Mail-Order Chicks on Their Way but I am confused???

analyticalblonde

Songster
Apr 30, 2018
378
1,033
237
Tooele, UT
Hi All!

Well, I finally took to leap after reading up on just about all I can maintain in my head and ordered 18 chicks (all sexed females) of different breeds. Blue/Black/Splash Ameraucanas (3), Lavender Orpington (3), Barred Plymouth Rock (3), Buff Orpington (3), Silver Laced Wyandotte (3), and New Hampshire Red (3). They will arrive the week of March 25th.

This is my confusion...I know there is a chance that choosing sexed females is not a full guarantee and that I might end up with a cockerel, maybe two, and I won't know which breed and its temperament will potentially turn out being a cockerel. I chose only breeds that are known to be docile, except for maybe the Wyandotte. From my reading, "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens" as well as on this forum, it is said, "at 3 to 8 weeks, depending upon the breed, peck-order fighting will get serious and sexual activity will start. If you haven't already done so, it's time to separate the cockerels from the pullets or at least to pare down the number of cockerels to a reasonable ratio for the number of pullets."

So, the potential ratio would be 1:17 assuming no deaths but I'm sure there will be or, 2:16 with the same potential deaths of One-Day Old chicks.

Here are my questions/concerns:

1) Why do I have to separate the cockerel at this time from the pullets if chickens are supposed to be flock animals?
2) I am kind of hoping I do get a cockerel because we have ~2 acres, with NO trees for protection, and have hawks, hawks, and hawks. I would like that "Alarm" system in place to protect the flock. But, is it naive of me to keep the cockerel when there is a possible chance he could create total mayhem to me and the flock?
3) I have done only research on hens and have no clue about roosters. If I do end up with a cockerel or two, should I just cull it (them) since this is my first rodeo?
4) Because I selected docile breeds (except for maybe the Wyandotte), does that docile nature known for the pullets/hens apply to the cockerels/roosters as well?

Your help and advice is greatly appreciated!
 

IamRainey

Crowing
Aug 22, 2017
2,556
10,072
486
Los Angeles (Woodland Hills); gardening zone 9B
I ordered and paid for females and my Maude turned out to be Monsieur Maurice.

I didn't recognize that he was a roo until he was well older than 8 weeks old. This means he was continually with his female flock mates and with my 2 older hens. There was no problem I identified.

M. Maurice is a Black Copper Marans. I have no idea how that breed is rated for docility. M. Maurice, however, is pretty aggressive despite my attempts to "tame" him.

I don't know who you ordered your chicks from but My Pet Chicken will refund the price of a chick if it turns out to have been wrongly sexed. I love My Pet Chicken. They're very personal. They always respond to me quickly and by reading my email and composing specific answers rather than copying in some boilerplate. And they're really stand up in the way they conduct business.
 

BuffOrps32

Free Ranging
Nov 26, 2018
527
12,065
592
Elementclan
1) Why do I have to separate the cockerel at this time from the pullets if chickens are supposed to be flock animals?
It's really for the pullets protection, especially with more aggressive cockerels. I have never done it myself, so don't worry to much until then.

2) I am kind of hoping I do get a cockerel because we have ~2 acres, with NO trees for protection, and have hawks, hawks, and hawks. I would like that "Alarm" system in place to protect the flock. But, is it naive of me to keep the cockerel when there is a possible chance he could create total mayhem to me and the flock?
No, cockerels are very good protectors. If he is aggressive, you should get rid of him but a rooster is one of the best ways to defend a flock. The chance he will cause mayhem is low.

3) I have done only research on hens and have no clue about roosters. If I do end up with a cockerel or two, should I just cull it (them) since this is my first rodeo?
Depends, if you have a nicely temperament one then you could keep. But since it iss your first rodeo, if it is aggressive you should cull or sell.

4) Because I selected docile breeds (except for maybe the Wyandotte), does that docile nature known for the pullets/hens apply to the cockerels/roosters as well?
Yes, roosters do have hormones differences but they do tend to follow breed standard. However, some do cause trouble. This is not a good reason to cull if it is a kind bird.
 

