If a rooster has no spurs, is he young?


12 Years
Feb 15, 2008
I have little experience with roosters, but this morning one showed up in my backyard with his eye on the girls. Someone either dropped him off for a country life, or he has come from a neighboring property.

In any event, he is quite skittish and has spent all day hiding in my bushes.

I notice that his legs are clean, no spurs and his tail is not fully feathered. He has ear tufts so I am thinking americana mix of some sort.

If a rooster has no spurs, does that mean he is young? Or do spurs depend on the rooster breed?


8 Years
Feb 23, 2011
Most roosters grow spurs throughout their entire life - the longer the spurs, the older the rooster (that is, as long as the spurs were never trimmed), although I don't think Cubalayas grow spurs. My roosters started growing noticeable spurs/"nubs" when they were 7 or 8 months old. If his tail is not fully feathered, then, yes, he is pretty young. Although they can breed at 5-6 months of age, it takes roosters about a year to be fully grown and feathered.


Crossing the Road
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
I processed some roosters yesterday. The one year old had spur buds about the same size as the 7 month olds, so it can vary by rooster. By breed, they should have developed the same, but that older one was definitely lagging. I've had hens develop spur buds too, but the spurs never grew.

I also agree about tail development. It takes a while for the sickle feathers to grow. Those are those really long sweeping tail feathers. Not all breeds grow those sickle feathers either.

You might want to look up the difference in Ameraucanas and Araucanas. Araucanas are rumpless (no tails) and have tufts. Ameraucanas have tails and muffs. If that one is based on Araucana instead of Ameraucana, he may never have a tail. Just because he has muffs or tufts does not guarantee that he has the blue egg gene, but there is certainbly a possibility.
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Anachronistic Anomaly
9 Years
May 11, 2011
West Virginia
My Coop
Good question and good information so far. Our New Hampshire cockerel (5.5 months old) has small spur nubs and nothing more. Our welsummer hen (10 months old) has larger spurs than he does. Hers are blunt and about 1/3 inch long. So it seems he'll probably overtake her eventually.


10 Years
Nov 22, 2009
Central Oregon Coast
Always love to see photos of what we are chatting about? People are constantly dropping off cockerel's (young roosters) at our farm too, as soon as they figure out they have a rooster and not a hen! Most people ask us if we will take them but some don't and poof we discover a new one has moved into one of the coops.

As previously stated, roosters spurs grow over time. The lack of full feathering could indicate he is young, hasn't filled his feathers in from moulting or even that he perhaps had poor nutrition where he came from. More then likely he is just young.

I browsed the Internet and someone said the Speckled Sussex is naturally spur-less? A little more research shows that some chickens or various breeds have been specially bred by individuals to be spur-less but with everything it is not 100%. In my search I found many people asking about removing or trimming the rooster spurs. It never dawned on me to trim the roosters spurs to keep him from harming the hens, don't know that I would feel comfortable doing that. Luckily we have a lot of hens the roos can choose from but when they do find a "favorite" hen and we notice she has a bare patch on her back we slap some pine tar on her and she stops being a favorite!

We have at least 2 mix breed hens with spurs, yes, hens! Freaked me out when I first noticed a few years ago, while I was doing one of our monthly treatments for scaly leg mites. I thought we had roosters hiding out in the flock.

I am sure they are hens as they have never crowed and the roosters treat them like every other hen
I couldn't say for sure however if they actually lay eggs. They do sit on nests but we have never hung out and made sure they actually laid an egg. At last count we have approximately 100 free range chickens and 7 of those are roosters or cockerels, far too many hens to watch every one laying eggs. We plan to cull out a couple of the cockerels soon. We also have 7 other roosters, 3 bantam are in individual chicken tractors with their ladies, 3 other bantam roosters are in Big Reds pen with their ladies awaiting me to build them their own chicken tractors or for the grass and vegetation to grow back in one of the empty pheasant pens. ...side story: My father has Alzheimer's and one day while I was away he got it in his head, since we sold all the pheasants, he should clear out all the natural vegetation from the pens . Now we have nothing but mud in all the pens!! Argh!

Big Red is our once beautiful big red rooster who is now pretty old and showing it. He came to us with a mangled foot, couldn't stand on a roost and battled bumble foot. Now he has great difficulty just getting around or defending himself so he and his favorite lady were moved into one of the covered pheasant pens for his protection. We cull out our Cockerels, for the safety of the hens and each other but we don't cull out our old hens or roosters. We pull the cockerels from the flock and put them in coops in the pheasant pens then first we take their pictures and try to re-home them on craigslist. If we are unsuccessful we have a neighbor, Cody, on a farm down the road that takes them and butchers them himself. We are terrible farmers because we don't eat our own animals. We do eat meat, we just buy it from the grocery store, can't bring ourselves to eat someone we know, and love!

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