Reality of keeping a Rooster and other questions

JakeBarnes

In the Brooder
Nov 7, 2018
11
12
26
Brisbane, Australia
Hi all, this is my first post. We’re new to chicken-keeping. We’ve had a bit of a rough introduction. We initially bought two day-old chicks, with a plan to get more in the future. They were lovely and we bonded with them nicely and they seemed to love cuddles with us (We could be projecting, I know). Anyone one of them died and we quickly went out and got two more to keep the survivor free. A few days later the other original chick died and the next day one of the newer arrivals died. We took our last remaining chick to the bird vet and he confirmed she had coccidiosis - $360 later she is still with us. After cleaning the brooder out thoroughly we ended up getting three more chicks. They have all survived but one of them, an Orpington, has turned out to be a rooster :rolleyes:

Emotionally, we’d love to keep him - I think Roosters are beautiful birds and I don’t want to condemn him to a brutal end that he wouldn’t have if we kept him - but we live in the city. The city rules ban roosters, but frankly I wouldn’t care about that if I thought we could get away with it. Keeping him would mean a no-crow Rooster collar. What are people’s experience with them - how well do they work, are they cruel, do the roosters get used to them? If I started using one early, as in before he learned to crow, and was careful about adjusting the size as he grew, would it work better - ie would he never even realise how loudly he would be able to crow without it and would that change his behaviour?

The other considerations are the hens - there are three of them (well, I have some concerns one of those may be a rooster too because of late feathering) Will they be over-mated? Will they all be miserable? We plan to free range them during the day.

Also, I’ve got two little boys, one is three and the other is one. Will they be safe around roosters?


Finally, on a non-rooster related question. I mentioned earlier that we bonded nicely with the original day old chicks. That hasn’t really happened with theses others. They are flighty and seem to want to avoid me (the Cocci survivor, who we have had the longest, is a little better than the others). They feel more like captives than pets (which is what we were after). Is that likely to change as they get older, or if they want to avoid us now will it always be like that? Should I just get ducks instead next time ;)


Thanks for reading, any advice will be greatly appreciated.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
44,898
78,519
1,452
Wisconsin
Since you have young children I personally wouldn't keep the rooster. It isn't worth the risk.

Some young birds will act like you are the boogeyman, but if handled consistently when young most become more friendly as they sexually mature, some can even be too friendly.

What breeds? Some breeds are more flighty than others.
 

JakeBarnes

In the Brooder
Nov 7, 2018
11
12
26
Brisbane, Australia
Since you have young children I personally wouldn't keep the rooster. It isn't worth the risk.

Some young birds will act like you are the boogeyman, but if handled consistently when young most become more friendly as they sexually mature, some can even be too friendly.

What breeds? Some breeds are more flighty than others.

Thanks for the response, you’re probably right about not being worth the risk with the kids. I’ve never really met an adult rooster before so I don’t know what to expect on that front. I suppose I thought that coming from a supposedly docile breed and being raised around my boys might mitigate the risk but I guess you can never tell.

The breeds are: Orpington (Roo), Plymouth Rock, Speckled Sussex and an Oliver Egger (I believe descended from a Welsummer). The Olive Egger is the “nicest” and the Plymouth Rock the flightiest - actually I have a small concern about that one being a roo because it’s at least a month old and is well behind on feather development. It’s our smallest chicken though
 

Kale Chips

Songster
Apr 2, 2018
219
690
181
Wisconsin
I can't weigh in on the rooster debate since I have never had one, but I wanted to chime in and say that I was really hoping with my own chicks to have them be friendly pets. They went through a phase were they screamed and clawed and acted like I was eating them whole every time I picked one up...it was awful! They were SO anti-social, however, once they reached egg-laying age, they have all totally mellowed out. They let me pick them up, they climb on my shoulders, and they just love attention. So moral of the story, don't give up until they reach adulthood, where they may finally realize that they love you too <3
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
44,898
78,519
1,452
Wisconsin
You have mostly gentle breeds. They should eventually calm down.

