How to pick the rooster that stays?

Stephine

Songster
May 30, 2016
923
558
219
Sonoma
So, little Henrietta turned out to be Henry and now I have to make a decision. I have 15 12 week old chicks, one is a wanted roo, a Welsummer. They are all different breeds, most large, dual purpose, including 4 Brahmas. I ordered a Welsummer rooster to be easier on the smaller hens in the flock (Welsummer being the smallest breed). Now Henry is a buff Brahma, of course, the largest breed.
My Welsummer roo has been all roo from the get go. Always coming right up to me, always looking out, crowing at 8 weeks... When there is something scary all the hens crowed together and he stands in front and starts to approach the scary thing to investigate. He has bitten me a couple of times when still quite little and I gave him a good peck once, which send him off with a surprised scream and he has been respectful to me since. He doesn't peck at me, let's me pick him up easily.
Now Henry behaves just like some of the other shy hens. No rooster behavior whatsoever, no crowing, approach, nothing.
So which o e do I keep? Does my Welsummer's behavior indicate good rooster qualities or trouble in the making?
Will Henry likely develop into a nice, useful rooster, or will he be a coward? (they will free range so it matters). Is Henry too big to mate with the smaller breed hens and ens up hurting them?
How long can I wait before giving one of them away?
 

Elky

In the Brooder
Jun 13, 2016
98
8
21
In the Chicken Run
If it were me personally I would keep the look out roo who does his job. But if he is aggressive at all get rid of him. My aggressive roo wont let me get in the coup without a stick to keep him away with
 

dekel18042

Songster
Jul 18, 2013
2,195
299
241
Pennsylvania
So, little Henrietta turned out to be Henry and now I have to make a decision. I have 15 12 week old chicks, one is a wanted roo, a Welsummer. They are all different breeds, most large, dual purpose, including 4 Brahmas. I ordered a Welsummer rooster to be easier on the smaller hens in the flock (Welsummer being the smallest breed). Now Henry is a buff Brahma, of course, the largest breed.
My Welsummer roo has been all roo from the get go. Always coming right up to me, always looking out, crowing at 8 weeks... When there is something scary all the hens crowed together and he stands in front and starts to approach the scary thing to investigate. He has bitten me a couple of times when still quite little and I gave him a good peck once, which send him off with a surprised scream and he has been respectful to me since. He doesn't peck at me, let's me pick him up easily.
Now Henry behaves just like some of the other shy hens. No rooster behavior whatsoever, no crowing, approach, nothing.
So which o e do I keep? Does my Welsummer's behavior indicate good rooster qualities or trouble in the making?
Will Henry likely develop into a nice, useful rooster, or will he be a coward? (they will free range so it matters). Is Henry too big to mate with the smaller breed hens and ens up hurting them?
How long can I wait before giving one of them away?

If it is feasible I would keep both for a while and watch their behavior very carefully before making a decision. While you want one that is excellent for the girls you want to avoid any and all human aggression, at least I do.
As far as size, a funny but true story (which taught me not to interfere.), We had a young lf cockerel my husband culled because he was rough with the bantam hens. Our other roosters were great with them and although part of the flock they mostly ignored them.
Then one day I saw a tiny OEGB hen go up to my huge rooster and squat. He bred her with no complaints from her, not even a mussed feather. That is the only time I ever saw that happen and she definitely went after him. Normally he paid attention to only the bigger hens. So now I don't worry about it if the rooster is gentle.
I've never seen the rooster I have now breed a bantam.
So if the bigger rooster is better, that is the one I would keep, but if I wanted to hatch eggs I would pay attention to which eggs I wanted to hatch.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
22,760
36,856
1,096
southern Michigan
They are still very young! Keep both cockrels longer and evaluate their behavior as they grow. Your Brahma just isn't maturing as fast as the Wellie, and that's all right. Walk through the group every day, making sure that your boys move out of your way and don't threaten you at all. Right now you think the Wellie is the best choice, but really it's too soon to know. I think that your Wellie might be developing some human aggressive tendencies; really hope not, but give everyone more time. If you only want the Welsummer cockrel, and he turns out badly, will you then want the Brahma, or will only hens be your choice? Mary
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,829
10,914
636
western South Dakota
I do agree on decision based on rooster behavior.

But one should also consider physical formation. With the biggest consideration is to straight and regular confirmation. Check the beaks, are they straight, do they close well, are they even on both sides. Check the scull, is it wide? Check the feet and legs, they should have good straight confirmation, the foot should be well formed. Check the thickness of the breast and thighs. Are the feathers shiny and bright. Is the animal prone to lice or mites, don't pick those. Weight the birds for a couple of months, poor weight gainers are expensive to keep, they take more feed to get to full size. Stretch out the wings, and look for good feathers and regular features. Even if they are just riff raft hatchery birds, look up the standards and see what that breed should have. Perhaps you don't care about an irregular comb, but other features should represent the breed.

