Can we talk about rooster raising?

DaisyBuff

Songster
Oct 15, 2020
258
561
166
Madison GA In The South!
I currently do not have any roos, I have 5 Rhode Island Hens and a Buff Orpington named Daisy. In the spring I am looking forward to getting 4 silkies. They will be going in a separate pen than my reds and orp hen. I am thinking on getting a Rhode Island Rooster, They are very pretty.
 

Trisseh

Duck-duck-chicken!
Jun 21, 2019
1,346
4,099
316
NW Ontario, Canada
The worst cockerel I have had was an EE that I got from someone at around 2 weeks old. It was the shyest, most timid bird and I worked SO hard to win it’s trust. Well, I sure did, and that bird decided that this nice human was a pushover, as well as literally any other creature around, including inanimate objects. He terrorized the pullets, wouldn’t let them eat, grabbed them and just held onto them while they sat and screamed. Beat the snot out of the bantam cockerels, going so far as to escape his pen and go into theirs. Tried to flog the dog (who was minding her own business eating her food on the opposite side of the yard) in the face. Engaged in flogging attacks on the lawn flamingo, cuz it was looking at him funny....(picture below) he made some aborted attempts to flog my legs, because even though his aggression was high, he still turned tail and ran as soon as my eyes were on him. He was due to be culled but decided to take matters into his own hands and choked himself on dog food. 🤦‍♀️ Dog got her revenge i guess.

every other cockerel I’ve had has been some level of wary, but none have been truly aggressive. The best one I had was a sebright, he would ride around on my shoulder while I did chores. Was kind to all the other birds.

One of the young (3 month old) cockerels I have now took it upon himself to run over and bite my hand when I was putting food in the feeder. I “pecked” him hard with my finger but before I could get a second peck in, my older cockerel came running up, pecked him hard, and chased him off. The little one hasn’t gone after me since. Sometimes the older birds in the flock are the best teachers for the young upstarts. :)

I think for the OP, the biggest thing is going to be watching for behaviours that are going to be a warning sign before any of the actual attacks start, if this guy decides to try it with you. Take a read through the rooster articles on this forum so you know what to watch for. He may never do any of those things, and may continue to be a nice dude. Fingers crossed that he remains that way!

F0737645-4E02-4587-844F-FF55E4C77F6D.jpeg
 

MissE

Songster
Oct 17, 2020
390
1,073
201
Northern MN
The worst cockerel I have had was an EE that I got from someone at around 2 weeks old. It was the shyest, most timid bird and I worked SO hard to win it’s trust. Well, I sure did, and that bird decided that this nice human was a pushover, as well as literally any other creature around, including inanimate objects. He terrorized the pullets, wouldn’t let them eat, grabbed them and just held onto them while they sat and screamed. Beat the snot out of the bantam cockerels, going so far as to escape his pen and go into theirs. Tried to flog the dog (who was minding her own business eating her food on the opposite side of the yard) in the face. Engaged in flogging attacks on the lawn flamingo, cuz it was looking at him funny....(picture below) he made some aborted attempts to flog my legs, because even though his aggression was high, he still turned tail and ran as soon as my eyes were on him. He was due to be culled but decided to take matters into his own hands and choked himself on dog food. 🤦‍♀️ Dog got her revenge i guess.

every other cockerel I’ve had has been some level of wary, but none have been truly aggressive. The best one I had was a sebright, he would ride around on my shoulder while I did chores. Was kind to all the other birds.

One of the young (3 month old) cockerels I have now took it upon himself to run over and bite my hand when I was putting food in the feeder. I “pecked” him hard with my finger but before I could get a second peck in, my older cockerel came running up, pecked him hard, and chased him off. The little one hasn’t gone after me since. Sometimes the older birds in the flock are the best teachers for the young upstarts. :)

I think for the OP, the biggest thing is going to be watching for behaviours that are going to be a warning sign before any of the actual attacks start, if this guy decides to try it with you. Take a read through the rooster articles on this forum so you know what to watch for. He may never do any of those things, and may continue to be a nice dude. Fingers crossed that he remains that way!

