Normal Rooster Behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by elfgirl, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Free Ranging

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Yes, he would behave differently in this situation. The older hens would teach him manners.

    I hatched my welsummer rooster and when he was old enough I integrated him in with older hens. They beat him up horribly for the longest time. I never thought he would take over as flock leader. Any time he tried to mate, he got the beatdown from the hens. Finally, he earned his spot as flock leader - he started mating the lowest ranking hen first, then the next lowest, etc. until he made it all the way to the top.

    All of my current roosters are very good with the hens, broodies and their babies, people, and my kids. One of my barnevelder roosters brought in a grape leaf for my broody so she could feed it to her chicks.

    A good rooster is priceless.
    1 person likes this.
  2. elfgirl

    elfgirl In the Brooder

    Jun 16, 2013
    North Alabama
    Thank you all for your input. I think the best thing to is watch the boys closely and let their behavior determine whether they stay. I am currently favoring the boy that has started feeding his snacks to the hens. So cute.
  3. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

    Apr 8, 2013
    Yeah, you're right. Sounds like you're onto a good one. Best wishes with that.
  4. Sounds to me like you must be the greatest chicken breeder of all time to have in your short lifetime over come and even reversed over 4,000,000,000 years of chicken evolution in less than a century.
    Congratulations. [​IMG][​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  5. In my estimation breeding from what the chickens' owner considers "NORMAL" chickens results in a grossly inferior chicken. I say this because there is a tide in all genetics that tends to cause the species to "drift" back to or return to the average or even the sub-average individual if the breeder isn't strictly minding his P's & Q's when he selects the individuals he intends to breed.

    Furthermore a single experience with one living breathing flesh and blood animal is a poor indicator of how the whole species acts or doesn't act in the same situation. To see one individual animal act in a certain way and then draw the conclusion that this way is normal or even that a significant minority of these animals act in this way is reminiscent of the blind men who went to "see" an elephant and each "blind" man briefly felt of different parts of the elephant's body. Then each blind man described the pachyderm in the terms of what part of the elephant that he had briefly touched.

    To describe how any rooster interacts with his hens or even how this rooster interacts with another rooster's hens by viewing chicken society through the eyes of an Emily Post or a Miss Manners is hilarious.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

    Apr 8, 2013
    Quote: Aw, shucks, I'd like to take all the credit, but I can't; for thousands of years, countless great breeders did basically all the work for me, all I'm really doing is upholding the best traditions. ;)

    Seriously, though, if you are referring to breeding female-abuse and human-aggression out of males as being "reversing 4, 000 000 000 years of evolution" then I highly recommend you do a little study of chickens in the wild, and increase your knowledge of the variety that exists in domestic poultry. And possibly study other wild animals too. Quick resolution of conflict and avoiding it when able are two almost universal survival traits. It doesn't mean conflicts aren't natural, but the extreme of violence exhibited by many domestic stock is not. Males who damage their mates are not as likely to pass on their genes as males who take all due care.

    It's been proven how incredibly rapidly a knowledgeable breeder can take a wild animal and develop a strain of tame ones; it's in the region of five to twenty years, not the number you quoted. The time frame for breeding out negative social traits is even smaller, by far, when you're referring to already domesticated stock. There are some species which would require hundreds of years, possibly, to fully tame, but chickens are not it.

    For the record I make no claim to be a 'knowledgeable' breeder let alone the 'greatest chicken breeder of all time' --- in fact I have been quite surprised by my swift and thus far enduring success in achieving the behavioral traits I wanted in the productive and hardy type I wanted. Much credit must go to the uncounted breeders who developed the family lines throughout the centuries which are now involved in my mongrel stock.
    Quote: 'Normal' is what we believe it is, as I said before.

    You are breeding from what you consider 'normal' --- violent chickens. By your own estimation, you are breeding 'grossly inferior chickens'. This I would attribute to your criteria for selection.

    I am breeding from what I consider 'normal' --- peaceful chickens. Mine have been steadily turning out as I'd hoped they'd be, for generations now. This I attribute to my criteria for selection.

    There's a fundamental flaw in believing that 'normal' somehow equals substandard poultry, or that breeding violent males somehow equals above par poultry.

    The majority of the work's already been done for us; the many hundreds of years of breeding behind many breeds have 'fixed' many great traits quite deeply, and we can mix and match without fretting we'll produce an ancestral type overnight. If we maintain good criteria we will achieve our goals, whatever they are.

    At no point did I recommend letting them regress into feral birds with self selection as a rule, which would of course take the shortcut you mentioned right back to a type that does not serve our needs, but rather those of a wild animal. Selecting birds which show the care that's been put into their ancestors, rather than those that show the aberrant behaviors that have been bred into their ancestors, is the best way to achieve truly productive stock. Violent stock damage each other and I have no patience for it. Some do though, but each to their own.
    Quote: I'm not going by one experience, but rather many hundreds, so I assume you are referring to yourself here.

    Since I'm viewing it through the eyes of someone who has studied animal behavior for almost their entire life, I assume you are referring to yourself again. I highly recommend, again, that you broaden your education.

    ETA: I am starting to think, from everything you've said, that you only have one rooster. Breeding programmes don't move fast with only one, of course depending on what you're trying to achieve; also, anthropomorphizing animals won't help you achieve a healthy and productive 'normal' flock.

    Best wishes.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  7. CedarAcres

    CedarAcres Sunny Side Up

    Mar 18, 2013
    My Coop
    By selecting only the tamest, well mannered animal from the group to breed, you can see behavior changes very quickly! I'm sure many other people have heard of Belyaev's foxes in Russia. Here's a link that explains it: The interesting thing is that not only did they breed one group for tame domestication, but they also did one group for aggressiveness. By breeding only the most aggressive individuals they got extremely aggressive offspring. By breeding only the tamest, they got tame, even domesticated animals very quickly. And these were in animals without prior domestication!

    The fact is that aggressiveness is a very heritable trait. Biologically speaking, males that treat their mates well are more likely to succeed in reproducing offspring. I know people who have had roosters kill their hens and kill baby chicks. But there are also many people who have very tame roosters who are very sweet to their girls, find food for the chicks, and are gentle as can be. Clearly the rooster who is not harming either his mate or his offspring (or you!) are much more desirable than one with aggressive tendencies. Personally, I haven't noticed a shortage in well behaved roosters, so clearly others are breeding for tame behavioral traits rather than aggressive ones.

    And from my personal opinion, a rooster's job is to protect the flock and put the girls before himself. My roosters reflect how I think a proper rooster should behave. He finds food for them, won't touch a treat until all the ladies have had their fill, alerts them to any sign of a hawk or other predator and shoos them to safety. And most importantly, never shows aggressiveness towards anyone! I will not let a rooster with aggressive tendencies reproduce, simple as that.
    1 person likes this.

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