Peppercorngal

Crowing
Feb 5, 2018
2,569
5,879
341
Feather Falls, CA
I ordered 30 sexed pullets and 3 were roosters! I did not separate them from the flock and they were all very good natured with the girls and with each other. I really didn't want 3 roosters and had to make a decision which one to keep. We have a wonderful feed store in town that buys/sells chickens and roosters so I sold the 2 I decided I didn't want for $10 each. Like I said I kept them until they were fully grown (10 months) and never had fight one! Chickens are individuals and some play nice and some don't. Don't worry and try to anticipate what your chickens temperments will be, just wait and see! Good luck! :jumpy
 

analyticalblonde

Songster
Apr 30, 2018
378
1,033
237
Tooele, UT
1) Why do I have to separate the cockerel at this time from the pullets if chickens are supposed to be flock animals?
It's really for the pullets protection, especially with more aggressive cockerels. I have never done it myself, so don't worry to much until then.

2) I am kind of hoping I do get a cockerel because we have ~2 acres, with NO trees for protection, and have hawks, hawks, and hawks. I would like that "Alarm" system in place to protect the flock. But, is it naive of me to keep the cockerel when there is a possible chance he could create total mayhem to me and the flock?
No, cockerels are very good protectors. If he is aggressive, you should get rid of him but a rooster is one of the best ways to defend a flock. The chance he will cause mayhem is low.

3) I have done only research on hens and have no clue about roosters. If I do end up with a cockerel or two, should I just cull it (them) since this is my first rodeo?
Depends, if you have a nicely temperament one then you could keep. But since it iss your first rodeo, if it is aggressive you should cull or sell.

4) Because I selected docile breeds (except for maybe the Wyandotte), does that docile nature known for the pullets/hens apply to the cockerels/roosters as well?
Yes, roosters do have hormones differences but they do tend to follow breed standard. However, some do cause trouble. This is not a good reason to cull if it is a kind bird.
Thank you for your insight...!
 

analyticalblonde

Songster
Apr 30, 2018
378
1,033
237
Tooele, UT
I ordered 30 sexed pullets and 3 were roosters! I did not separate them from the flock and they were all very good natured with the girls and with each other. I really didn't want 3 roosters and had to make a decision which one to keep. We have a wonderful feed store in town that buys/sells chickens and roosters so I sold the 2 I decided I didn't want for $10 each. Like I said I kept them until they were fully grown (10 months) and never had fight one! Chickens are individuals and some play nice and some don't. Don't worry and try to anticipate what your chickens temperments will be, just wait and see! Good luck! :jumpy
Thank you...I guess you could say I am a nervous, expectant mother :)
 

CannedMonster

Free Ranging
Nov 26, 2017
2,270
4,780
567
Southwest Idaho
8 weeks is very young to separate any.
They generally don’t start getting interested in the pullets until about 4 months or so.
I raised 5 cockerels with 2 pullets and they were fine until the boys were between 4-5 months old.
They were a batch of straight run chicks I got at TSC.
After that the boys began to grab and try to breed the hens I had one after the other!
The hens were very stressed because there wasn’t a mature rooster to keep order.
I put two in the freezer, two were bantams I rehomed and I chose to keep the one that was skittish of me and seemed to have the most respect for us humans.
He has turned out to be a good rooster.

I also ordered 13 sexed pullets from a hatchery this last summer and one turned out to be a cockerel.
He is fantastic!
Oliver is a black Australorp and he has always been, from the beginning, very skittish of us.
It’s just his natural personality.
He doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body.
He has a great crow and after he had some experience with the ladies he has become very good with them.
He’s extremely watchful too.
I won’t and can’t get rid of such a great guy.
So the moral of the story is...don’t judge your cockerels too soon lol.
Give it some time but I will say the more skittish boys seem to have more respect for people and turn out better.
That’s just been my experience.
Please keep us posted on how your flock is growing!
 
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