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Raising a Rooster

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickGuyTJ, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. ChickGuyTJ

    ChickGuyTJ New Egg

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    Hi, guys

    I currently have 6 hens that are doing well. This coming spring I plan on ordering a strait run of about 6-8 more chickens. My plan is to raise them for the most part separately from the rest of the flock until around 16 weeks or so. Then I'll choose two or three more hens and a rooster to keep. I will either give away the rest or, eh hmm, invite them in for dinner.

    I've seen a lot of threads about what breed rooster is the best, but opinions are all over the place and it seems like for every breed there are good experiences and bad experiences. My question is, is there a way to raise a rooster which will provide the best chance of having an adult roo that doesn't antagonize me or my family? Thanks.
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    You're going to get dozens of responses, with dozens of different ways to do that [​IMG]

    I've had birds for over 20 years. I've had one rooster attack my 18 month old son. I've had one rooster "turn mean" to me after we went on vacation and my father in law took care of the birds for several days. I've had one rooster I got as an adult and was warned he was aggressive--and sure enough, he was. He went back to the seller. I've hatched and raised dozens and dozens of cockerels to around 5 months (that's about when I butcher) and usually have 3-6 mature breeding roosters.

    Here's my way.

    Don't make pets of them. Easier to treat them as livestock. Especially when you're planning to eat some of them.

    I don't really do anything special with them. I tend to more ignore them than anything. I simply go about my business in the coop. I do always make animals get out of my way--horses, goats, dogs, chickens, teenage boys (okay, they're not really animals, but you get the drift....). It's a simple "Shoo" and push towards them with my foot. With littles, I almost never have to actually make contact, just put my foot out there while saying the word and they scatter. When they're very young they are somewhat afraid of me, and I'm okay with that. As they get older, they're not really afraid, but they're respectful and trained to move. I hate stumbling or tripping over any animal, especially chickens. This training is for all the birds, both genders.

    Any bird that starts acting bold or doesn't yield to me gets contact with the foot. I'm not talking about kicking, I'm talking more about pushing. Usually saying "SHOO" in a louder, yelling tone. Chickens are pretty vocal and respond to noises as well as actions.

    I don't really have my cockerels or roosters take things past that stage. I start them right, teaching them to respect me, and that early lesson carried over into adult hood. My birds are not afraid of me---my mature rooter eats from my hand. I do not handle my roosters routinely (or my hens, for that matter). If I need to examine a bird, I wait until they're asleep and take it off the roost. On occasion I do need to catch a bird, for that I use a fishing net.


    Another thing I think makes a lot of difference---don't keep your young birds separate from your older ladies. Pot them together as early as possible. Nothing does wonders for a young cockerel's manners as having mature hens kick his butt the firs few months, and making him earn his mating privileges. Raising a cockerel in a flock of same age pullets, there's no mature bird to keep him in check and he can get more aggressive.


    You mention family--how little? Small kiddos and roosters don't always mix well. Littles move fast and unpredictably, and they seem to make roosters nervous and more prone to attack. Older kids can be taught to move slowly and with purpose, again teaching the young birds to yield to them and having a more dominant attitude. If the kiddos are at all afraid of the birds, your males are likely going to give them problems no matter the breed or how you personally treat them.
     
    2 people like this.
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Rachel is right, so many answers. My best answer? Get the rooster from a line of males bred specifically for temperament. Yes, it can be done. The males from my line of Barred Plymouth Rocks are, to a bird, non-human aggressive. Now, there is no 100% guarantee-I mean, they're animals, right?-but I have a 2 1/2 yr old breeding male who is just as easygoing and pleasant to handle as you could want. So was his sire, his grandsire, plus his young 29 week old son I kept.

    Breed from the best, cull the rest is my motto. However, I haven't had to cull a rooster from this line at all in recent years, not one. If he's genetically predisposed to aggression, no action or non-action will change that, IMO. It has little to do with the breed, more to do with the individual.

