Choosing rooster or 2 to keep

klunderwood

Chirping
Apr 30, 2018
23
38
89
Wooster AR
Good Morning! I searched the site and read several posts about roosters, but still would like an opinion or 15 about my situation.
I have been raising chickens for 4 years. Right now I have 27 2-year-old hens. Six months ago, we had a hatch of 5 from these hens. Three of those are roosters. The alpha started crowning and mounting 1st. The Beta was soon after but is a little timider. The Delta was way slower, in fact, was one that liked to be held and carried. I thought he was a hen until the spurs nubbed out. Alpha is a little aggressive, for example, he will knock the Beta off a hen during mating, chases hens and pulls their tail feathers out for no reason I can see. A couple of times made a move toward me, but quickly backs down (or he would already be gone). Now it seems like the A and D roos are a team and will mate a hen one after the other, but still knock the Beta off if they see him mounting. During the free-range time, all 3 roos act as protectors and are good watchers. My instinct is to get of the Alpha because I am a tiny bit afraid of him coming at me and no one likes a bully. Also, the tag team thing is not good for the hens.
What do you think?
Thanks in advance
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,185
15,609
606
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Sourland provides solid advice. Anytime a bird is removed, pecking order may change, and behaviors (particularly when an Alpha is removed) may alter when birds who were previously "kept in check" by the more dominant bird have a chance to again express themselves.

That said, fear of a chicken is never a good thing. I'd sort out Alpha with the expectation of culling, and wait to see if bad behaviors arise in Beta or Delta. Good news is that older hens *tend* to be less tolerant of bad behavior from young roos, and often help to moderate poor behavior even when an alpha is removed.

You should also give thought to end goals. I have a project, and slow to maturity is NOT a desired trait for me. Delta would already be in my soup pot.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,306
23,650
907
Southeast Louisiana
Six months ago, we had a hatch of 5 from these hens. Three of those are roosters.
You do not have any roosters out of these three. You have immature cockerels, each with a different level of maturity, its own stock of hormones, and its own personality. It's a difficult age to determine what their personality will be when they finally mature. As mentioned, a more dominant boy can affect how a less dominant bird acts. Behaviors can change as they mature, for the good or the bad.

What are your goals as far as these boys? Why do you want a rooster? To make a good choice I think you need to know what you want. That can still be challenging with cockerels but it gives you a better chance. Do you plan to hatch chicks? If you do, which cockerel gives you the best chance of getting chicks that you want? If one of these ticks more boxes for what you want that might help you narrow it down.

My instinct is to get of the Alpha because I am a tiny bit afraid of him coming at me
If you are afraid of him he can likely sense that. That could make him more likely to go after you. In this case your behaviors may factor into which rooster. I've had a few that might test me just when the hormones hit and work out OK if they back down, but that doesn't always work. Don't tolerate a human aggressive cockerel or rooster. If you are a bit afraid of him I'd get rid of him now before that behavior carries over.

My suggestion is to eliminate any you can now based on your goals or behaviors. That's always my first step in narrowing it down. Then observe and see what you see. Leaving just one with the flock while the others are locked up might be instructive but they are still juveniles. Behaviors can change as they mature. Like I said, this is not always real easy.
 
6

629522

Guest
Great advice so far. One thing that works for me with aggressive roosters is to act as their "wing man". As mentioned these are immature cockerels but being protective is their job. Ours get agitated if we pick up a hen and she is vocal. I like to give a treat to the rooster which he then shares with the hen(note-mature roosters do this, more frequently the immature ones don't share because they haven't figured things out) This gives him points with the hen and he no longer sees me as a threat. Of course some may be aggressive despite this, I had a bantam Cochin rooster who flogged me everyday no matter what. But because of his size he was essentially harmless and he took care of his girls. Obviously I would not tolerate the same behavior from a full size rooster.
 

klunderwood

Chirping
Apr 30, 2018
23
38
89
Wooster AR
Thank you, everyone, for excellent guidance as usual. My end goal is first of all flock warning/protection and less of a priority would be hatching some eggs once a year or so. The 1st rooster I had was a champ at this but died doing his duty.
I also have zero tolerance for human aggression, but since they are still teens and he hasn't actually done anything yet, I wasn't sure if I should give him a chance to chill. My instinct was to cull him the 1st time he ran up on me. I guess I have flashbacks from the farm growing up and getting flogged.
For now, I have a chicken tractor I will put Alpha in and see what happens. Thanks again!
 

roonster

Songster
5 Years
Jun 20, 2016
131
154
161
i tried grabbing an aggressive roo and pinning it down for about a minute. i saw video on youtube. it worked! ...after 3 tries.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,185
15,609
606
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
i tried grabbing an aggressive roo and pinning it down for about a minute. i saw video on youtube. it worked! ...after 3 tries.
I did that too. Pinned it down, wrapped the legs, hung it off the scale, noted the weight, set up the culling table, and gave it an extended vacation to freezer camp. Absolutely ZERO recidivism.
 

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