I have 2 really nice buff Orpington roosters. They are respectful boys. I don't have little kids. Kids sometimes can trigger reactions from rooster because of their size and moments. Generally the more you handled a young rooster the more likely they are to challenge you as they mature because they view you as part of the flock.

When a rooster attacks it's generally to jump at the face with the claws. Kids can get severely injured. You just never know. If the rooster is always confined it may be okay.

As far as the crow collar, I personally believe roosters should be allowed to be roosters. They basically strangle the bird every time he raises his head. Some use them, but I have read of dead birds from them.
 

JakeBarnes

In the Brooder
Nov 7, 2018
11
12
26
Brisbane, Australia
I can't weigh in on the rooster debate since I have never had one, but I wanted to chime in and say that I was really hoping with my own chicks to have them be friendly pets. They went through a phase were they screamed and clawed and acted like I was eating them whole every time I picked one up...it was awful! They were SO anti-social, however, once they reached egg-laying age, they have all totally mellowed out. They let me pick them up, they climb on my shoulders, and they just love attention. So moral of the story, don't give up until they reach adulthood, where they may finally realize that they love you too <3

Thanks so much, that’s what I was hoping to hear. A little affection would make it all worth it!
 

JakeBarnes

In the Brooder
Nov 7, 2018
11
12
26
Brisbane, Australia
You have mostly gentle breeds. They should eventually calm down.

I have 2 really nice buff Orpington roosters. They are respectful boys. I don't have little kids. Kids sometimes can trigger reactions from rooster because of their size and moments. Generally the more you handled a young rooster the more likely they are to challenge you as they mature because they view you as part of the flock.

When a rooster attacks it's generally to jump at the face with the claws. Kids can get severely injured. You just never know. If the rooster is always confined it may be okay.

As far as the crow collar, I personally believe roosters should be allowed to be roosters. They basically strangle the bird every time he raises his head. Some use them, but I have read of dead birds from them.

Yikes, I definitely don’t want to risk that happening to our kids. We’l be free-ranging to the risks are too great.

Yeah I wasn’t totally sold on the collar either, just thought it might be preferable from the roosters point of view to being slaughtered
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
44,898
78,519
1,452
Wisconsin
Yikes, I definitely don’t want to risk that happening to our kids. We’l be free-ranging to the risks are too great.

Yeah I wasn’t totally sold on the collar either, just thought it might be preferable from the roosters point of view to being slaughtered
As long as the rooster is handled respectfully at slaughter time he doesn't know about death and being dinner. Chickens live in the present, and most roosters live short lives, so yours probably has had a better life than most. I understand the guilt though, but it's a part of chicken keeping.
 

christwodog

Songster
Jan 16, 2017
429
726
186
My personal experience with roosters is that they are one of nature's most unpredictable creatures! My blue ameraucana was always fine with us, never showed any hint of aggression until one day he spurred the crap out of my leg - it was a sneak attack from behind. We tried to work with him, to no avail, he just had it in his brain that we were now the enemy and needed to be dealt with. So he now has his own bachelor pad pen, and is not allowed out with the others because he became very aggressive with them also. This all happened at about two years of age, I guess he reached full maturity at that point. My other roo is a light Brahma and he is behaving nicely, but I never turn my back on him. At this point I would rather have no roosters, but they are here now, and I'm not one to give away an animal unless I have no other option.
Good luck with yours, he may be perfectly fine now but be aware of behavior changes as they mature.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,900
11,175
636
western South Dakota
I too, would not keep the rooster and the little boys, ESPECIALLY if they share a yard. Normal playing can be quite upsetting to a rooster. And in my opinion, roosters need some experience. Many times roosters are giving off aggression signals, and people do not pick up on them due to inexperience. However, some roosters do just attack out of nowhere.

I do not recommend roosters until the youngest child is over 6 years old. At that age, an attack would still be scary, but probably not in the face.

As for the hens, teen agers are notoriously flighty. In my experience, hens are more friendly to people without a rooster. With a rooster in the flock, it changes the dynamics. They look to him first.

Mrs K
 

MANNA-PRO

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom