1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Picking a Cockeral

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TheTwoRoos, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,419
    203
    171
    Sep 25, 2015
    I have 4 rooseters.1 year and half old rooster named Zeus,the lead man,a 5 month Rir cockeral,than two out if the 3 hatch mates who we know are cockerals,all 3 month olds.

    We do not know yet if we will have a bacholour pad or rehoming but would like to be prepared for who will be with the ladies.Zeus. will always stay.Now I was thinking about keeping at least 1 or 2 of the youngstets just need to pick one.

    Im looking for something Vigilent just like my Newhampshire rooster.The 3 hatch mates our Zeus's chicks.

    The 2 , 3 month olds are a New hampshire red and a Bsl.All very docile.The bsl us far more easier going when it comes to petting and being held.The Nh is more flighty and runs.I have not noticed any signs of aggression towards me.

    I should also say,they were hatched raised by their mother.At about 6 weeks she let them go so we took over.All are well behaved.I force them to move when I wanan sit on the stump in their pen,I do not push I just go to sit,and they move.I do not let them lap sit.

    They have started humping.The bsl is much more rougher and getting out of the play/humping .He grabbed our lead hen and forced her down.After getting off of her she grabbed him.He is much more aggressuve with the hens and pullets,infact he beat our 5 month old pullet up.

    The other hatch mate,Newhampshire,is usually only aggressive with food.Occasionally has bulked up for no reason,no food was there anyways.He doesn't hump too much,unless its his other two brothers ( he has 2 siblings one we know is another roo.)

    Now,as for the 5 month ild Rir,im being patient with him through his teen months.He does seem a little moody around me,but I just chase him.Is a huge mater,noticed him communication with the rooster and hens when they had begun cackling.Crowed once since my last time I was there on the weekend.I will see what changed this weekend.
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

    7,251
    1,547
    356
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    How many hens and pullets do you have? Two cocks may be too many for a smaller flock. I like to have a youngster in addition to the older cock, so there's always a replacement available. It's early to evaluate these cockerels, unless obvious issues show up; any signs of human aggression, poor conformation, or injuries to flockmates. Then I'd watch them for a couple more months, and pick the largest. Again, no human aggression! You have to look at the new boy and smile, and then come spring, see if he's still the best choice. Mary
     
  3. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,419
    203
    171
    Sep 25, 2015
    I have 22 hens,some of which are pullets.
     
  4. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

    982
    70
    166
    May 15, 2010
    Cadiz Ky
    With 22 hens 2 roosters is about the most I would have. The rir that is 5 months old and you already have to chase him around would be the first to go in my flock. The black sex link that is rough with the girls should grow out of it with time. I just now having my first new hampshire and am liking them. They seem to lay almost as well as the rir's but are way easier going. Now I have to admit I'm not a big fan of Rir roosters. I've only had 3, 1 from a hatchery and 2 from a breeder but all three turned into mean buggers you couldn't turn your back on. I culled all 3 before their first birthday.
    In the end you'll have to decide what your goals are and what level of aggression you can live with.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

    7,251
    1,547
    356
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    x2 on the RIR, and the sex-link boy has very hazy genetics. If you want size and peace, see how the NH cockerels develop. Mary
     
  6. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,419
    203
    171
    Sep 25, 2015
    The RIr was from a TSC.Zeus is the father of the 3 cockerals.Hoping they alk 3 will be great like their dad.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,935
    3,093
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Instead of how many hens do you have, how much room do you have? Breeders often keep one rooster with one or two hens for the entire breeding season without the overmating or any other problems people associate with roosters and hens. Some people have these problems with one rooster and over 20 hens. There are many factors involved and yes, numbers might play a minor part, but room, personality, and age play a much greater part.

    You are dealing with living animals so no one can tell you exactly what will happen if you have more than one rooster with your flock. I’ve had different variations but normally if you have two or more mature roosters in the flock they each get their own harem and set up different territories so they are not always in contact with each other. That’s where room comes in, it allows them to set up different territories so they can avoid each other. But I once had three roosters and fifteen hens. One had his own harem of eight hens while the other two shared a harem of seven hens. None of the hens were overmated or barebacked. They were totally free ranging but all shared a coop at night.

