Rolled The Dice- Now What?

Call911

In the Brooder
May 7, 2015
9
2
21
I respect opinion's from the Backyard Chickens site and Forums. I try to learn from others, and not necessarily my mistakes, although not always successful, as you will see below:

I bought 6 straight run Isa Browns form TSC (I know....) and no one from TSC would or could tell me what the sex was, or would/could be. So, in my "rolling the dice" logic, I decided to get 3 white and 3 brown chicks, and hoped for the best. Now, after 5 weeks of brooding, I now know (or think) I have 3 cockerels and 3 pullets (see photo below).



We have a small farm in So Maryland and are raising chickens for the education of our kids and us as well, for fresh eggs, and NOT to be eaten. So far, its very fulfilling.

I have read in the forum somewhere, that MAYBE 2 roosters would work with a small brood, but what are my chances (and do I really want to try) of this situation working out? I have seen some signs of 2 of the 3 cockerels trying to establish the pecking order, but nothing serious. I have also read about over use (or over fertilization?) of the Hens?

Anyway, I am asking for opinions, and if necessary, I will try to find a good home to the 1-2 future roosters.

BTW, they will be spending the first full night in the new coop I built tonight. Hope I have learned enough to protect them!
Thanks,
Jim
 

Puddin Fluff

Crowing
7 Years
Mar 30, 2012
5,362
397
291
River Valley, AR
Welcome and best of luck.

How many roos you can keep depends a lot on the personality of the flock as well as the number of hens. With only 3 (possible) hens, I personally would only be comfortable with one roo. As you will see once their hormones kick in, they are worse than teenage boys when it comes to thinking about doing the deed. And they have no impulse control. You will get tired of seeing them get on the girls and the girls will have this look like "not again".

As far as the TSC folks knowing about sex, most breeds if they come as straight run chicks, there is no way to know unless they have been vent sexed and they certainly don't pay the folks at TSC enough to learn to do that properly.

Good luck. Sounds like you are off to a good start.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,696
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On the MN prairie.
The best thing you can do is watch your flock. When I hatched out chicks a few years ago, I ended up with 50% cockerels and pullets. When the males got to maturity, the poor girls were run ragged. They couldn't eat, drink, or dust bathe because one or more of the cockerels would be chasing and trying to mate them. If you can't find homes for the ones you want to get rid of, you may have to build a bachelor pen to give your girls some peace.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
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Southern Oregon
I'd advise to go ahead and get rid of all the roosters now. You didn't want males, you don't need a male, and they add a whole different dynamic to the flock. In 2-3 months, if you did keep one, he's going to be sexually mature a few months ahead of your pullets. Then you'll have a horny cockerel grabbing your pullets and pulling feathers, scared immature Pullets screaming and fighting....it ain't pretty. Just sell or give them away, maybe get a few more pullets if you want more birds.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,884
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western South Dakota
I agree with Donrae. She has a great deal of experience, and gives good advice.

I have a personal theory that a rooster raised with flock mates, tends to be a bully because there is a lot of hormones and a very small brain, and nothing bigger to keep it lower in the pecking order. They out grow the pullets and mature earlier and get to bullying the pullets, which can make them way too cocky. Pretty soon, they will start eyeing up the humans too. Then tend to challenge and attack children FIRST.

If you don't have a great deal of chicken experience, you may overlook the signs of possible aggression, until a full blown attack occurs. If your children are under the age of 6 I strongly advise you to get rid of all the roosters asap. Really with 3 hens, that is not enough of a flock for one rooster, especially a young randy rooster.

You have years for this hobby, wait a couple of years, and get some experience with poultry, then try a roos.

My vote, don't keep any of the roosters.

Mrs K
 
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bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,696
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On the MN prairie.
Forget everything I said... Donrae and Mrs. K nailed it. Again. As usual.
smile.png
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
94,902
125,337
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SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Ahhh, Romance meets Reality in the BYC movement once again...sigh.

Well, if you really want to educate your kids, here's the perfect opportunity to let them know where that chicken they probably love to eat really comes from.

I've got three 13 week old cockerels out there right now, and they are going to be delicious on the grill next weekend.

But as harvesting might too much of a learning curve right now......Yep, donrae and Mrs. K have the best advice.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,696
32,249
1,092
On the MN prairie.
I would like to add that when I had 50% cockerels, they were separated from the hens shortly after they started chasing them around. They all went into a grow out pen until we processed them. I agree with aart - it's a good learning opportunity for the kids. If the parents handle it well and matter-of-factly, the kids will most likely be just fine with it. But it's something that should be made clear early on - not just one day say, "Hey, kids, here's were your chicken nuggets come from..."
 

Call911

In the Brooder
May 7, 2015
9
2
21
UPDATE- about 3 weeks ago, I decided to remove 2 of the Roosters (they were really starting to fight and annoy the hens). I could not find anyone other than the local So. Md Amish farmers who would take them.
They hold a live farm animal auction once a week and the Amish gentelman I gave the 2 roos to said they were going to be sold as breeders, as the Amish sell live chicks almost all year long.
The 3 hens are just starting to lay eggs now (after 18-19 weeks) and they brood seems much happier.
Thanks for all the input!
 

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