for a rooster, I'd be patient in your search and try to find one from breeder stock.  You can often get quality roosters for free from people not allowed to keep them - but you have to be wary of these because 9/10 ads seem to be giving away perfect roosters who never show aggressive behavior - it's easier to get rid of them that way..  

On vaccinating v/s Marek's Disease - ( here & here )
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On vaccinating v/s Marek's Disease - ( here & here )
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