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Rooster age and breed for mixed flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Lady Grey, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. Lady Grey

    Lady Grey Out Of The Brooder

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    I wasn't sure where to post this, but here goes!

    I am considering getting a rooster next spring/summer, when my hens will be between 7-12 months old. I have multiple breeds in my flock: one each of barred Plymouth Rock, GL Wyandotte, RIR, Australorp, Marans, white Leghorn, and EE.

    Obviously, I don't want a highly strung breed who will terrorize my mostly docile hens. Since my flock are primarily pets, color is a consideration, too. I want a pretty rooster with a nice personality, which brings me to my next question: should I get a young rooster, and let him grow up with my hens, or should I get an older, established roo whose hormones will be more stable? Will an older boy crow less often? This is important, because our landlord (who lives on the property) will object to loud noises at four in the morning!

    One last consideration: our solid has awful drainage. In the winter we get mud and water everywhere. My birds free-range during the day, so they can get away from the mud to a certain extent, but I really can't have any breed whose feathers are prone to being soiled.

    Does anybody have advice on what breeds to look at? If I want to keep a roo, I kind of need to get it right on the first try, because the landlord is a confirmed city guy (Why he lives in the country is beyond me!) So far he's tolerated our goats, ducks, geese, hens, and cats, so I think I can get away with a rooster if I'm careful!

    I don't think a roo could possibly be louder than my gander!!
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    normally I'd advise to get a younger cockerel, around 4 months old, and let your hens teach him manners as he matures. In your case I'm not sure that would be the best bet, though. Since you don't feel you have flexibility to do trial and error, I'd go with an older bird ( at least a year) who has a known temperament. They're not as easy to find, as most folks have either gotten rid of a rooster by then or have decided to keep it forever. But, if you put a wanted ad on CL in the farm and garden, you'll probably have some good responses, enough to sift through and have your pick.

    I'd say nothing feather footed. I'm in the PNWish also and feathered feet are a pain in the butt.

    Besides that, breed is going to be a matter of preference. There are a lot of pretty EE roosters out there. Most of the breeds you have, the roosters are amazingly gorgeous. Or, you may get something different like a buff Orpington. They're beautiful golden boys.

    I think focusing more on temperament than specific breed will be the way to go.
     
  3. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Why push your luck?
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    In my opinion breed does not matter in whether a rooster crows a lot or not. You can find plenty of posts about roosters of any breed where they either crow a lot or very little. That much is pure luck. The best way to avoid a rooster crowing at night is to keep the coop dark. Even in the country you might have a security light or a pick-up may pass and shine lights in the coop. Ona clear night the moon can be pretty bright. Maybe a curtain over the window at night?

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but some colors are a lot more dominant than others. Black will cover up a lot so I’d avoid a black rooster. White is iffy since there are different ways to make white. I’d avoid a white rooster too. Red is really neutral and will usually allow other colors to show. That’s probably your best bet. I’m personally partial to buff. It will allow other colors to show but can have strange effects too. There are plenty of buff breeds out there. If you are getting one off of Craigslist a red barnyard mix would probably suite you very well.

    I also vote for a mature rooster. You can get a lot of drama as a cockerel matures, especially in a flock of older hens. A mature rooster should move in and take charge with little drama. It is possible your dominant hen will resist a rooster coming in and taking over but usually they soon become best buddies
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I'll third the 'get an adult advise'.
    Less drama and you'll know what he looks like with adult plumage.
    But....buyer beware, many roosters being given away, or sold, is because they are aggressive.
    Ask over and over if he's human aggressive, not all givers/sellers are honest....do some homework, have the person pick up the roo.

    Also have to give a nod to the 'why push your luck' advise.
    Does your gander scream at 4 am?
    It is a crap shoot how much, or when, a rooster will sound off.
     
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Roosters are a crap shoot. Older ones can be a better choice, but regardless, they have a small brain and a lot of hormones. As AArt says, a lot of people tend to get rid of an aggressive rooster. An aggressive rooster can be dangerous, especially to small children.

    My point, I strongly recommend that you not get a rooster unless you are sure you can cull a rooster if he does not work out. Some do not work out.

    The other thing is, you speak of your hens as pets. An all hen flock will look to you as the rooster, come to you for treats, even squat for you to be petted. When you add a rooster to the flock, that changes the dynamics of the flock. The hens will do all that for the rooster, and pretty much, he will be between you and the flock. They look to him for tidbits. Your hens will be less pet like, more flock like.

    Mrs K
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feel a flock does better with a good brood cock running the show. It's more organized and peaceful. But not all broodcocks are created equal. Some are excellent, some are all but useless. Men are men after all lol.
    I recommend getting a mature young rooster. They are usually free to whomever will take them. You can "raise" him to a certain degree to be what you want. Your methods etc. and there are plenty to choose from. Plenty of varieties and colors and breeds. Be observant to his temperament when observing him. To hens other cocks and especially humans. Course if he is way down the totem pole in his current home, his personality will change when he becomes the cock of the walk. But you should get an idea of personality traits. Remember Mediterranean breeds are generally flightier than others. Which will potentially ruin the hens. He will rub off on them.

    Just for reference I'll list some of the best and worst brood cocks I've ever had. Remeber this is based on individuals. Not as a breed.

    Best: sc Rhode Island white. Welsummers. Black jersey giant. Couple of American games
    Worst: marans X pendeseca. Pure ameraucana. Rhode Island Red. Couple of American games.
     
  8. Lady Grey

    Lady Grey Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow, you guys have given me a lot to think about! Colors, breeds, ages, flock dynamics-- it's fascinating.

    Lol. My gander does not scream at four am, thank heavens! The shed I have them in now is very dark, but I am hoping to build or buy a proper coop next spring, so I'll have to keep the darkness issue in mind. I struggle with severe chronic illness, so if I can't regain some measure of health by spring, I'll have to buy whatever I can find-- windows or no.
     
  9. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, you might try talking to your landlord before you get a rooster. Might avoid hard feelings down the road.
     
  10. Lady Grey

    Lady Grey Out Of The Brooder

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    Weehopper, he agreed to let us get some small farm-type animals when we moved in. Plus, they live almost a quarter mile up the driveway from where the shed is. A rooster shouldn't bother him too much, provided it doesn't crow all night. Mr. Landlord is a nice guy, but he can be mildly frustrating at times; he tends to have a knee-jerk reaction to anything new or unusual, and refuses to reconsider his decision. The property we live on used to be a real farm-- his wife grew up here. I might try talking to her about a rooster, and see if she thinks it would work out. She loves our animals, as does their daughter, so we have them on our side!

    Out of curiosity, what are the specific pros and cons of younger vs. older Roos?
     

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