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Cockerel amongst my pullets

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by davef72, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. davef72

    davef72 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm a first time chicken owner. I did NOT know which breed I wanted, but knew I wanted them for egg purposes. Because of this I went with six different breeds to figure out which one is best for my family. So I purchased the following

    2 Americaunas
    2 Australorp
    2 Barred Rock
    2 Buff Orpington
    2 Golden Laced Wyandotte
    2 Golden Sex Links (Comets)

    I highly suspect that one of my Americaunas is a cockerel. The size of the body, the legs, and the way it rules the roost (pecking & pulling feathers). It struts around like a young rooster.

    My question is what if it is in fact a Rooster? I do NOT want is fertilizing my other breeds; RIGHT?

    What could happen if this takes place? I don't want chicks...simply the eggs. I also have a 6 yr old daughter, so the spurs scare me too.


    Any advice for this novice chicken farmer?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    What are your concerns about it fertilizing the eggs? If you could tell us specifically what your concern is we may be able to address that in detail.

    There are no real differences in a fertilized egg versus an unfertilized egg. As long as you don’t incubate it, you are not going to get any surprises when you open it. There is no difference in nutritional value or how they cook. People have been eating fertilized eggs since chickens were domesticated, well actually before they were domesticated whenever they found a nest.

    As long as you don’t incubate the eggs what difference does the breed of the chickens mating matter?

    Having a rooster changes flock dynamics. It does not change how the hens lay, whether or not the hens go broody, anything like that. Some people would not have a flock without a rooster, some are extremely happy without one. The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs, everything is personal preference.

    Roosters eventually grow spurs, some bigger spurs than others. Hens can have spurs too, though they are seldom anywhere near as big as a rooster’s. Occasionally they can get pretty big though. All chickens, roosters and hens, have claws which can also be weapons.

    Farmers have been raising chickens with a rooster in the flock and kids for thousands of years. Often the kids are the ones that gather eggs and take care of the chickens. I grew up on one of those farms and I took care of the chickens along with other chores. Sometimes a rooster or a broody hen will attack a person, adult or child. I never saw that from a rooster but I am sure it has happened. When you deal with living animals about anything can happen.

    I always recommend that people keep as few roosters as possible and still meet their goals, however many roosters that is. I don’t see where your goals include a rooster, so your number is probably zero. Chickens are not supposed to be stressful and the thought of a rooster is making you stressful. If it turns out to be a rooster, get rid of it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. birds4kids

    birds4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are not hatching what breed rooster is in the coop doesn't matter other than if you don't want a rooster.
     
  4. Grub Digger

    Grub Digger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Avatar, Ed, was one of 7 roosters from our batch of chicks. He was the only one that showed any manners with the girls, so he got to stay. Now he escorts them to the nesting boxes, adjusts the straw for them, and always lets them know when he finds something good to eat. He's also good with the kids. The other reason I kept him is because he has been warning the flock about hawks and other predators since he was 5 weeks old. If you've got a good rooster, keep him, just eat the eggs. If you've got a potentially mean rooster, there's always freezer camp.
     
  5. davef72

    davef72 Out Of The Brooder

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    East Texas
    @Ridgerunner This is what I needed to know. Thank you for the help. Again, I'm new to this, and I just want to be as successful as possible.
    The wife got home before I did last night, and she said the girls were as happy as can be. They are loving the coop, and all the freedom.

    @Grub Digger thank you for the advice. I'll try to tame this guy and make sure he is as tame as possible.

    @birds4kids I never thought about it this way. I appreciate it.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    If you get only one cockerel out of all those chicks, you're very lucky. but it's not the end of the world if you end up with a cockerel unless you have strict ordinances against keeping roosters.

    Fertilized eggs are not any different than unfertilized as far as eating. If you get it in your mind that you want to try later having one of the hens hatch some eggs and you don't want cross breed results, then dispose of all eggs you don't know were not fertilized Ameraucana eggs. I will put the rooster with the hen of the same breed once or twice a day for a week and then collect just her eggs for incubation, storing them in a cool place until placing under the broody hen. Usually, I wait until I know a hen is about to go broody before going to all the bother of mating the roo with the hen of the same breed and collecting the eggs.

    That's how you get around the cross breed problem. Now to address the aggression and spur problem.

    Not all cockerels are aggressive, and like Ridge pointed out, you can get rid of any aggressive ones. I had three cockerels this year from hatchery sexing errors, and I ended up giving away the two aggressive ones and keeping the gentle one.

    Spurs can be dangerous, but it takes a while for them to develop. By the time the cockerel is a year old, the spurs may be long enough to either file down with a Dremmel or remove by twisting off with pliers. What you get when you twist off the horny outer spur is a fleshy nub about half an inch long that hardens up in a day. Some bleeding may occur, but it's not a problem. The spurs will grow back in a year and you may want to remove them again.

    Some hens grow spurs that are as long as rooster spurs and require attention just the same as rooster spurs. I have one such hen and I just keep her spurs rounded off instead of removing them since she isn't going to be mounting any hens thereby endangering them with her spurs as a rooster might.

    So, there you go. It will be interesting to see if your Ameraucana does turn out to be a roo like you think.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Post a pic of the bird in question and we can confirm gender for you.

    If it's a male, I say get rid of it. You only wanted hens to start with, you're a new chicken owner, and you have a small child. To me, all those things say "hen only flock" for a year or so. Get some experience with hens before you add the dimension of a rooster. You're not obligated to keep that bird forever just cause someone mis sexed it.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Part of rooster ownership includes IMO training him. You want him to be submissive to all members of the family, including your 6 y.o. If you can't accomplish that, then he must go. BUT, having a rooster in the flock can be highly enjoyable if you have the room, if the neighbors (and you) aren't upset by the crowing, and, especially if you'd eventually like to hatch some of your own eggs. My rooster comes to talk to me when ever I'm outside. He's a chatty fellow, tends his girls well. To dominance train a roo, you want him to yield position to you. If he's pulling feathers at nape of pullet's neck, he's already thinking about breeding. Those early months can be a pain in the neck (pun intended). But, where ever he happens to be, you want to purposefully walk through that spot to make him move. If you give treats to the girls, make him back off until the girls have eaten first. You can herd him around a bit with a slender stick, perhaps a thin fiberglass fence post. You never hit him with it, just lightly tap his heiney, and he'll get the message to move along. Herd him around a bit every day until he figures out that where you happen to be, he shouldn't be there! My rule, is never allow a roo within arm's reach. I've relaxed this standard a bit with my well trained avatar EE roo, and will occasionally hand feed him, and he's gentler than the girls when taking food from my hand. He knows his position, knows his name, and responds to command some what. If he's chasing down a pullet, I'll just speak his name, and take a step towards him. He'll immediately stop, look at me, and decide he has some where else to be!) When you have the method figured out, have your 6 y.o. practice the same under your supervision. Teach her to be calm around the chickens. Not to run when around the chickens, Not to flap her arms around, or use a high excited voice. She should use this behavior whether you have a roo or not.
     
  9. davef72

    davef72 Out Of The Brooder

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    East Texas
    @lazy gardener
    @donrae
    @azygous

    So I got several pics of the suspect. He...err IT is the lighter colored Americauna. I attempted to get a few pics next to other (hopefully) hens

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Let me know what y'all think. Thank you in advance...
    All these birds are 8 weeks old now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    I say girl.
     

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