A high quality rooster can really add to your flock, down the road.

Mrs K
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,626
31,987
1,092
On the MN prairie.
They are still very young! Keep both cockrels longer and evaluate their behavior as they grow. Your Brahma just isn't maturing as fast as the Wellie, and that's all right. Walk through the group every day, making sure that your boys move out of your way and don't threaten you at all. Right now you think the Wellie is the best choice, but really it's too soon to know. I think that your Wellie might be developing some human aggressive tendencies; really hope not, but give everyone more time. If you only want the Welsummer cockrel, and he turns out badly, will you then want the Brahma, or will only hens be your choice? Mary


I do agree on decision based on rooster behavior.

But one should also consider physical formation. With the biggest consideration is to straight and regular confirmation. Check the beaks, are they straight, do they close well, are they even on both sides. Check the scull, is it wide? Check the feet and legs, they should have good straight confirmation, the foot should be well formed. Check the thickness of the breast and thighs. Are the feathers shiny and bright. Is the animal prone to lice or mites, don't pick those. Weight the birds for a couple of months, poor weight gainers are expensive to keep, they take more feed to get to full size. Stretch out the wings, and look for good feathers and regular features. Even if they are just riff raft hatchery birds, look up the standards and see what that breed should have. Perhaps you don't care about an irregular comb, but other features should represent the breed.

A high quality rooster can really add to your flock, down the road.

Mrs K
What Folly's Place and Mrs. K. said. I also want to ask what are your goals for your flock? (I'm going to pretend that both roosters have wonderful personalities and good conformation here.) Do you have chickens for eggs, meat, or both? According to the McMurray website, Wellies are better for egg production, roosters weighing around 6 lbs. when mature. Their Light Brahmas (I would guess they'd be similar to the buffs?) will weigh about 12 lbs. If it were my flock, I'd be going for the Brahma because I'm partly breeding for more meat on my birds. Someone else may pick the Wellie for egg production. I would think twice about keeping either of them if they showed further signs of human aggression. Especially if you have kids.
 

Stephine

Songster
May 30, 2016
923
558
219
Sonoma
Thank you everyone!
I really just want friendly healthy happy chickens that give us a good number of eggs. I couldn't eat our birds, and am not considering showing them. They are hatchery "riff raff" all of them. We were hoping to raise a few of our own chicken mutts in the future to replace lost hens as needed. But that may or may not happen. We mainly need the rooster to protect the flock a bit - we are on a creek and have everything from cougars to foxes and all the other usual suspects including three types of hawks.
I originally actually wanted to get a Brahma rooster instead of the Welsummer, but the thought of him mating with the smaller breeds (Welsummer, Plymouth Rock, Sussex) made me nervous, I don't want the hens to get hurt.
I'll wait as long as I can, not sure how long that is though - I want to seperate them before they start fighting...
 

smellslikechaos

In the Brooder
Jul 9, 2016
32
3
16
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Thank you everyone!
I really just want friendly healthy happy chickens that give us a good number of eggs. I couldn't eat our birds, and am not considering showing them. They are hatchery "riff raff" all of them. We were hoping to raise a few of our own chicken mutts in the future to replace lost hens as needed. But that may or may not happen. We mainly need the rooster to protect the flock a bit - we are on a creek and have everything from cougars to foxes and all the other usual suspects including three types of hawks.
I originally actually wanted to get a Brahma rooster instead of the Welsummer, but the thought of him mating with the smaller breeds (Welsummer, Plymouth Rock, Sussex) made me nervous, I don't want the hens to get hurt.
I'll wait as long as I can, not sure how long that is though - I want to seperate them before they start fighting...


There's a chance they could coexist peacefully, if you end up deciding you want both. Sometimes roos who were raised together will tolerate each other at maturity as well. You'll just have to watch them.
 

Stephine

Songster
May 30, 2016
923
558
219
Sonoma
Th
There's a chance they could coexist peacefully, if you end up deciding you want both. Sometimes roos who were raised together will tolerate each other at maturity as well. You'll just have to watch them.


I worry that in the long run two roosters would be to much attention for 13 hens. I am glad to hear they might get along just fine though until they are mature (or even beyond) and we can see their adult behaviors. We'll be sad to see one of them go. Funny that you had a Henrietta turn out to be a "Roorietta" too. Of course, for me it was my favorite name given to my favorite chick. Should have known...
 

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