Breeding for PERSONALITY. AKA Hello SWEET ROO!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MargaretYakoda, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. MargaretYakoda

    MargaretYakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    jajeanpierre [​IMG] LindaB220 [​IMG] TaraBellaBirds [​IMG] and I were discussing nasty roosters on the thread Processing Day Support Group ~ HELP us through the Emotions PLEASE! https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...ort-group-help-us-through-the-emotions-please

    Roosters are culled for having a nasty personality all the time. So the thought arose that we could begin to breed and cull for personality as well as egg production, meat, and/or show quality. Imagine. A chicken who is pretty, good for meat, lays lots of eggs, and won't blind your grandchild!
    It's not too much to ask for! [​IMG]
    So. OK. Let's discuss!

    It has come to my attention that some people are a little bit confused by this thread, so I will summarize the main points of the pro and con arguments here:

    Pro:
    1) We would like to try breeding our backyard flocks in an attempt to get roosters who are not a danger to humans. We believe we can do it if we try.
    2) We are not expecting to get lap roosters, or feathered tribbles.
    3) We understand that it will take time, and that we will need to use careful recording techniques, and breeding pens to do this right.
    4) We also understand that we will need to pay attention to any aggressive behavior in the potential breeding hens.

    Con:
    1) Aggressive roosters are needed to keep flocks safe from predators.
    2) Selective breeding and culling are essentially the same thing. And in order to achieve our goal we would need to do constant and very deep culling.
    3) We would need to have many pens, and a burdensome level of record keeping.
    4) The characteristics of a gentle rooster will revert back to the mean in very few generations.

    A REMINDER:

    This thread is dedicated to learning how to breed for gentler behavior. We are all here to learn.
    That said, if all you have to contribute is that you think it can't be done, or that you disagree that it should be done, that's fine. Those particular opinions have been noted. But the thread isn't for convincing us we can't do what we haven't even tried yet.

    If you don't want to breed your flock for non-aggressive behavior, no one will tell you you're wrong. Please extend us the same courtesy. Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
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  2. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Lots of times those nasty roosters are what is desirable for breeding. They are what a rooster is meant to be like; protective and territorial.
     
  3. MargaretYakoda

    MargaretYakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fair enough.
    But maybe we can breed for a rooster who is protective and watches out for predators, while being smart enough to recognize that the one who provides food isn't actually a threat?

    I don't think we're expecting to get a feathered tribble. Or a lap rooster. But I think we can all agree that a rooster who is a physical danger to humans is a problem.

    So, how can we add personality into the backyard breeding mix?
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    To keep it simple, and I'm WAY oversimplifying, eat the mean roosters, and allow only the nice ones to play in the gene pool.
     
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  5. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    I am a full believer that you don't need the aggression to maintain the good qualities of a roo.


    One of the many bridges to cross on this is it takes time for a heritage breed roo to reach a good butcher size. In that time they can do a lot of damage.

    It is also hard to find a balance between the physical qualities, like color and build, and personality. I do think that sometimes you can breed an aggressive roo to a docile hen and get both quality and personality.

    Personally I have found a couple of ways to avoid the aggression issues completely, but my options are not perfect for everyone!
     
  6. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Good going!! I'm a firm believer that you get what you put into it. I know I'm not ever going to buy a RIR because they are bossy when hens and mean as roosters. There are several breeds that say, docile, gentle. etc. I want to get some of them. The White Rocks I have are not hatchery and are a little skittish. But no malice or anything. They are slow growers and the one rooster I have is still not mature. Not chasing at all. Runs just as fast from me as the pullets. [​IMG] Another couple of choices for me are the EO Marraduna Basques. And the Lavender Australorps.
     
  7. MargaretYakoda

    MargaretYakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Further, I should admit, the birds I'm planning on breeding are Jersey Giants. This breed is known for their gentle personality.
    If you think about it, it seems that the original Giants had gentle personality bred into them on purpose because of their size. A nasty twenty pound rooster could do a LOT of damage!
    Anyhow, the roosters I am starting with are very good stock (Maria Hall) so I've got a head start. :D
     
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  8. MargaretYakoda

    MargaretYakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh BOY! I know what you mean.
    My mom was on a kick for awhile back in the 70's where she wanted chickens. And somehow she got a RIR rooster. Comanche. He was beautiful. But OMG he was nasty. He would come at us spurs first. Eventually he hurt my sister and he had to go. Probably to a stewpot.

    Whoever gave him to my mother was an irresponsible jerk, too. There's no way they didn't know what kind of rooster he was. And they gave him to a mom who had good intentions, but grew up in Brooklyn and had no idea what to do with a nasty bird.
     
  9. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Starting out I ordered an assorted heavy mix from MM. Both a blessing and a curse, but a good learning experience! The blessing came in the form of my beloved BigMama, a BOrp which was a breed I had not concidered prior and now I am Orp crazy! The curse was the nasty RIR roos, talk about vicious.

    I have since moved away from hatchery stock. Even my hatchery JGiant roos were aggressive

    @MargaretYakoda I have coveted Maria's birds for awhile now. I am focusing on other breeds first, but plan to add some of her splash to my flock in the future!
     
  10. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have to agree with TarraBellaBird and disagree with Free Feather here - I see no reason to think that human aggression and hen protection are genetically linked. We have no problem breeding livestock dogs that are nasty as all heck to any sort of predator, but still extremely docile around their charges and humans.

    Quote: That's the short of it.


    The tough thing is that most breeders couldn't care less about this - the hatcheries are breeding for standard, and breeding for egg laying (more eggs, more chicks to sell). They don't have to live with aggressive birds.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
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