How soon can I know the personality of a cockerel?

Phililorp

Chirping
Jul 16, 2020
60
82
50
My wife and I bought a straight run of black australorps and we have 9 left (well, one is a mystery breed). We aren't allowed to keep roosters here, but I don't think the rule is enforced because I hear roosters all the time. We're thinking of keeping one cockerel for breeding and protecting the flock from anything that somehow manages to get into the chicken run. We want to keep our most docile rooster (so it wont harass us when we enter the run) and then sell or barter the rest. Right now the chicks are about 4.5 weeks old and there is one that we believe is a boy because he has a red comb and already has waddles. He is always challenging others because I guess he wants to be at the top of the pecking order. Is it too early to know if he will be an aggressive rooster down the line that we should get rid of? At what age can we tell the personalities of roosters?
 

sloanbychoice

Songster
Dec 29, 2019
427
935
156
Wichita, Kansas
I believe with cockerels, you can never really know. They go through stages during their growth. Many are very sweet and cuddly, but once those hormones get kicking, they can turn into jerks really quick.
I wish there was a way to tell, but it just isn’t so.
One roo to eight hens is kind of on the borderline, just fyi, for overmating. Many people have it work out ok, but many people find there needs to be ten to fifteen hens to a cock in order to have enough “supply” for him.
Hope it works out whatever you decide!
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
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USA
Right now the chicks are about 4.5 weeks old and there is one that we believe is a boy because he has a red comb and already has waddles. He is always challenging others because I guess he wants to be at the top of the pecking order. Is it too early to know if he will be an aggressive rooster down the line that we should get rid of? At what age can we tell the personalities of roosters?
If he's challenging the other chicks, maybe he will just work out his energies with other chickens and leave you alone, or maybe he will later challenge you as well: I don't think there's any way to tell at this stage.

Some problems can be identified pretty early. I once had 4 cockerels, and one bit me anytime I reached for him or picked him up. The other 3 didn't. So of course Biter was the first one I decided to eat for dinner :)

But there are plenty of stories of nice friendly cockerels that cause problems when they reach maturity, so there does not seem to be any way to be sure of which young ones will stay nice.

In your case, I would just keep watching them, and be open to butchering or rehoming any individual cockerels that cause problems. By "problems," I mean how they act toward people, or toward the females, or if they have any physical issues you would not want passed on to their chicks (crossed beak, for example.)

I can see why you would want to keeping a cockerel for breeding. But I would not count on him to protect the hens-- any predator that can kill a hen can also kill a rooster :(
 

Sammi_0411

Songster
Jun 20, 2020
897
1,603
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That could just be working out pecking order mine are 4 weeks do same .... have u got a pic of full bodies and combs?
 

lovesfarms

Songster
Sep 6, 2016
443
1,213
181
Hello,
Someone's he shows 'rooster'at a very young age and some aren't as aggressive until they are older. If you have several roosters, they will show it at a younger age because they don't have to be very old till they themselves know they have competitors and want to out do each other. I had some straight run Easter Eggers a couple years ago and at 2 weeks old the tiniest and cutest one displayed signs that he was 'running for president'! one thing that fascinated me was the way he carried himself straight up. The first one out of the tub... And that year the roosters bloodied each other real young
 

OneHappyRooster

Crowing
Apr 5, 2020
4,555
8,261
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This Side Of The Galaxy
Give them some more time. Weed out the ones that show bad traits. I'd say it will be a bit longer before you can say that the nice cockerels will actually turn out nice.

One roo to eight hens is kind of on the borderline, just fyi, for overmating.
My cockerels have done fine all these years with as few as three hens each at a time. None have ever had as many as eight. A cockerel is going to choose his favourite, and she will get the brunt of it no matter how many.
It's more about space, IMO.
 

Phililorp

Chirping
Jul 16, 2020
60
82
50
Thanks so much for the replies everyone :)
I can see why you would want to keeping a cockerel for breeding. But I would not count on him to protect the hens-- any predator that can kill a hen can also kill a rooster :(
The main predators I'm worried about are monitor lizards and pythons. I guess a rooster wouldn't stand a chance against either of those anyways lol. Cats are also an issue but I'm hoping they will be afraid of our chickens once they chickens are full sized.

My cockerels have done fine all these years with as few as three hens each at a time. None have ever had as many as eight. A cockerel is going to choose his favourite, and she will get the brunt of it no matter how many.
It's more about space, IMO.
We have 96 sq feet available, so I would hope it's enough space. I guess we don't even know how many chickens we will end up with because we don't know how many are pullets.

And that year the roosters bloodied each other real young
Yikes if I notice one bloodying another then we will definitely take action right away and get rid of the cockerel. I've noticed some of them starting to peck at each other so I will keep a close eye out for blood. We live in a really humid climate so I'm worried about infections.
 

lovesfarms

Songster
Sep 6, 2016
443
1,213
181
Thanks so much for the replies everyone :)

The main predators I'm worried about are monitor lizards and pythons. I guess a rooster wouldn't stand a chance against either of those anyways lol. Cats are also an issue but I'm hoping they will be afraid of our chickens once they chickens are full sized.


We have 96 sq feet available, so I would hope it's enough space. I guess we don't even know how many chickens we will end up with because we don't know how many are pullets.


Yikes if I notice one bloodying another then we will definitely take action right away and get rid of the cockerel. I've noticed some of them starting to peck at each other so I will keep a close eye out for blood. We live in a really humid climate so I'm worried about infections.
I was at my job the first day it happened, when I came home it looked as if a wild animal got at them with food and water scattered all around. They were to Young tell tell the difference by comb, feathers or crowing.
 

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