Help! I think Nugget is a rooster!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Teacherpea, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. Teacherpea

    Teacherpea Out Of The Brooder

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    I need some major advice! [​IMG] This is our first time raising chickens... , and I'm starting to think that our B.O. Nugget is a rooster! My son said he heard her cockadoodledo the other morning, but I had yet to hear it. Then this morning when I went to let the girls out, I definitely heard her- twice! She is definitely bigger than the other girls, and her comb and wattles are really developed compared to the others. But, she doesn't have spurs. She's also one of the nicer chickens we have. My son held her and sang to her the other day and she started singing with him and almost fell asleep! I'm worried; I never planned on having a rooster. [​IMG] We started raising chickens for the eggs. I'm worried because I have two small children, and I've heard that roosters can be quite aggressive. Also, can we still eat the eggs? My husband and I teach, so we don't get home until late in the afternoon, so won't the eggs be fertilized by then? [​IMG] Now we're down to five layers... Seriously, this first-time chicken momma is stressing out! Help! (I'll try to get a better picture!)


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  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    The crow is a pretty clear sign that you have a rooster. Spurs aren't much of an indicator; some hens also grow spurs, and they develop later than other characteristics. Look for hackle and saddle feathers and upright stance, along with larger size. If you have others of this breed, the rooster's legs should be thicker.

    I have been eating fertile eggs most of my life -- and I have never cracked an egg to eat and found a half grown chick. Ever. The eggs must be incubated for a chick to develop, either in an incubator or under a hen for 3 weeks. I also routinely eat eggs which a hen has sat on for a day or two, when I have a broody. It takes longer than that to see development.

    There are some roosters that are agressive and even a danger to children, true. But there are also plenty of wonderful, tame, pet roosters. I actually think that a tame one makes the best pet. I know a member here who has had several tame, pet roosters over the years, who loved to cuddle in laps and have their wattles, etc. stroked. If I were you, I'd just keep an eye on things and give the fellow a chance. You may have a loving pet who will keep order in the flock, be his hens' leader, and maybe give you some chicks next year, if one of the hens goes broody! For kids, watching a mama hen hatch and raise chicks in with the flock (the roster often helps with this) is a great experience, and generally results in well taught, healthy chicks.
     
  3. Teacherpea

    Teacherpea Out Of The Brooder

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    You rock! Thanks so much; I tend to be quite the worrier, overall! [​IMG] But what exactly are the hackle and saddle feathers?
     
  4. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, that is a Buff Orpington rooster. You can tell by his long, pointed tail feathers (they're called "sickles"), pointed saddle feathers, and pointed hackle (neck) feathers. His big red comb and wattles, along with his crowing are also signs of a rooster. Even if he doesn't have spurs now, he will likely develop them in the next month or so.

    In answer to your other questions, you can eat the eggs even if you have a rooster. They may indeed be fertile if your rooster is mating the hens, but as long as you refrigerate them and don't let the hens sit on them, no embryos will develop. They will look and taste exactly like non-fertile eggs.

    Some roosters can be aggressive, while others aren't. Just make sure that you handle him, and he should be manageable. If he starts to get a little pushy, show your dominance to him by doing the following:

    • When you give your birds any treats, give them to the hens first. Let him eat last. This will make him understand that both you, and YOUR (not his) hens are in control.
    • If he looks like he wants to attack, grab him and pin him to the ground. Make him stay down as long as you want, This is somewhat like what a dominant rooster would do when it was controlling an unruly subordinate
    • When you're around him, randomly knock him off a roost or speedwalk towards him. Dominant roosters always keep other roosters on their toes.

    If, despite these measures, your rooster becomes aggressive, get rid of him. An aggressive rooster is very dangerous around children.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  5. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, Nugget is a rooster. The crowing, the irregular coloring, the large comb and wattles, and pointy saddle feathers are all signs of a rooster. Roosters don't start developing spurs until they are 5 to 6 months old or so, and some never develop them. Spurs are not all that a reliable of an indicator, as even hens can get them.

    Both roosters and hens can be gentle. I have gentle roosters, and gentle hens, as well as agressive roosters and hens. Temperament is not a reliable indicator of gender. Roosters can stay tame if you handle them often, but they can also become more aggressive if cuddled and handled because they think that they are dominant.

    A rooster will fertilize the eggs. However, there is nothing wrong with eating fertilized eggs. A fertilized egg will only start developing if its been sat on by a hen. You won't notice an obvious difference until its been sat on for three days.
     
  6. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    The hackle feathers are feathers on the neck, and the saddle feathers are feathers on the back near the tail. Saddle and hackle feathers have rounded ends and are broad in hens; in roosters, they are thinner and pointed. Roosters don't usually develop pointed saddle/hackle feathers until they are at least 12 weeks old, but once they do, that is a sure sign of a rooster.
     
  7. Teacherpea

    Teacherpea Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey everybody, thank you so much! I love you guys on here; everyone is so helpful! I'll try to post later and let you know how it goes. [​IMG]
     

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