    Agreeing with Rachel, too, that small kids and roosters do not mix. Kids act differently than adults and make roosters, even my sweet ones, visibly nervous and on edge. A rooster is like a bull or a stallion in a smaller package and they react to protect themselves and the hens. Kids, especially smaller ones, put them on high alert. That doesn't make them bad. I wouldn't have let my marshmallow of a Delaware rooster, the grandsire I spoke about, in with a kid without me actually holding him (the kid or the rooster, either one). It's asking too much of him. And this was him, after meeting this teenage girl for the first time that weekend. If I won't put a small child in with a sweetheart like this, you know what I'm saying about the subject. He came from a heritage line bred for temperament and it passed on down the line. Delawares are usually not bad tempered roosters, however, hatchery stock is completely unpredictable. You can have aggressive Cochin roosters, Silkie roosters, Brahma roosters, etc, though they are usually considered calmer breeds.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  4. ChickGuyTJ

    ChickGuyTJ New Egg

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    It's not a matter of my kid being in close proximity to the rooster really. My wife gets eggs and I do everything else. We are the ones that have to go on the rooster's turf. Long term eventually some of the responsibility will go to my boy, but not until he is older.
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Well, kids or not, life is so much more pleasant when you do not have to watch your back or carry a weapon into the chicken pen with you. I've had to deal with a couple of aggressive males in earlier years. Not fun at all. There are too many good ones to even waste time (and pass on his genetics) with a mean one. I know that is I hear Atlas (my current avatar) running behind me, he's running to catch up to me, not attack me. He's gotten between me and perceived threats to my person as well. A good rooster is a real treasure. I hope you end up with a good guy.
     
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    As stated you will get many, many different opinions....Mine is not the same....
    Docile breeds are usually the large breeds...Brahma, Orpington, Cochin...Then their are some others with a possible trait to be nice..That is a Barred Rock, Columbian Rock and a few others that you can research breeds long before you pick....

    Good luck..

    Cheers
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    You've gotten advice from some very experienced chicken keepers whom I respect. I do things pretty much the same way Rachel does - ignore them, make them get out of my way, don't make pets of them. If you do some reading here, you'll find dozens of "My rooster that I've raised by hand since he hatched attacked me!" threads. Does handling them, holding them and babying them turn them into monsters? It's not necessarily a guaranteed thing - they are animals after all, and each with their own personality. I've never made pets of my roosters, and still wound up with a few aggressive ones. One EE, a Barred Rock, and one who's breed I don't remember (or didn't know in the first place - it was white). There are some breeds that have a reputation as being less aggressive than others. You'll have to do some research.

    I am glad to see you have a plan for the extras. We invite our extras for dinner. After I have put in the time, effort and money to raise them I'll be darned if I'm going to give them away for someone else to enjoy my good, home-grown chicken. I'll admit - it took me a long time before I was ready to let my DH butcher the "pretty ones" so I would order the "ugly white ones" instead. (Cornish cross). But I got over it, and realize that it's more responsible management to not keep feeding non-productive birds just because I liked having them around. Tell your child from the beginning that the extra roosters are for eating. Be matter-of-fact, and he'll be just fine with it. It's when Mom or Dad makes a big deal out of things, acting like they're doing something terrible that makes it harder for the kids to accept it. I think it's important for kids to know that chicken (or any other meat) does not grow in the little packages in the store.
     
    2 people like this.
  8. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You don't mention if you plan to then breed the rooster or just have him around for novelty or protection. I think that matters.

    I have a Cochin roo currently. A packing peanut from a hatchery order. He's a good protector, and his disposition is perfectly pleasant.

    That said, there is nothing that a black Cochin roo offers to my flock from a laying or meat perspective that I want to breed into them. So he's fine for now, because I'm not breeding. While you CAN get a bad roo from a calm breed, playing the percentages is a good way to go.

    If you don't want to breed them, you're just selecting for positive attitude and there are several options for good layers and good behavior. Brahma near the top of that list.
     
  9. ChickGuyTJ

    ChickGuyTJ New Egg

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    My plan is for this rooster to sire egg laying offspring and he needs to be a good look out because I'd like to let my flock free range and currently my hens don't pay a lot of attention to hawks or even dogs. In fact, they've been known to jump the fence and join my neighbors' pugs for an exciting game of tag. I got that problem solved by making the fence taller though. Anyway, I wasn't asking for breed recommendations because I've already read through half a dozen threads regarding that, however, I've got an open mind and would not reject any advice offered. I've just noticed that some people say to spend a lot of time with them and that helps them get used to you and they'll be friendlier. Then I've heard others say that familiarity breeds contempt so to speak. I'm just trying to get an idea of what has worked for everyone so that I'll have the best chance of raising a rooster that is tolerable.
     
  10. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My nature is to take the hands off approach.

    But my birds are livestock not pets.
     

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