Raising Roosters vs Acquiring One

FlyAnywayAJ

Chirping
Aug 5, 2017
62
53
88
Hi Folks,
We have had a few different roosters over the years with different degrees of success.
Ultimately my question is; do roosters do better at their job(protecting and breeding) if they learn from an older rooster or is "roostering" innate in them and the differences in how good at it vary from rooster to rooster?
 

AZWhiteKnight

Chirping
8 Years
Apr 24, 2011
22
26
98
In my experience, it is innate. I cannot think of a single roo I have had that did not take the breeding job extremely seriously. It is typically the protection role that I have had some struggle with. Whenever I have had two or more roosters in a flock, one dominates the others and I do not see the younger ones learning from the senior one in any significant way. Even when I restarted a flock over a decade ago, the better roos just had it in them.
 

sylviethecochin

Free Ranging
Jun 14, 2017
5,207
10,607
691
Central PA
They're often better at it if there is an older rooster to provide an example; innate characteristics play an important part, though.

Phillip is a polish/cochin cross I picked up for $0.50 in 2016. He's a great rooster, and he's raised my juvenile flock for me for the past two years. Since I instituted the Juvie flock, my home-bred roosters and cockerels have been much better behaved—and the only thing that has changed is Phillip's presence.

But genetics still plays a part. My homebred cochin cross roosters weren't worth dirt. Neither were their uncles. They just didn't seem to have the instincts, and the only thing that they wanted to do was ambush the hens. Phillip has two sons; one just went to a little farm on the other side of town that wanted a rooster, the other is sticking around until I find him a good home. Both are excellent roosters.

Another important function of an older rooster is to keep the cockerels under regulation until they mature. Some fierce older hens can accomplish this, somewhat--but most don't care if the cockerel goes after a less dominant hen. So the weaker hen ends up being the rooster's "favorite" and she's abused mightily.
 

kellyhubb

Songster
6 Years
Jun 8, 2013
80
56
114
Greenville, SC
Each rooster has their own personality. It is just like each person is different. However, I have found most roosters to traditionally be very good at taking care of hens, no matter how they were raised. It is their instinct. However, if you super concerned, why not simply adopt an older rooster from the animal shelter who will be less prone for aggression? Just look at Adopt a Bird Network - http://www.adoptabirdnetwork.com/listed.php they list roosters all over the US who need homes.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
10,127
65,681
1,302
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
Hi Folks,
We have had a few different roosters over the years with different degrees of success.
Ultimately my question is; do roosters do better at their job(protecting and breeding) if they learn from an older rooster or is "roostering" innate in them and the differences in how good at it vary from rooster to rooster?
My experience has been that a cockerel raised in a group/tribe/flock with a senior rooster present and senior hens to make much 'better' roosters all round.
This article might be of interest to you.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/understanding-your-rooster.75056/
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 12, 2009
7,335
7,128
536
western South Dakota
In my experience, the worst roosters you get are raised just with flock mates. They out grow them, are interested in sex much earlier, and often times become a bully or worse a group of bullies.

Often times, these are in first time chicken raisers, and they have been highly attentive to their little chicks, playing with them and cuddling them, giving them treats. The the rooster chicks compound their behavior by not being afraid of humans, and some terrible mean roosters can occur.

A multi-generational flock is the best to raise them in, you get better roosters that are attune with proper chicken society. The most successful roosters are at least a year old. However, roosters are a crap shoot, and some are incredible additions to your flocks, and the rest should be soup.

I want a rooster that is the first to see me, when I come to the coop/run. I want a rooster that is aware of where his hens are, and I want a rooster that gives me room. A rooster, that does not attack my grandchildren. Without a doubt, some roosters are better than others.

In all my 7 roosters to date, one was outstanding. Peace in the flock, good forager, and very, very good predator awareness. My day time predation losses were non existent in very rough country. The one I got now.... maybe he will get there, not quite a year old.

Mrs K
 

BantyChooks

Pullarius
Project manager
Premium member
Aug 1, 2015
56,329
166,222
1,707
My Coop
My Coop
My experience has been that a cockerel raised in a group/tribe/flock with a senior rooster present and senior hens to make much 'better' roosters all round.
This article might be of interest to you.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/understanding-your-rooster.75056/
Agree...
In my experience, the worst roosters you get are raised just with flock mates. They out grow them, are interested in sex much earlier, and often times become a bully or worse a group of bullies.

