Help me pick the rooster to keep?

annampet

Songster
Jul 2, 2018
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Short back story: We incubated 12 eggs, 11 hatched and we got 4 roosters.

We plan on keeping one rooster and 4-5 hens and I'm not sure which rooster to keep. They're 14 weeks old so it's time to make a decision. The chicks are a brahma cross.
Rooster #1 - is a brahma/leghorn cross, he's risen as top rooster (I think, he's the only one that crows), styled like a leghorn with a large red comb and wattles, mostly white.
Roosters #2, 3, 4 - are brahma/americana, they are white with black feathers and tail feathers are starting to have some green/blue coloring to them, one has heavily feathered feet the other two are lightly feathered feet.

I live in NE Michigan, winters can be cold with occasional wind chills in the -20's or lower. I'm worried the leghorn will get frostbite and worried that the feathered feet will be an issue with moisture. I love the feathered feet though and the fact that the americana cross have small combs.

Is there a way to choose!???

ETA: None of the roosters are showing aggression or bad rooster behavior at this point. If there was one with a bad attitude, he'd definitely be on the list to cut out.
 
Sep 24, 2018
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I would suggest keeping the one that seems to be in charge. Whenever I've gotten a mean rooster, it's been the ones who used to be below another rooster. I once had two Wyandotte roosters that I had to choose between. I went with my domanant guy, and he's been the BEST flock rooster I've ever had. I've had him for four years and he's NEVER attacked me.

I also have two Leghorn hens. I live in northern Illinois, and we have some crazy winters. Both of my hens do just fine in the cold, and they are wonderful to have around.
 

DobieLover

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Jul 23, 2018
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I think any of your cockerels would be fine in the cold weather. Just be sure to have great ventilation and no drafts across the birds where they roost.

Who to keep depends on what you are looking for in keeping a cockerel.
Do you have a rooster currently?
Are you looking to pass on certain attributes in future breeding?
Are you looking for a flock protector?
Do you have children or someone else who might not be well equipped to deal with aggression or threats of aggression when the chosen cockerel is the last man standing?

I elected to keep my beta cockerel and rehome the alpha. I chose the beta because he was exhibiting more of the "roosterly" behaviors I was looking for. He was showing early signs of being a good flock protector. He did show some mild dominance issues and has shown a little since he became the big man on campus. He jumped at me twice when I was using a cordless driver. He hates the sounds it makes. He ended up getting chased around the yard until I could give him a good goose for his behavior. I'm not afraid of him so I think that helps.
He is still coming along great and doing everything I wanted a rooster for. I chose him for the flock, not me. As long as he doesn't get any worse, he's welcome to stay.
I think you have to evaluate what you want in a rooster and then the choice becomes easier.
 

annampet

Songster
Jul 2, 2018
156
221
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NE Michigan
Great advice so far! Thank you! Let me answer some questions and elaborate. We have two young daughters, 4 and 6. So far they are confident around the flock and non of the males have given us any trouble. I know it's early on for the roo's though so I'm not dismissing potential future issues. My 6 YO has enough spunk to learn to stand up to them if needed, my 4 YO is a little more timid.

What am I looking for..good question. Probably more the flock protector at this point. I would allow breeding and hatching in the future just to grow new layers and retire the old girls. I'm a beginner so I'm not looking to start a breeding line.

We do not have a current rooster, so we'll be the one's enforcing manners.

Rooster #1, that I believe is top dog right now, does keep his head up a bit more than the rest, looks around more but I have yet to hear him give a warning, or call the flock to food. It may still be early for that though.

I also had two pullets taken today, I'm thinking fox or coyote. We free range and it's a risk we're taking but the flock will stay locked up when we're not home going forward as winter approaches. All 4 of the boys are still standing of course, wish that predator would have made my decision easier.
 

aart

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All 4 of the boys are still standing of course, wish that predator would have made my decision easier.
Chances are the bravest cockerel would have been the first speed bump(appetizer) on the way to the pullet buffet.

It's a hard choice and no guarantees, but I'd get the 'losers' on the grill soon while still tender.
Last group I had to decide on, I picked the largest for bigger cockerel carcasses on the next hatch, was a good decision. I had to work with him a bit, but he's been good.
 

NoFlyBackFarm

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Aug 6, 2018
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Chances are the bravest cockerel would have been the first speed bump(appetizer) on the way to the pullet buffet.

It's a hard choice and no guarantees, but I'd get the 'losers' on the grill soon while still tender.
Last group I had to decide on, I picked the largest for bigger cockerel carcasses on the next hatch, was a good decision. I had to work with him a bit, but he's been good.
That is a good idea.
 

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