New Roo or Into the Stew pot? Need Opinions!


Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
Hi everyone-

So, about 9 months ago I gave some fertile eggs to a neighbor so they could hatch out some babies under their broody. Out of the 8 eggs only 2 ended hatching- one male and one female. Fast forward 9 months, and the neighbors are done with the roo. He is young, aggressive with his girls (young), rough with his girls (young), and the neighbors are done with him. They have offered him back to me for slaughter. I am totally okay with getting a free bird ripe for processing, but then I had a thought...

I have never been hugely thrilled with my roo. The only reasons I have kept him is:

-He is basically pretty pleasant to me. A few fights for dominance over the years, but he has never inflicted any major injuries, and backs down pretty quickly.
-He is gorgeous. Seriously, this guy could be a fashion model of birds. He is a stunning EE, all beautiful colors and a very pleasant singing voice. I fell in love with his voice before I ever laid eyes on him. Everything about him is positively beautiful.
-He is okay with his girls. He finds the treats, and calls them over. He doesn't abuse them too much. He's BIG so he has to be gentle or they would be destroyed (as it is, they are pretty tatty by the time molt rolls around).

The reasons I am unhappy with him:

-His fertility rate is only about 65-70%. Seriously? With amount of loving going on I would have expected some better numbers than that.
-He is a wimp. I have lost more hens to predators under his watch than I have ever lost without a roo. He is the first bird to duck and cover when a threat comes calling. My goose is a better watch dog than him.
-He is getting older. He is about 4ish now. I am not sure how long roos remain at their fertile peak, but with his crap fertility rate, I am sure those numbers are not getting any better.

So...I have 13 chickens (12 hens and 1 roo), 5 ducks (all female) and 1 goose. They are all in a 12X10' coop with an 800+ square foot run. There is a second house attached to the run that used to be for the waterfowl, but they moved into the chicken coop (much to the chickens' great dismay) by their own accord. The flocks spend a lot of time in the coop and run, but I let them out at least twice a week for several hours of free-range time. They have 11 acres to free-range over.

I am thinking to keep my free roo (my current roo's son by a mother who is no longer alive), not as dinner, but as the new flock husband. I am not worried about quarantine as most of the birds in the neighborhood are pretty intermingled anyways. No birds come from outside sources, and if they do it is from reputable hatcheries. I am thinking to add him into the mix while the current roo is still around. I realize that I will have some fits and starts, but I think the space is adequate and the numbers are good to add another roo to the mix.

What do you guys think? Pros? Cons? Some outside opinions would be valued greatly.
hi, sounds to me like your pretty attached to your old roo. but facing the fact that life goes on , you probably wont get this chance again. i would take him and just see how it goes. there is always tomorrow if he dont work out.
I'm a little nervous about having 2 roos in the same space, though. I have never kept roos for any length of time. I've housed a few cockerels until they grow out enough to make a meal, but planning to keep 2 males is kind of daunting. I am worried they are going to beat the stuffing out of my girls. Is 12 girls enough for 2 roos?
it is not supposed to be but i do have 2 roos and they each have 2 hens. funny thing is, they dont try to fight each other until after they are let out to free range. so each are different. it would have to be a watch and see thing.
It is something you're going to have to watch if you plan on keeping them both. I would be more worried about them beating the stuffing out of each other more than the hens. They will fight for dominance. It may be just a few skirmishes, or it could go further than that. In my experience, the subordinate one will challenge the dominant every now and then just to be sure things haven't changed. That does not mean it will be that way for you. Can you separate the two roos and maybe give them each a few hens of their own? Have a couple of mini-flocks? Who knows? You may get that young one home and get the hankering for some chicken noodle soup after a few days...
There's no feasible way to separate the roos from each other in the run. I can house them in separate houses, but I suspect the new roo would just move himself into the big coop like the waterfowl did. The big coop is nice and airy and has all the ladies. The small coop is small and squat and set back into the forest, where it is dim and scary.

I am going to have to keep a close eye on things if I decide to go this route. I am really torn about this. I am supposed to get the bird next week, so I need to make a decision before he arrives. It is so tempting to keep him, but...I don't know if I am prepared to play babysitter until they get things worked out. This is the busiest time of the year.
I have 5 roos to 8 hens. Not on purpose. I decided that as long as everyone was getting along, they could all stay. We haven't had any problems at all.

The difference, of course, is that none of them were introduced as adults. They did come in in a few different batches, but always as chicks.

Just be ready to change your mind & pick one over the other if it doesn't work out. But it will most likely be fine.
My grandfather kept a pressure cooker just for 5 year old roos. He never let them get any older. And he always brought in 'new blood' and did not use a roo from the same line or born from his flock. He was ahead of his time when it comes to genetics! Never bought new pullets, just a new roo every five years. Learned it from living as a subsistence farmer through the Great Depression, I guess.Chicken dumplings were so good from stock out of that pressure cooker...
I do miss him.

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