Often times, these are in first time chicken raisers, and they have been highly attentive to their little chicks, playing with them and cuddling them, giving them treats. The the rooster chicks compound their behavior by not being afraid of humans, and some terrible mean roosters can occur.

A multi-generational flock is the best to raise them in, you get better roosters that are attune with proper chicken society. The most successful roosters are at least a year old. However, roosters are a crap shoot, and some are incredible additions to your flocks, and the rest should be soup.

I want a rooster that is the first to see me, when I come to the coop/run. I want a rooster that is aware of where his hens are, and I want a rooster that gives me room. A rooster, that does not attack my grandchildren. Without a doubt, some roosters are better than others.

In all my 7 roosters to date, one was outstanding. Peace in the flock, good forager, and very, very good predator awareness. My day time predation losses were non existent in very rough country. The one I got now.... maybe he will get there, not quite a year old.

Mrs K
...and agree.

I have noticed a large difference in how good the mature cock birds are based on what their environment was like when they were young. One of the worst birds I ever had was raised (by someone else) with only pullets the same age as him. No older hens, no roosters, not even a rooster the same age. He had some of the worst chicken social skills ever. He eventually fought to the death with my lead cock. (It was a hot day; he got heat stroke.) My current arrangement (several older cocks with a clear hierarchy around to train the little guys) outputs many more decent roosters than any of my fellow local chicken-keepers get.

Almost all roosters will breed hens without hesitation. Whether they aren't jerks about it is another factor entirely.
 

Harmony Fowl

Songster
Jul 17, 2017
601
1,063
246
Virginia
A distinction should be made between acquiring an adult rooster who has already demonstrated his quality versus acquiring one as a chick to raise by hand versus allowing a hen in an existing flock to raise a male chick. I don't really think the presence of an adult rooster impacts the young males so much as just the presence of functional adult chickens. Hens can and do lead flocks and keep young cockerels in line, at least for awhile. We (collectively) often raise chicks by hand. When we do this for puppies or kittens, we are incredibly aware of socializing the babies, usually to be good pets in the future. How do any of us know anything about socializing hand raised chicks to be good chickens? Most chickens aren't indoor pets in the sense cats and dogs are, so when they're raised by hands and socialized as pets and then sent into the coop to live as chickens, they don't make very good pets or such great chickens. I hear a lot of stories about mean hens, too, and while I have my share of mean individuals, my whole flock altogether couldn't give two hoots about me integrating new chicks again. There certainly isn't any of the death squad mentality I've heard described between an existing flock of (you guessed, hand raised) hens and a new batch of youngsters. I think growing up in a flock, at least from a young age, is what gives roos the best chance at being good roos. They still won't all be good, genetics play a large role in personality, but normal behavior in the flock teaches that same behavior to its new members. No flock, no normal behavior, from male or female role models. Acquiring a good adult rooster is good. Allowing hens to raise chicks to get a rooster is good. Acquiring chicks to raise by hand is most effective, in my opinion, when you can get those chicks outside ASAP to be part of the flock, far earlier than the fully feathered criterion some use. The earlier, the better.
 

adickenscoop

Songster
Mar 15, 2015
112
86
106
Well, all I can say is, I've adopted most of the 7 roosters and 5 hens (2 roosters live with the 5 hens peacefully and 5 other roosters live peacefully as a bachelor flock) individually at different times from shelters over the years (all different ages and breeds). Oh and most of them know tricks, they are ALL use to being handled and cuddled, and act like puppy dogs. I just followed this list of tips given on this infographic - http://www.poultrydvm.com/featured-infographic/gentling-roosters
 

FlyAnywayAJ

Chirping
Aug 5, 2017
62
53
88
Very interesting information folks! Thank you! Our current flock has ladies of various ages (mostly 2 years and under) with one "old gal" who is top bird. We have some chicks varying from 1-4 months old from which we plan to choose our breeding male from. Unfortunately when we did this last year our rooster was not a great protector and was only making "barnyard mix" chicks (ie was mating with other breeds of hens but not with the hens of his breed to give us the planned purebreads). We weren't sure if because he wasn't raised with an older rooster was he not taught his job, or was it just poor luck. Sounds like it maybe was a bit of both! Maybe we will try and find an older rooster to show our cockerel the ropes!
 
Top Bottom