View attachment 2495209
OMG! My dogs would have been extra full had they been attacked while eating. Or sleeping. Or wandering through the yard. Or really anytime the opportunity presented itself.
 

bhawk-23

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Apr 12, 2020
376
528
176
East Central Illinois (Urbana, IL)
I think for the OP, the biggest thing is going to be watching for behaviours that are going to be a warning sign before any of the actual attacks start, if this guy decides to try it with you. Take a read through the rooster articles on this forum so you know what to watch for. He may never do any of those things, and may continue to be a nice dude. Fingers crossed that he remains that way!

View attachment 2495209

So I have read over a couple articles and more posts.

As it seems, Oscar is completely giving me my space. When I enter the coop he retreats. I thought he was being stand off-ish and was trying to win his trust. I'll stop that immediately. Also, when I bring treats to the older hens he retreats which I was wanting him to come closer but I will definitely keep encouraging this behavior. If I walk towards him he walks away. That is actually him giving me my space in a good way. Am I catching on to rooster behaviors/respect?

Please stay with me here, I am a total animal behaviors nerd 🤓 lol I just a thrill when I can finally understand/unlock certain animal behaviors!!

My older gals look to me for treats, comfort, safety and submit when I crouch down to pet their backs. I can also pick most of them up without much complaining. They follow me all around because I find them lots of yummy bugs and I trained them to come by calling with my voice while pecking with my finger at the ground. I've done this since they were about 4 months old. I had no idea that is what a rooster does!! Lol

Is this why Oscar stays clear when I'm with "my" flock? Is this why my hens are so enamoured with me? Not my hubs nor son, just me.

And last question, if you are still reading 😉 is, Oscar definitely keeps to his two pullet hatch mates. I am watching and notice it is like they are a second, insubordinate flock. He walks them away from me and "my" flock. One of his pullets will come around the older gals, definitely more than the other pullet, but it always goes back to those three separate from the rest. They are 13 weeks and 2 days and my older gals are nearing 11 months if that matters.

I would LOVE other's thoughts about my observations!!! No worries to tell me if I am dead wrong, only one way to learn and that is from more experienced people☺️
 

Sally PB

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
2,695
8,196
443
Belding, MI
As it seems, Oscar is completely giving me my space. When I enter the coop he retreats. I thought he was being stand off-ish and was trying to win his trust. I'll stop that immediately. Also, when I bring treats to the older hens he retreats which I was wanting him to come closer but I will definitely keep encouraging this behavior. If I walk towards him he walks away. That is actually him giving me my space in a good way. Am I catching on to rooster behaviors/respect?
YES!!! He sees you as above him, so he's staying out of your space. :yesss:
 

Trisseh

Duck-duck-chicken!
Jun 21, 2019
1,346
4,099
316
NW Ontario, Canada
He sounds a lot like my excellent Icelandic boy, they’re both keepers as long as they continue the good behaviour. Haha. Best to make the hens the pets and the cockerel/rooster kept at arms length, although I have no problem with my guy coming over to see what I have for him.
I’ve had small groups similar to yours when I’ve integrated chicks; they seem to stick in their original groups til they start to lay and/or crow. They may integrate all together once the younger pullets start laying and find their place in the pecking order. They seem to be kind of outside of it until they mature. 🤷🏼‍♀️ I may be entirely off the mark but that’s what I’ve seen in my little flock. Lol.
 

Chickassan

Wattle Fondler
May 23, 2017
14,848
74,182
1,297
Greenville S.C, formerly Noneya U.S.A
Oscar is still a baby he gives you and your older hens space because he does not want to get his butt kicked.
Older hens have ZERO patience for young cockrels, they're pretty worthless to them until the little dudes brain and balls aren't holding fight club.
And hatchmates stick to hatchmates, they're social so bonds form.
Now that can change if you have other males that are better protectors and providers.
Pullets once they start laying will migrate to the better male, bonds don't fill bellies.:)
So I have read over a couple articles and more posts.

As it seems, Oscar is completely giving me my space. When I enter the coop he retreats. I thought he was being stand off-ish and was trying to win his trust. I'll stop that immediately. Also, when I bring treats to the older hens he retreats which I was wanting him to come closer but I will definitely keep encouraging this behavior. If I walk towards him he walks away. That is actually him giving me my space in a good way. Am I catching on to rooster behaviors/respect?