    I’m not convinced that breed plays that much difference in the personality of the rooster or hen. If you read enough posts on here you can find where RIR, Barred Rock, Silkie, Cochin, or any other breed of rooster was a demon where others of the same breed were very desirable. The hens have a part to play in that too, not human aggression but flock dynamics. I do believe that strain has a lot to do with it. If someone takes a flock of any breed and selects the breeders based on behavior, they can develop a flock where the roosters and hens are pretty well behaved on average or they can develop a flock of demons. With many flocks, especially production breeds like RIR behavior is usually not a priority when selecting which chickens get to breed so you do tend to get ill-behaved chickens with production breeds. There is always the debate about how much of a part heredity versus environment play in a chicken’s personality development, but I personally do not allow a male or female chicken that displays personality traits I don’t want to breed. I have a pretty docile flock.

    Many people confuse an immature cockerel with a mature rooster. A cockerel often has hormones running wild and has practically no self-control. It can get really rough when you are dealing with an immature cockerel in the flock. It can be even worse if you have immature pullets because they don’t know how to play their roll either. A mature rooster and mature hens usually create a very docile flock, but some individuals never grow up. When you are dealing with living animals you just don’t get any guarantees with behavior.

    It is very hard to determine a cockerel’s eventual personality if you just have cockerels and hens or pullets. If you have a mature rooster in the flock it’s much more difficult. A mature flock master has certain flock duties and responsibilities that a non-dominant male in the flock does not have. Their personalities can change dramatically when a non-dominant male becomes dominant. There is some luck involved in your selection, I don’t always get it right, but a cockerel that exhibits human aggression or unacceptably rough behavior does not last long here. My perception of rough behavior might be a lot different from yours. With immature chickens it can get pretty rough. That’s normal.

    I’m not sure what your goals are. Since you mentioned a bachelor pad or rehoming as your options I don’t think you are interested in raising them for meat. I could be wrong. I suggest you determine what you goals are and keep the cockerels that best suit your goals. If that involves hatching new chicks, that could be color or pattern, but I do believe behavior is very important.

    Conflict between immature cockerels and adult hens is not unusual. At the age of an immature cockerel the mating act is more about dominance than sex. The one on bottom accepts the dominance of the one on top either willingly or by force. The cockerel’s hormones are telling it to dominate the hens and other chickens. The hens are not willing to accept that brutish behavior so they often resist, sometimes by running but sometimes by beating the crap out of the cockerel. Since I usually have a mature rooster in my flock, when a cockerel starts bothering them the hens tend to run to the flock master who quickly takes care of junior. The pullets don’t do that however. That’s where it can get rough.

    When chickens fight they usually go for the head. That’s where they are most vulnerable to each other plus it gives leverage in trying to control the other. But the head grab plays a very important role in chicken’s mating. Minor roles are that it helps the rooster maintain his balance and get oriented so he can hit the target, but the big role is that it tells the hen to raise her tail out of the way so the target is exposed. The male is not being a brute because he grabs the head, it is a vital part of the mating ritual. No egg will get fertilized if he doesn’t grab the head.

    I suggest you determine your goals and keep the cockerel that best suits them, but also have a plan B ready, a place to quickly isolate the cockerel or maybe even one or more of the other chickens if things become too rough for you. One strategy many people use is to isolate the cockerel if he becomes too rough with the females until he matures enough to act like a mature rooster. You may have to wait until he is a year old.

    Good luck. You are in a position to learn a lot about flock dynamics as the immature ones mature in the flock, but it can sometimes be hard to watch.
     
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    4,598
    1,143
    356
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Picking up your roosters and feeling the body confirmation is an important aspect in picking roosters. Feathers hide a lot of physical shapes. In backyard flocks, often times people do not pay enough attention to physical confirmation. Examine your roosters, comparing them to each other. Examine the breed standards for what the bird should look like. You want to pick a bird, that physically and aggressively meet your goals.

    The problem that has been addressed for years, is the conflict between egg laying and meat production. Good egg layers are not great meat carcasses, and often good meat carcasses generally lose out when those hens are laying. Those are the trade offs that serious breeders try and address. Genetics is powerful over a long period of time. Truthfully it can take multiple generations to consistently change a flock. So probably, it won't really matter, however, one of the easiest ways to improve your flock is with full blood roosters. When you use mixed roosters, you have so much genetic variation, that it is unpredictable what you will get.

    Mrs K
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,419
    203
    171
    Sep 25, 2015
    We only plan on hatching if it is seriuosly needed.Also,im only wirried about personality and how they care for the hens.Looks do not not matter too much.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by