Oops...it's a boy!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KylaH, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. KylaH

    KylaH New Egg

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    We acquired fifteen chicks (fourteen female Golden Comets and one Buff Orpington) from a local hatchery over four months ago. We had planned on six to eight hens, but the hatchery guy didn't have change when we picked up our chickens, and we now have more than we bargained for!--change for a twenty dollar bill, anyone! [​IMG] The thing is, when the hatchery guy (what do you call someone that runs a hatchery? sorry...I digress) "threw in" the extra chicks, he grabbed the extras from the same golden comet box...and my husband spoke up and asked at the last minute if we could possibly have a couple of orpies included as well. "Sure!" he replied, throwing in a single Orpington without so much as a second glance. Didn't occur to us to ask him to make sure it was a pullet as well...

    Surprise!--or maybe not...Murphy's Law, I guess... Turns out our little Jackie-O (all the girls are named after first ladies) is actually Big Jack. He's a crowing, spur-sprouting, proud-strutting Buff Orpington rooster...and he's beautiful! Only thing is, we have no idea what to do with a rooster. We really didn't plan on or want to deal with chicks or having to candle eggs or anything like that. We simply wanted to have a few chickens for our yard and enjoy the fresh eggs later on. We are really struggling with what to do. Jack was the most handled of our chicks because he was the unique Orpington in the mix and he is not aggressive at all...my boys are particularly attached to him, so it is making it that much harder to figure out a course of action. We certainly don't need to continue expanding our already-more-than-enough flock. But we have grown so attached to this guy--and he really is the most beautiful of the flock... ugh! I would really like some friendly advice...

    Could anyone out there in our BYC community tell me what would be the advantages/disadvantages to keeping a single rooster with twelve other ladies? My specific questions:
    1. How often do you think we would be dealing with chicks? Would we have to constantly candle our eggs or only when/if our girls get broody (they haven't started laying yet but we are anticipating them to begin any time now).
    2. Is there an advantage to keeping a single rooster for flock health and security? Our little flock stays mostly in the coop and run, but are let out to roam the backyard a few times a week. We haven't had any issues with predators so far, but I have read here that a rooster comes in handy for that. Could we keep him separate somehow (maybe divide the run) to control contact with the girls, but still take advantage of the presence of a roo?
    3. Is there any disadvantage to the fact that, if we keep Jack, he is an Orpington and the girls are Golden Comets? Does anyone know if there are downsides to cross-breeding these two?

    Whew! Sorry for the long post. This is a therapy session/information seeking forum! [​IMG]

    Thanks in advance for your advice!
    Kyla
     
  2. Sherrykinney

    Sherrykinney New Egg

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    May 14, 2011
    You wouldnt ever have to candle your eggs . Just gather them daily. It really doesnt matter if the eggs are furtle or not you dont ever have to have babys. I keep a banty Rooster with my Hens and he helps to break up fights and if he has something he shares with the girls . he has one special banty hen that he takes special care of so she doesnt get beat up by the big girls , I happen to love to hear him crow in the mornings it makes me smile every time . I dont ever plan to hatch eggs from him but I do keep him In with all my hens I have 25 or so .
     
  3. peepblessed

    peepblessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Having a rooster does not keep the hens from going broody. Most large fowl breeds don't easily go broody but I don't know about golden comets. You don't have to candle your eggs if you collect them and refrigerate everyday. I prefer to collect twice a day but it's not necessary. Roosters do tend to see a hawk sooner and mine keeps the ravens and wild birds away from the feed. My feed bill went down when we got a roo. Friendly roos can become aggressive as they mature. I see no reason to keep him separate but it is an option. [​IMG]
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    You would only be dealing with chicks when you choose to let a broody hen sit on eggs for a month. Your roo will breed all your hens, all your eggs will be fertile. Eat them, they're good. No difference in taste or nutrition. If you choose to let a broody set, chances are all your eggs will be fertile, as one roo to 12 hens allows him to cover all the hens well. I wouldn't try to seperate him, I personally don't see the point. Flocks with a roo usually have less behavior problems, he keeps order so to speak. I think it's be cruel to the roo to have the girls so close, yet so far away lol. Let him do what God meant him to do. No problems with mixed breed chicks, they're usually very healthy and you can wind up with some funky colors!

    If you don't want your hens brooding, just be sure to collect your eggs daily. There are many threads here about breaking a broody if your so choose.

    If you do let your hens brood, please have a plan in place for any roosters you hatch. Doesn't sound like you would be keeping them, so please consider your options before you hatch.
     
  5. AccentOnHakes

    AccentOnHakes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2009
    Red Sex Links, being a commercial hybrid, usually don't go broody very often anyways, though it can happen. There's nothing wrong with eating fertile eggs.
     
  6. KylaH

    KylaH New Egg

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    Jun 13, 2011
    Thanks so much for the help! So glad I posted to this forum! [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. slim1986

    slim1986 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know your questions have been answered, but I figured I'd jump in too! [​IMG] Roosters in my opinion are nothing but a positive addition to a flock! Our roosters keep the hens in line and break up the "hen fights" and they keep the coop safe from predators! I say keep him!
     
  8. christineavatar

    christineavatar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, my two cents. Yes I would keep him but STOP coddling him in any way! When you treat a young rooster as you would a young hen they tend to see you as part of the flock. That said they will become aggressive with you and try to dominate you when they are the 'king' of the flock. Treat him as a bird now and he won't confuse you as one of 'his'.
     

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