Choosing which roo to keep--advice?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Windy Ridge, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. Windy Ridge

    Windy Ridge Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    Good morning!

    This is going to be terribly long... I hope you'll bear with my rambling. I realize I'm asking for advice/opinions, and that if I can get three people to respond, I may get four different answers. [​IMG] I guess I'd just like a few chicken-people to talk this out with. I don't know any other chicken-people around here.

    I'm to the point where (unfortunately) I need to choose which roosters will remain with my flock of ladies, and which will go to that Big Henhouse in the Sky. Most of them are sweet boys, but there are just too many to live peacefully together in with my girls. I've actually tried listing them on craigslist and in our local bulletin board, but to no avail. I won't be able to do it myself (they think of me as mommy and rush forward to eat treats out of my hand with goofy looks on their little chicken faces), but I've made arrangements for a friend of mine to come this weekend to do the butchering.

    Now I'm faced with choosing which ones to keep. Some are not difficult choices. There is a beautiful little bantam barred cochin rooster that is MEAN... not to me, but to all the other chickens, even to those 5 times larger than he is. I have a huge SLW who has always been rather aggressive. A Salmon Faverolles rooster is mean... that's quite surprising, since all my other Faverolles boys are sweet as pie. No problem deciding that these boys will have to go.

    However... Now I have three more SFs that--as I said--are sweet as pie. I'd like to keep at least one to breed with my SF hens. I also have a rather runty little SF boy named Henri who is at the bottom of the pecking order. He had problems hatching, had spraddle leg (which I fixed), and generally has had a rather rough time of it. I'd never breed him, but the poor thing snuggles rather desperately with me and falls asleep on my lap. I'd almost like to keep him as a charity case.

    I have three speckled sussex roosters that are quite young, yet--about 12 weeks--and don't seem to be either particularly aggressive or sweet. They are somewhat friendly, though not snuggly like the SFs. I have speckled sussex girls of the same age, so presumably I could keep one to breed with them. The truth is, however, that as nice as the girls seems to be--they're incredibly forward and friendly, and VERY beautiful--I don't really like the breed personality as well as I do the SFs, which seem to be shier, harder to win over, but cuddlier and more tender in the end. My SFs are just darlings... and if I'm not going to breed the sussex, why keep a sussex rooster?

    The other girls I have are Wheaten Ameraucanas. Unfortunately for me, I only got two of those eggs to hatch. They're both pullets, and at first I was rather overjoyed at that. Now, though, the Ameraucanas are SO FRIENDLY, that I regret not having a rooster to pair with them. These Ameraucanas are so friendly, they'll actually launch themselves at at anyone within their range of sight. My husband, who goes into the coop maybe twice a week, is showered with affection from these two. One likes to perch on my arm and stretch her neck over my shoulder to sleep while I stroke her back. In other words, in order to feed my addiction, I MUST order more eggs from the breeder this spring and hope I get a rooster to add... which is another reason, perhaps, not to keep a sussex.

    I also have buff silkies. One is a definite hen. Two are roosters (most likely). One could be either, and the last is probably a hen. I would like to keep a breeding pair of these, but silkies are so hard to sex, I'm a little afraid to get rid of any too early, even though I'm 95% certain about the roosters.

    I only have about 19 girls (+ or - with the Silkies being uncertain), but I have room for about twice as many. As I said, I'd like to add more Wheaten Ameraucanas in the spring. In other words, there is plenty of room in the coop. I live in a place with four seasons, and we have 45 acres. They range on 2 or 3, although there will doubtless be times in the winter when they will want to stay inside.

    So... throw the opinions at me. Should I keep Henri? How many Faverolles roosters should I keep? Should I keep a sussex? What are your opinions?


    Windy Ridge
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I say pick your two favorites and off to the pot the others go... Really, just keep the roos that treat the girls the best and you can put up with. It's all what you want. If you want personality, pick that, if you want color, pick that. It's always a tough decision but it's gotta be done.
  3. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    It is really hard to choose roosters especially if they are young cockerels. By reading your thread you really don't seem to care for any. I may be wrong but I would keep little Henri. Even tho he is handicapped I think with all his struggles he deserves a chance to live, if only as a pet. Who knows maybe he will grow up to be healthy. I would suggest keeping one of the SF's and one of the silkie roos. What you need to do is observe which is the most nicest in personality and in looks.
  4. LynnGrigg

    LynnGrigg Songster

    Jun 6, 2007
    Winston Salem, NC
    I'm soft hearted. I'd keep Henri for sure. As for the others... keep the ones who seem to be the best with the hens and the least problem for humans. I'm going to have to do something with at least one roo at my place and hate having to make a decision. I will not give up my senior dark brahma bantam roo.
    I have two blrw hens and hate to give up the blrw roo but they certainly are none too spectacular specimens so I imagine he will go. The buff laced polish will stay if he can get along with the brahma. I do have 16 hens. I hope that's enough to share wiothout bloodshed.
  5. Windy Ridge

    Windy Ridge Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    That's good advice. What really worries me is that--decision made, I can't change my mind, you know?

