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How do I keep a rooster with the rest of my flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by VentuckyChick, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. VentuckyChick

    VentuckyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, one of the chicks I adopted for my broody Cuckoo Maran has turned out to be a rooster. We have tried to find a new home for him but have had no luck yet, so we are thinking about keeping him. I didn't want to deal with a rooster since I've never had one before; the whole mating/fertilized egg thing freaks me out. He is four months old (and beautiful! He's a Barred Rock) and I just integrated him and his "sister" into my existing flock last weekend. He is getting picked on a little by my adult girls who are about one year old now, but he's holding his own.

    So here's what I need to know:
    • If I collect the eggs every day and refrigerate them, does that stop any chick development so that we can still sell/eat fertilized eggs, or do I have to candle every egg I collect?
    • Is there a point at which I have to separate the roo from the flock or can they just live together all the time? I guess this is a mating question; I've never had to deal with this.
    • Does having a roo increase broodiness amongst the flock?
    • When does he get spurs and do I have to trim them?
    • Should I try to hold him everyday to make him tamer and nicer?
    • Anything else you pros can think of?

    Any advice you all can provide is greatly appreciated! Thanks.
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    • If I collect the eggs every day and refrigerate them, does that stop any chick development so that we can still sell/eat fertilized eggs, or do I have to candle every egg I collect? You may well have eaten fertilized eggs and never knew it. Fertilization is something you have to look hard to find. Embryos do not start to develop until the egg is consistently kept at a very precise temperature, around 101 degrees. Too warm and the embryo will die, too cool and it won't develop at all. So for development to occur the egg has to be brooded, either under a broody hen, or in an incubator. If you are collecting eggs for eating you have absolutely nothing to worry about. You can refrigerate the eggs or keep them at room temperature - either way they will not develop - unless you keep your house close to 100 degrees at all times.
    • Is there a point at which I have to separate the roo from the flock or can they just live together all the time? I guess this is a mating question; I've never had to deal with this. He can stay with the flock 24/7, and will be a better flock protector for them if he does. However, how many hens do you have? If you have too few, they may get over-mated. If you have 5 or more hens, you should be fine. I have 14 hens and one rooster and none of the hens shows any sign of being over-mated.
    • Does having a roo increase broodiness amongst the flock? No. Broodiness is caused by hormones. A hen with no rooster around is equally likely to go broody, as one where there is a rooster.
    • When does he get spurs and do I have to trim them? I don't know if there is a specific age when spurs appear. Both pullets and cockerels have visible spur "buds" at hatch and it takes awhile for the spurs to grow out on the rooster. I've heard that a hen will even occasionally grow spurs, although I've never experienced this. My 8-month-old rooster has enlarged spur buds but no spurs per se, as of yet.
    • Should I try to hold him everyday to make him tamer and nicer? You will get differing opinions on this. In my opinion it is better not to handle him, as he can focus better on taking care of the flock if he is not being handled. If I needed to handle mine to treat for illness, I would be able to grab and pick him up, but I don't typically pick him up.
    • Anything else you pros can think of? I lived in the city for years where I was limited to hens. One of the greatest joys for me after moving to the country was being able to have a rooster. I love to watch mine in action. He is constantly vigilant, looking for potential threats. I've been there when a bird of prey flew over and he sounded the alarm, that sent the hens scurrying to find a good hiding place. He is constantly on the lookout for treats for them also, and won't eat treats I give out, preferring instead to share them with his hens. And I love being able to hatch out chicks to increase my flock, whenever I wish to. I have chicks hatching this morning, plus a hen went broody yesterday so I just put 3 eggs under her and am looking forward to watching her raise them in a few weeks time (if all goes well).
     
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    The eggs will be fine to eat and will not develop unless incubated.
    It will only be necessary to remove the rooster from the flock if his 'attentions' are causing damage to the hens.
    Having a rooster has no impact on broodiness.
    Spur development varies from rooster to rooster and breed to breed. Some people trim spurs - many do not.
    Make pets of your hens and treat roosters like chickens is a good adage. Overly socialized roosters frequently have little respect for humans.
    A rooster can be a great addition to a flock or a pain in the neck. If he becomes an aggravation, get rid of him.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  4. loanwizard

    loanwizard Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you collect clean and refrigerate, no worries about development, nor if you leave them on the counter uncleaned for 2 weeks. To develop, they need 100 degree constant temperature and to be rotated at least twice per day. Every egg that I have, eat and sell, are fertilized. There is no difference in taste.

    Leave them all together. He is their protector.

    If you collect eggs daily, there is no chance for them to become broody really. If they do, throw them out of the nesting box.

    I have never trimmed a spur, but it is a possibility if your girls plumage starts to look raggedy.

    Personal preference as to holding him or not. I have 85 layers, so no, I don't handle mine. If he is mean, kill him and eat him or show him who is boss one time by holding him down in front of his girls for a minute or two.

    Good luck and have fun,

    Shawn
     
  5. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    Most of the time having one rooster with the flock doesn't cause any problems. I really enjoy roosters.

    I generally agree with how the others have answered your questions. People often advise that having a rooster loose around children under age 5 could be a concern. Although there are some roosters and younger children who do fine together. You don't need to pick up the rooster every day to tame him. If you are concerned about him growing into a kicking rooster, he may have more respect if he is a little wary and wants to stay out of your way. (Although there are plenty of us around who have a rooster who we treat like a pet who have never been aggressive towards a human.) You may not feel the need to trim his spurs even after he is a couple years old, but if you do there are demonstration videos on Youtube.
     
  6. VentuckyChick

    VentuckyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WOW---thanks to all of you so much!! I really, REALLY appreciate the thoroughness of your answers. I'm sure I'll be back with more threads as our roo adventure moves forward; all of this gives us a great start! Thank you!
     
  7. crazyhen

    crazyhen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree, You may have to trim the Roo,s toenails and spurs if they grow long. They can inflict a nasty cut on the backs or sides of the hens. Most of the time I do not handle a roo too much but once in a while it is good when little for you to gently force him to a sitting position. That tells him you are the boss. Otherwise I leave him alone except to check him. I have only had one really mean roo. Usually the trait is inherited from him father.
    With eggs, I do gather daily and refrigerate them. Hens if they are of a type to go broody, will go broody with or without eggs or roos around. Believe me, this has been my yr. for broodies. My hens turned one in the Spring and I have broodies off and on all summer. I felt sorry for them, You'd take one off the nest and she would just sit wherever you placed her. Sometimes they would only eat when I ducked their beaks in water to get them out of the stupor they were in.
    Roos can be fun or trouble its according to the roo. Gloria Jean
     

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