My favorite "pullet" is a roo. What should I do?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CT, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. CT

    CT Chirping

    Feb 19, 2010
    Great Lakes
    When I went to buy my first chickens a few short weeks ago, I thought I'd get 3or 4 hens--just enough to keep the family in eggs, and no fussing about with crowing, or brooding, or culling. The first bird to let me pick her up was a little chipmunky EE who seemed to rather like being held. I ended up with three more EEs, but my personal favorite was that first one, who I called Pet.

    Well, she's about 5 weeks old now and I'm sure she's a boy. I don't know how many of these things are significant, but Pet is different from the other three. S/he's smaller than the others, has feathers coming in slower, has orange legs instead of slate-green-grey, has a noticeably redder comb, and I swear there are little bumps in the spur location.

    So what do I do with a rooster? I can return the bird for another; the farm I bought from does guarantee a hen when selling pullets. I hate to do that, because I really like this bird. I can't really see myself eating this particular animal, although I don't object to killing and eating chickens generally and certainly would if I had hens hatching out broods. But what is life like with a rooster? Will a flock of 3 girls and a boy get along fairly well once the hormones come on full force? Will all the eggs be fertile? My daughter says she doesn't want to eat fertile eggs, and I feel kind of funny about it too. Do EEs get broody much when a rooster is around? Does a rooster need separate accommodations or can he be housed with the girls all the time? I just can't picture it, so if you've made the accidental-rooster decision, please tell me what you did and what influenced your choice.

  2. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Songster

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    Honestly, the fertile or not question doesn't mean much: the only difference on sight is a very very tiny "bullseye" on the egg yolk...and some hens lay eggs that look like they have a bullseye when the eggs aren't fertile. So really it would be hard to tell just by glancing if an egg were fertile or not. So far as broodiness, whether a rooster is around or not, some hens just go broody. The presence of or absence of a rooster has nothing to do with it. I would try keeping him for a bit as you are obviously somewhat attached...besides, maybe your daughter and yourself will get so into chickens you may want to incubate some eggs and what better source than your own birds? I'd at least give him a try... [​IMG]
  3. BlackBrookPoultry

    BlackBrookPoultry Crowing

    Jun 15, 2010
    Western Wisconsin
    A rooster is fine to keep with your 3 hens. They actually will feel safer with him around. You'll notice him calling them over when he finds food and he will stand guard while they eat. If you really like him keep him. Most likely if you return him to the breeder he will end up on someone's plate.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  4. This_chicks_place

    This_chicks_place Songster

    Apr 18, 2011
    Upstate NY
    I ended up with an "accidental" rooster also. Well actually 5 but thats another story altogether. We ended up keeping one, his name is BO. He is a Buff Orpington I know very original name. [​IMG] But he is the master of his flock and the kindest gentleman to his ladies. I don't think you'll be disappointed to keep your rooster. At least give it a try! [​IMG]
  5. babyjaycol

    babyjaycol In the Brooder

    Jul 18, 2011
    I ended up taking home my aunt's that was supposed to be a hen, but he was her fav and just couldn't eat him (she can't have a rooster in her neighborhood). So he rode 5 hours in the back seat with me, and i had my first chicken! Boy am i glad i took him! He's a beautiful BO, eats out of my hand, is so sweet, and lets his woman just take treats right out of his mouth after he gets them from me. He even does a snooze for me in the mornings: he hollers 2-3 times, then silence for 30 mins, then he wakes up and welcomes in the day! He is awesome! Keep him!
  6. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    Really? A rooster with 4 hens won't ... how should I put this ... rub them raw?
    I had this exact question months ago, but everyone told me my rooster would do lots of damage to my 4 ladies if I keep him. I just don't have time to add on to the coop for 6 more girls for him until next season.
    He is lovely to them so far (I have one who is NOT), and is my favorite. He is a gorgeous B.O. and tosses treats to his girls, sits with me everyday. I know HE has the ladies trained to come when I call, I do not. He is my little general, he marches up to the kitchen door & hops on the compost barrel to remind me it is time to tuck them in. Then he circles the coop before he goes in, and marches between the roosts for his nightly head count.
    I really don't want to cull him. He doesn't even crow yet - at 22 weeks. He makes crow-esque sounds, but quietly, and only to me when he wants a treat.
    I have a friend coming this week to cull the roos, but if some folks would tell me they HONESTLY think he will continue to be my little champ I would love to save him & start on meat birds next year.
    I just posted a long, heartsick post about this in another topic.
    If anyone has successfully kept a rooster with 4 hens I would LOVE to hear it. My S.O. may not be thrilled but has - finally - said the decision is all mine.
  7. Majestic Lane Poultry

    Majestic Lane Poultry Heart Strings Animal Rehoming

    Feb 9, 2009
    Rename him [​IMG]
  8. branston

    branston Chirping

    May 23, 2011
    We hatched 15 eggs and ended up with 9 roosters! managed to find a really good home for 7 of them and kept two that we just couldn't part with. That left us with 6 hens and the two roos. One, Lola (I know.....poor buggers with girls names......), is the King of the flock and the hens will just lay down for him and the other, Carol (who is much bigger and absolutely magnificant!) is like the guard who only gets a look in at the hens if lola lets him! Lola will try and chase us once in a while, Carol, however, is the sweetest rooster. He comes to greet us, lets us pick him up and pet him and protects my 10 year old son from Lola!
    I did go and get 9 more hens to help balance things out but they are not quite big enough to put with the others yet, when they are, I'm sure I'll have a much happier flock but in the mean time, they do just fine.

    I wouldn't be without a rooster, you just can't beat the sound of a rooster crowing in the country!
  9. emrys

    emrys Songster

    Sep 3, 2009
    For over a year I kept a rooster with 3 hens. By molting time the girls were looking a little skimpy in the feather department on their backs. I added 8 more and the first three still looked a little worn by fall of that year. Vern had his favorites whether he had 3 or 11 from which to choose He gave the 3 older girls more attention. You can keep a rooster with just a few hen but pay attention to "wear" on the hen feathers. JMHO
  10. CT

    CT Chirping

    Feb 19, 2010
    Great Lakes
    Thank you all for the encouragement and advice.

    Today, as I was handling the birds, I heard crowing! But not from my coop. One of the neighbors got chickens, including a rooster. So, I guess that means I won't be annoying the neighbors at any rate by keeping a roo. And since we all have to listen to a rooster anyway, what's one more, right? [​IMG]

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