Picking the right rooster?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Newchickenguy, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. Newchickenguy

    Newchickenguy Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 20, 2012
    I am thinking of buying 25 st run chicks to start my flock. I want a dual purpose bird. I haven't decided what breed yet but I think it may be white rock, delaware, dorking or new hampshire. I only plan on keeping 1 rooster. My question is if I wanted to select the rooster for better meat charcteristics, what traits would I look for. I assume size but I have no idea, as I have never owned chickens. And yes I am painfully aware that hatchery chicks are not breed for meat quality's but for egg laying. But no one has answered my other post on where to buy non hatchery based chickens lol.

    Thanks for your reply
  2. The reluctant chicken

    The reluctant chicken Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 6, 2011
    Litchfield County
    I can't answer your question about the meat characteristics of your rooster as I too use my chickens for egg production. I pick my rooster for their personality and how well they treat and care for the hens. I want to be able to walk amongst my chickens as opposed of worrying where that rooster is! I also don't want a rooster that treats the girls so badly that they are petrified of him.

    As far as where to get non-hatchery stock, there are many people selling chickens here, just look at the buy-sell trade section of the forum. read up on the types of chickens that interest you and make your decision.

    I always have an extra rooster in my flock as back up in case anything happens to my other one.
  3. mtnviewfarms

    mtnviewfarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    We hatched out late last Spring and sold chicks, thus ended up w/more roos than we wanted so
    grew them out, intended on eating them but DH never seemed to 'get around to doing it' so they
    were the size of large turkeys - at least 15 lbs.each and I had 28 of them!

    We have community near us of people from Guatamala and one of the men knows we raise
    chickens so came by a few weeks ago and purchased all 28 of them for $10 per bird.

    He has since told me they were EXCELLENT MEAT BIRDS and told me whenever I have more
    roos he will buy them from me.

    These roos were sons of my original Meyer Hatchery stock of Barred Plymouth Rocks.

    As has been said above, I always keep at least one extra Roo - anything can happen in
    'chickenworld'. Also, if the roos are raised together they will usually get along just fine -
    maybe a little brotherly 'squabbling' but that's about it.

    Big is better I would assume if you are growing out a bird for meat.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    That is kind of hard to answer. With hatchery birds it is hard to tell what you will get. That's what I've used with one exception and I've been generally pleased with them from both meat and egg production. I have gotten small ones but some nice sized ones too. You’d be surprised at how fast you can improve the overall quality of your flock in relation to getting larger roosters in just a few generations by carefully selecting your breeders. Don’t be afraid to start with hatchery birds. Unless you get lucky and tie up with a breeder that both knows what they are doing and is breeding toward your goals, you are probably not any worse off starting with hatchery birds.

    I did get some designer birds from a breeder once and have been less than pleased with their size and productivity but I knew what I was buying. They are pretty and I wanted certain color and pattern genes. From that breeder I was comfortable I would get the genes I wanted. I figure I’ll be back to the size and productivity I want in a very few generations.

    Hatchery birds often don't follow the breed conformation characteristics all that well. It depends on the person picking the breeding birds, that person’s goals and abilities. The Delaware and New Hampshire were developed as meat birds before the broilers were developed, but hatcheries I am familiar with don't breed for those meat bird traits so their birds don't have them. They are still not bad choices.

    You might try contacting Kathyinmo if you want New Hampshires. I haven’t done it but the consensus on this forum is that she has some really nice ones. I’m not sure how fast hers grow but I believe her to be honest and that you will get straight answers to your questions.

    What I suggest is to get a light colored bird, buff or white. The reason is that when you pluck some pin feathers are left behind. With dark-feathered birds you can see them so the carcass is a lot less attractive. With the light colored birds, those pin feathers are still there but you can’t see them. This becomes really important if you process a bird that is molting. It's not just the color of all those small feathers coming in but the pockets of dark dye under the skin. I did that three days ago with an old black hen that was molting. What a mess!

    When selecting which specific rooster, first choose any genetic traits that are important to you and eat the rest. I don't know if you have any colors, patterns, comb type, whatever that are important to you.

    Look for the fast growers. These usually turn out to be your biggest roosters anyway but you want one that has a decent feed to pounds of meat conversion rate.

    Eat the smaller and breed the larger. You don't have to keep the absolute largest but don't keep a runt.

    Look for general conformation. You'll get better at this with practice. Some roosters have more breast meat, some better thighs and drumsticks.

    I try to pay attention to the rank of the rooster. I want one that is close to the top of the rooster dominance tree. It does not have to be the most dominant one, though that may be a good choice, but I want one with enough self-confidence that it can manage the flock without having insecurity issues. I find these to make better flock masters than the ones that they are all picking on.

    Anyway, this is my take on it. Welcome to the adventure.
  5. Our Roost

    Our Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2011
    ScottsVille, michigan
    I just had a jersey giant and plymouth rock rooster taken to the butcher persay for processing. Both were mean roosters that didnt fit in with the docile mix of things if you know what I mean. If you are looking for a rooster to mate with your hens for the purpose of good meat birds then I would suggest starting with a hen that is good for meat or dual purpose. Meaning for both meat, egg, and of good flavor and weight. Wyandottes are according to the charts, a good table fair bird. A good brooding rooster might be a brahma, as it has good weight and is very docile and a real gentleman to the ladies. Tractors supply has a huge sale on chicks every spring and should have most breeds you are looking for or will order them for you if available. I have 5 breeds of birds. Buff orpingtons, silver laced wyandottes, black sex links, jersey giants, and barred rocks. All but the sex links and orps will go to market this december. I will replace them with some light brahmas and possibly delawares. Good luck on your choices. Remember, chickens lay eggs!

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