how do i best manage my rooster population?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chic_a_lay, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. chic_a_lay

    chic_a_lay Chirping

    Dec 12, 2011
    so what's the best way to manage my roosters?
    i'm still new to raising chickens and managing my flock.
    i tried to increase my flock last fall and for diversity i incubated some eggs i got from a friend.
    now, i've ended up with more new roosters than i did hens.
    i've watched these new roosters mature and they are very wild and too rough on my older hens.
    they seem to have some game bird in them somewhere and will constantly fight and chase my girls around and around each taking turns and running the hens ragged.
    very unlike my ol' dominecker, who is gentle and very selective and even protective of his favorites.
    i recently found a hen in total distress from their constant attention. she was for lack of a better description "crying" and trying to hide from them. i figured out what was happening and i finally got them all seperated and back to their neutral corners.
    so much for one big happy flock.
    so, now i know i have to cull at least couple of the newbies, but,
    i would like to keep a couple of the new guys since i do have quite a lot of hens (24).
    what's the best ratio of roosters to hens?
    what do i look for in keeping them?

    • one has a lot of game bird in him and picks fights a lot, but, he's small like the hens.
    • another is extremely beautiful, but, is very large, very mean and very rough with my girls.
    • number three is solid white has a nice comb with a full body and very heavy for his size, he's less aggressive than the first two.
    • ...and the other i saved from an attack by an unrelated hen that nearly killed it when it was 3 days old and i nursed him back from death for weeks till his poor little head grew back together, since i saved it once, i really can't kill it now.
    which kinda brings me to my main question....
    when you hatch a new brood of chickies at can you tell if one is a hen or a rooster?
    i mean, earlier, like before they crow (maybe not @birth but by 8 weeks or so instead of 12 or more).
    my flock is mostly for eggs, but, i'm not adverse to butchering and using the meat, but, by the time they crow, the roosters are tough and if i try to guess too early, i might eat my hens.
    ...and, if it's too late and they are tough, what do i do with them then?
    i live in a small farm town and everyone has chickens, so, i can't just give them away, and i can't drive down a back road and set them free. that's just wrong.
    what a dilemma.
    anyway, enough rambling.
    if you have any anecdotes, constructive helpful hints and/or advice i'd love to hear from ya!
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    What to look for in keeping a rooster---for me it's all about temperment first. I wouldn't keep any rooster who is human aggressive and if he's not nice to the hens *after a reasonable adolescence* he goes. Remeber, temperment is inherited--are these genes you want to be passing on? Nice roosters are easy to find.

    20 weeks is considered an appropriate age to butcher a dual purpose rooster. Yeah, he's going to have some texture, more than a store bought cornish cross, but I can't see a carcass of any size on an 8 week old dual purpose roo. So, if you plan to eat them, grow them out. Adapt your cooking methods--low and slow, the crockpot or pressure cooker is your friend!--and enjoy the fruits of your labors.

    With 24 hens you only need two roosters, if you're looking for optimal fertility.

    Roosters usually do fine in a bachelor pad, with no hens to fight over they may squabble a little but no long drawn out fighting.

    You can usually tell a roo around 8 weeks. At that point you're looking at comb and wattle development, and leg thickness. Too young for sex feathers. I'd say go to the what breed or gender section and spend time looking at the posts, look at the pics and then the responses. Some folks are kind enough to update in several months when the gender is really known, to let us know if we were right! Look at enough pics and you'll develop an eye for picking a rooster out of a bunch.
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by