Are orpington roosters friendlier?


Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
Boston Area, MA
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I’ve been reading about roosters and aggression. I want to get orpington chickens because I’ve heard so much about them being friendly and docile. Are their roosters friendlier, too? Less prone to aggression? I have young kids (they’ll be 4 and 6 years old when we get our first chickens next spring) and am worried about them being attacked. I have bad memories of being attacked by roosters as a kid myself. We’ll hatch the chickens and raise them together as a family project, socialize and handle them a lot from the start, including the kids. They’ll be pets. I want to keep one of the roosters. Will any of that care and bonding help prevent aggression, or will their hormones take over regardless? I’m guessing we’ll need to live with multiple roosters for a while until they show their personalities enough for us to be able to pick the friendliest one to keep, or will that just make things worse? My kids’ safety comes first... Can this ever work?
I've got two Buff rooster, they are young but seem pretty laid back. I've decided they are going to be the flock I keep, probably not for the reasons you are looking at. The roosters filled out really well for meat, fed side by side with same aged Cornish Crosses, the Buffs are a little bigger, will see how one dresses out. Egg aren't quite on the numbers of RI reds, but they are a bigger egg.
Actually, that care and bonding might make things worse. Much much worse. Raising them with love and affection I find tends to make them think of you as another chicken, one of the flock, a bigger rooster even. Which is fine... Until THEY want to be in charge of the flock. Somewhere around 6mo-2 years at that. Then being the big strong rooster isn't a safety net for them - it's a challenge. And in fact your much smaller children - they're members of the flock too. And probably roosters as well. A rooster with no fear of people is also a rooster that isn't scared of attacking people.

I find that my best roosters have been ones who have been raised hands-off. The best way for a rooster to behave IMO is how a squirrel looks at a horse.
It's not that the horse hunts the squirrels or hurts the squirrels or anything like that. And the squirrel doesn't mind the horse being around. But you better believe that if the horse is moving the squirrel is gonna get the heck out of the way.
You want your rooster to see you for what you are - a giant mysterious ape who is capable of wreaking havoc but isn't actively going to hurt anyone who doesn't get in their way. Ideally, my roosters stay about 3-5' away from me at all times, but otherwise ignore me.

And you can absolutely raise some roosters up together and it won't make things worse... For about 6 months. And then they will start to fight eachother. I would not pick the most dominant or the least dominant. If you can I'd go for something inbetween.

None of this is a guarantee of course, your milage may vary, but this is my two cents.
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@Quackter how old are they? Have they gone through "puberty" yet? I hear that that's when they lose their minds and get mean. Mine will be pets, so at least one of them HAS to stay nice, but I wouldn't mind eating the rest of them :D
@ChocolateMouse Oh, this is very interesting, and very valuable input, thanks! Good points, and ones I hadn't thought of. Since we'll be hatching the chickens and won't know their gender for a while, and will thus treat them the same, how would you recommend we go about the hands-off approach with the roosters? Back off when it becomes clear which ones are roosters? I don't want to start them all hands-off and only try to bond with the hens once we can sex them reliably. Bonding with the babies and building a relationship with them from the start is one of the main reasons I want to do this whole chicken thing in the first place... But if they're all raised with care and we only withdraw affection from the roosters once they start showing, would that be too late for them?
Orpingtons are generally mellow yes, but it does depend on the individual chicken. At the moment I'm dealing with a serious bully... a big beautiful fluffy 26 week old buff Orpington cockerel who thinks he owns the world. :he His brother who is the same age, is a doll. It depends on their individual temperament.
If you've never had roosters do a lot of research. There are numerous threads and articles here that can give you tons of advice and tips on how to raise a good rooster. :caf It takes a bit of work but it can be done :)
I dont really treat my boys any different than the girls. From the beginning I let them each decide how tame they want to be. If they want affection I give it, if they want to be left alone, I'm ok with that as well. Some of my chickens will come perch on my leg if I sit down long enough, this includes roosters. All of my flock are tame enough to be handled and inspected when needed without freaking out, even if they don't necessarily all enjoy it. And so far this has worked for me, I don't have any human aggressive roosters. :)
@chrissynemetz Thanks! My experience with roosters consists of growing up with farm animals and being bullied by the roosters as a child... even though I spent lots of time doing chicken chores and bonded fine with the hens, but the roosters never really trusted me. I have no experience raising chickens on my own as an adult, so I'm spending this time until the spring to read and get educated. The advice I find here is very conflicting though. Some people say handle them a lot, others say don't handle them at all... Some say kill them with kindness, others say kick them in the fluffy butt, yet others say just leave them alone... So I'm feeling very lost among all this...
It's so easy to get confused!! Just keep doing research, and when the time comes, take it one day at a time and do what feels right. I like the idea of watching your cockerels for a while to judge their personality. Don't stress, and don't be too nervous. You can do it... be confident :)
I have a rooster that is about 18 mo. Old. He is a cross, a blue orp father and an ameraucana hen (so an Easter egger). I purchased the eggs locally for my broody as I had lost my salmon favorelle rooster recently (a nice guy too).
I have handled him, petted him, and carried him around since hatch. I was convinced that he was a pullet. Lol. I haven't had any problems with aggression.
That said, I've seen plenty of posts about aggressive roosters, including orpingtons. People say RIRs can be mean. I had a Rhode island red that, while not affectionate, was a perfect gentleman to me and his hens. He came from a breeder.
I think it's an individual rooster thing. You may have the best luck if you find a breeder who breeds for good personalities.

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