Question about Roosters: Pro's and Con's

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Shannonwbl, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have 4 hens that mostly free range on our property. We have not had much trouble with predators as long as they stay close to where our chicken friendly dogs can roam on an invisible fence. We lost one hen a few months back when she wandered a bit too far, and this morning we are missing another - now down to 4.

    I did not order a rooster, because I had heard they would "tear up" a hen to breed and though we would love to raise our own chicks, I am such a wimp I don't think I could cull if we ended up with a bunch of little roosters. Now I wonder if a rooster would be something of a protector and keep them from wandering.

    Here is my question: What are the disadvantages and advantages to a rooster? Is they a one type that is "better" than another for my purposes. My husband really wants a jersey giant.

    I would appreciate any advice. Thanks!
     
  2. sunnydee

    sunnydee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 6 girls who are 23 weeks old. I have decided to get a rooster to protect my girls. They only go out to free roam when we are home, but it just didn't seem right for my girls to be without a roo. I am adding an older roo next weekend.
     
  3. chickflick

    chickflick Overrun With Chickens

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    With just 4 hens, the rooster might over mate with them. You'll have bald hens. A rooster will protect, but will not keep them from wandering, at least in my case they didn't! Rocky flogged or tried to flogg me every time I went outside. Even when the hens were free ranging, and I came out, he would come running to me and challenge me! It was frustrating. But he sure did take care of his girls. It was sweet to see how gentle he could be with them. Rocky was an EE and very aggressive. I had a Partridge Rock that never flogged me or took care of his girls. But don't know if that was because Rocky was the head roo and he just didn't challenge him for the top spot, and was afraid to take on the role. I had a buff Orpington that was the sweetest guy. Use to sit on my lap. Had to give him up cuz had 2 roos already. I had 19 hens, but the roos had their favorites and they looked it. Bare backs and heads. One hen was so terrified of the roos that she lived in constant fear and hid from them all the time. I don't know which roos are more gentle, other people will come along and help you out on that one. They say to handle them when young....didn't reay help with Rocky!
     
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Way back when, there was a moment when I had waaay too many roosters. I nearly went berserk before I fixed that problem.

    I had a neighbor whose Leghorn roo (a rather large Leghorn) spurred him in the knee. He missed a day or 2 of work. I wonder how he explained that to his boss [​IMG].

    Yes, they will protect the hens but they are probably more inclined to roam than the hens are. And protection only goes so far. Both of the last 2 roos I had were killed by coyotes. I finally shot the coyote but it got a couple hens along with those roos so I don't know what all that testosterone accomplished.

    I've had some very, very pretty roosters and I miss them even if my little flock is now, and will stay, roosterless. Here's what I suggest if you want one and don't care about fertile eggs - get a rooster that is smaller than your hens.

    I took this to ridiculous lengths when I had Cecil the Seabright. That didn't work all that well with my standard-sized hens. But, Cecil wasn't the only rooster on the roost.

    Others that I miss are the Hamburg and the Ameraucana roosters. They were the "champions" of the barnyard even if they weren't very big guys. (Note that chickflick's EE was aggressive. Ameraucana & EE's vary.)

    Steve
     
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Roo's will protect the hens but they will wander too.
     
  6. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Chillin' With My Peeps

    digitS,

    What do you mean:

    "Here's what I suggest if you want one and don't care about fertile eggs - get a rooster that is smaller than your hens."? Are you saying that a smaller roo cannot fertilize a larger hen? or we wouldn't want to hatch those eggs?

    We wouldn't mind allowing one clutch to hatch, but not sure that I want to have 3 or 4 roos.

    We are definitely going to replace two hens and keep a flock of around 6.

    Right now we have: 1 Amerucana, 1 BR, 1 NH Red, 1 Wayandotte. They are a good looking group so I would hate to have them picked at.
     
  7. vtchickenlady

    vtchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have one roo (Plymouth Rock) that we added to our flock of 10 ladies (of mix breeds) when they were 24 weeks old. He was the same age but twice as big. After a few days of establishing a pecking order with both the girls and the dogs next door he is now the king of the flock. The girls take him in stride and he's in heaven since his first weeks were spent in chicken tractors and he now free ranges. I think the ratio of 10 to 1 has proven to work quite well.
     
  8. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Chillin' With My Peeps

    We never really thought about the ratio. We would gladly have many more but are waiting to find an old shed or play house to convert to a coop.

    Any opinions on the best roo to hen ratio?
     
  9. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Well, Cecil the Seabright . . . oh, never mind! Large roosters can be fairly brutal on the hens. It depends on the bird. I had a RIR who was a gentleman but he, by all accounts, was pretty much an exception.

    No, I was just thinking that you'd have mutts.

    Your Ameraucana is probably your smallest hen, right? I'd get a rooster smaller than her. My Hamburg, Gabe, was super!

    Steve
     
  10. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Not all roosters tear up their hens back. When my boys were young and inexperienced the hens lost a few neck feathers from the boy's attention.
    Now that everybody has the mating routine down pat, no feather loss.
    Order a breed known for their gentle roos (although there are exceptions in every breed), don't treat him like a baby, and after he gets to an appropriate size that your current hens won't kill him, put him out there and let him do his job. Dominant hens can give a young cockerel every bit as much trouble as another roo, minus the spur damage. It'll be up to the roo to dominate them.
    An additional note, if you've never experienced chicken mating before you may find that it looks very cruel; especially before your hens are mature enough to submit. Once everybody's on the same page, the roo will give the hen that look, she'll squat and it'll be over in five seconds.
    A good roo is always on the lookout for danger/predators. He'll find tasty snacks and call his girls to join him in the feast. Some roos even beak feed their hens. If a hen wanders off and starts calling for the flock the roo will call back to her to help her locate the others.
     

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