    The best roo with the ladies by far is a Faverolles named the Dauphin, but he's an all white sport. However, he's entirely sweet, and whenever I bring treats in, which is not terribly often, he clucks the ladies over to the choicest morsels. Because he's all white, I don't think he wouldn't make a good breeder... however, he seems to have a good eye for the sky, and he also seems to be the alpha without (somehow!) getting into many scuffles. I have a separate coop big enough for four standard-sized chickens that I can use for breeding and brooding, so having a rooster I don't intend to breed wouldn't really be a problem... and it might be nice to have one that I feel will be a good flock-watcher.

    The next best rooster is a handsome boy named Gautier with a perfect 5 pointed comb and great 5th toe placement. Maybe I should keep the Dauphin, Gautier and Henri. I really don't think Henri will thrive in any case, and I'll worry about him come winter because he's so skinny. Still, I almost can't bear not to give him a chance.

    I think y'all're right, too, and I'll try keeping a Silkie Roo. The Favs really seem to ignore the little Silkies, so I hope there won't be a problem with too many.

  6. Matt Berry

    Matt Berry In the Brooder

    Jun 1, 2007
    SE Michigan
    personally I would only keep the roosters that have the traits that you are looking for. While personality is important, so is size, true to type, vigor, etc. The ones that fit that profile I'd keep, ones that are mean now probably will get worse later.

    I would highly recommend you culling Henri, it may sound horrible now but, if you keep him, he will either have to be kept separate from the other chickens or he may end up mating with one of the girls. Either scenario is not very desirable.

    Good luck, I hope this helps your decision some.
  7. peeps7

    peeps7 Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    North Carolina
    How many do you plan to keep? I would pick one of each breed if you could do that. Pick your favorite out of each breed and keep it. I would keep Henri definatly if he is beautiful and you love him. You said that the barred cochin is mean to the other chickens so I wouldn't keep him, I wouldn't say that usually because I love the cochin breed(read my signature and you'll know why). Good Luck trying to decide. I hate this part. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] :aww [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] :thun [​IMG]
  8. blue90292

    blue90292 Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    Rosharon, TX
    are you keeping the roosters for breeding purposes? or just because they're pretty?? are they going to serve a purpose? and if so, what purpose.

    if it's to breed a true breed, then you need to keep the one that's truest in form and good personality. you don't want a mean one even if it is true. don't want to pass that ugly gene down the line.

    if it's to just have company for the ladies and decoration for the lawn, then pick the rooster that you fancy the most. who cares what it looks like or what breed it is. it's purpose is to give you comfort and peace.
  9. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Since you have a mixed flock to start with, issues of breed purity can be dispensed with. The choice then is made simple.
    The overiding choice criteria with cocks is vigor. This means you select the cockerel(s) that is bigger (faster growing), tries to mate first and is just more "vigorous" than the others. Chances are he'll be dominant and/or showing signs of that prowess, as well. All other considerations come after these. It does little to feed a bunch of freeloading roos who do more than muck up the waters of your genetic pool.

    Toss any softhearted sentiments you may have out the window for now. These will be lost on the chickens, I assure you, and you can always go out and get them after the selections are made.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2007
  10. Windy Ridge

    Windy Ridge Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    Well, I have two coops. One is the large coop that everyone is in, and the other is a smaller "breeding" coop with an attached, enclosed pen, where I will isolate the birds I want to breed for the three or so weeks until I'm sure the breeding is, erm, pure. [​IMG] This will also be the coop I use for brooding, if I want to do that the old-fashioned way, instead of using my incubator. [​IMG]

    So my reasons for keeping roosters are really two-fold... or rather a-few-fold. Firstly, I think it sort of completes the social structure of the flock. Secondly, I really do want a rooster to help protect the ladies, because we live in the middle of no where. Thirdly, I would like my flock to be self-sustaining for the breeds I like... and I'm determined to get some of my friends addicted, too. (Where's the evil grin smiley?!!) Fourth, they're awfully pretty. Especially with the Salmon Faverolles, the roosters are quite showy compared to the females (although I think both sexes are beautiful.) And last, since I have space, there's no sense in killing them just because they're roosters. I like to hear them of a morning. And of an afternoon. And an evening. And of a ... [​IMG]

    What I DON"T want is so many roosters that they're fighting each other as well as stressing and hurting the ladies excessively.

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