Please stay with me here, I am a total animal behaviors nerd 🤓 lol I just a thrill when I can finally understand/unlock certain animal behaviors!!

My older gals look to me for treats, comfort, safety and submit when I crouch down to pet their backs. I can also pick most of them up without much complaining. They follow me all around because I find them lots of yummy bugs and I trained them to come by calling with my voice while pecking with my finger at the ground. I've done this since they were about 4 months old. I had no idea that is what a rooster does!! Lol

Is this why Oscar stays clear when I'm with "my" flock? Is this why my hens are so enamoured with me? Not my hubs nor son, just me.

And last question, if you are still reading 😉 is, Oscar definitely keeps to his two pullet hatch mates. I am watching and notice it is like they are a second, insubordinate flock. He walks them away from me and "my" flock. One of his pullets will come around the older gals, definitely more than the other pullet, but it always goes back to those three separate from the rest. They are 13 weeks and 2 days and my older gals are nearing 11 months if that matters.

I would LOVE other's thoughts about my observations!!! No worries to tell me if I am dead wrong, only one way to learn and that is from more experienced people☺
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 29, 2014
7,291
20,529
921
New Zealand
It does seem that hens and laying pullets are excellent at teaching young cockerels to mind their manners. We put our English araucana cockerels in a separate coop as they were giving the pullets, who aren't laying yet, a hard time. The pullets have their own run but our older birds free range.

I let the young boys out to free range as well this morning for the first time and they were utter horrors, juiced up on hormones from being confined. They were quickly brought into line by the older girls who attacked them for their bad behaviour until they settled down. One decided to chase a little bantam hen, so one of the bigger girls charged to the rescue and brought him down a peg or two. It was impressive to watch.
 

bhawk-23

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Apr 12, 2020
376
528
176
East Central Illinois (Urbana, IL)
@JaeG
I bet that was a sight to see!! And yeah, he does not like to cross the ladies. He is catching up in size with them though, but does not really show a lot of cockerel behaviors yet. Hubs heard him attempt to crow once nearly 2 weeks ago and I did last Sunday. But he still hogs food when he can, does not share at all. Not after any of the girls at all so I am happy for that. We do have a place to separate him from the flock if he seems to be a little rambunctious in the spring. But they can still see each other. I am very fortunate to able to dedicate the time needed to hopefully keep a real good watch on him. I have the ability to sit out with them for hours if needed. Keep a close watch, not allow him to mate with the girls and basically I want to keep dominant status through to summer or fall if at all possible. I am hoping it also helps curb some crowing too. I am hoping to get him through the crazy hormone driven stage by keeping dominant status and hoping he will settle in a bit nearing his first birthday. Does this seem like a reasonable plan?
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 29, 2014
7,291
20,529
921
New Zealand
@JaeG
I bet that was a sight to see!! And yeah, he does not like to cross the ladies. He is catching up in size with them though, but does not really show a lot of cockerel behaviors yet. Hubs heard him attempt to crow once nearly 2 weeks ago and I did last Sunday. But he still hogs food when he can, does not share at all. Not after any of the girls at all so I am happy for that. We do have a place to separate him from the flock if he seems to be a little rambunctious in the spring. But they can still see each other. I am very fortunate to able to dedicate the time needed to hopefully keep a real good watch on him. I have the ability to sit out with them for hours if needed. Keep a close watch, not allow him to mate with the girls and basically I want to keep dominant status through to summer or fall if at all possible. I am hoping it also helps curb some crowing too. I am hoping to get him through the crazy hormone driven stage by keeping dominant status and hoping he will settle in a bit nearing his first birthday. Does this seem like a reasonable plan?

Our little bantam cockerel never went through a crazy, hormonal phase - he's just slowly gained the respect of the hens. Hopefully your boy will be the same and hopefully he'll catch on soon that offering a tasty treat to the ladies will put him in their good graces.

I say just keep doing what you are doing (though I am still new at this rooster business myself) and keep us posted as to how he's getting on.
 

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