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Rooster Breed Recommendations

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KowTippin, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. KowTippin

    KowTippin Out Of The Brooder

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    I've been considering adding a rooster to my flock to protect my girls (we were waiting to see if we would accidentally get one from the hatchery but they got it 100% right!). Was wondering what breeds people recommend for being a protector but still good with other animals and kids. We have 2 small dogs (small as in some of my girls weigh more than the dogs!) and I have 2 kids that love spending time with the chickens and I want to keep it that way!
     
  2. ChickenKing319

    ChickenKing319 Out Of The Brooder

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    I would suggest a buff orpington or a barred rock. Both are very protective and are great with people.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I would say none at all. Roosters and children are usually a disaster waiting to happen. If you want pets for your children to spend time with, stay with hens for at least a year. Get to know chickens in general, how to manage a flock and generally get comfortable with the birds. Then, next spring, if you're not having any behavioral issues, or other problems, you MIGHT consider adding a rooster. I'd still say no if the kids are young, but you don't say how old they are. Roosters aren't pets, they're hormonal driven little bundles of testosterone!

    Folks think roosters protect hens, and they do to some extent, but most roosters are only going to warn hens of something unusual. Some will sacrifice themselves, but not all. Plus, if you're keeping the birds as pets, I'm thinking you're not free ranging in an area where you're going to have large predator issues, your birds are more pets and you're going to protect them better. I think it's far better if you protect your birds through good flock management, and leave the roosters for another time.
     
  4. Mrsfoote

    Mrsfoote Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2010
    Laurel Montana
    I'm sorry I'm going to have to disagree here on that last post. I've had chickens for 4 years now. Roosters from the get go. I lived in the suburbs where you aren't suppose to have roosters but did any ways. Neighbors loved them. I've owned 4 Brahma Roosters. Really are impressive and gentle giants. And I have a Olive Egger Rooster right now as well as my Buff laced brahma. PERFECT gentlemen. My most rowdy and "aggressive" rooster was my silkie who died protecting his girls from a hawk. I have two small children ages 4 and almost 6 who've been raised with Roosters.

    I think breed has a lot to do with the out come, but I also think how they are raised matters as well. My Olive Egger has been four inch spurs never been trimmed or cut and he is almost 3. Never used them on me. When they go through their teenage phase I tend to hose them down, tuck them under my arm and promptly carry them around the yard and mortify them in front of their girls. Or give em one good swift one in the tush. But that almost never happens.

    We just relocated from California to Montana and my Buff laced Brahma nailed my arm with his beak as I was crating up the girls that were going to travel with him and I pulled him out tucked him around and carried him around, he was well behaved after that .

    But I think Brahma's are great roosters, they tend to be quieter as well. All my roosters are very considerate and don't crow before 7 am. And all the Roosters I"ve raised and sold of various other breeds have been great too. !

    Good luck!
     
  5. KowTippin

    KowTippin Out Of The Brooder

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    We live in the country on a farm where there are lots of predators (hawks, coyotes, raccoons...). While all of our animals are "pets" they have a function for us. We handle all of our animals on a regular basis starting very young so they are friendly. We have several large steers that follow us around like a dog! We don't have the chickens free ranged but they are in a huge run. We don't have any issues with squabbling between our girls and we've had them since June they've been raised all together. Our youngest child right now is 2!
     
  6. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    I've always preferred a rooster. I don't see a flock as complete without one. They alert the flock at the sight of anything alien to them, and a good one keeps squabbling between hens to a minimum. Lighter, more active breeds have a better chance of getting away from danger while alerting the flock. Building a completely secure pen and coop, top to bottom, is the best way if predators are a concern. Monitor their range time if you let them out of the pen. Trap and kill all predators, in the most lawful way of course, that try to inhabit your property. Any questions on that can be answered by your local Fish and Game department.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
  7. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    I forgot to mention the size of hens should be considered. Some breeds of roosters are very large, which can cause injury to smaller breed hens. I like to keep spurs short and file the ends round.
     
  8. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    KowTippin,

    I agree with a lot of what the other posters said, that breed matters and how you raise your chickens and rooster matters a great deal too. Clearly, your children are used to farm animals and if they're not, I imagine from what you wrote that part of the experience is so they can also learn to respect and work with the animals as well. Good for you! Lucky children you have, getting exposed to this lifestyle and learning so much.

    I'd would recommend a Barred Rock for your rooster. This is based on my experience. My rooster is a BR and he is AWESOME in every way. I raised him with the other chicks from a week old and picked him from a group of 8 cockerals. I made the right choice. When he was a juvenile, he went through that stage where he didn't have much in the way of manners towards the mature hens. He'd pretty much chase them down and well... you know, take them. They didn't want to be dominated and he didn't know how to court them. But as he grew and they grew, he now tidbits for them, they flock around him always.

    As he hit that juvenile stage, he also challenged his authority with me. He tried that Matrix-like fly through the air kicking my boots with both feet at the same time trick. Funny to watch, he was so full of himself doing it. I of course, made sure he knew that was not acceptable. I didn't do anything harsh, just caught him by the tail feathers, picked him up and sat with him petting him in front of the rest of the flock. I put him down when I was good and ready and on my timing, not his. This happened once or twice as he was trying to figure out if I was higher or lower in the pecking order than he is and now he knows. Now, I walk up to him and all he does is tidbit for me. Usually, it's some stick or piece of straw but he's trying to win me over, silly boy. Not one sign of aggression from him towards me, my husband or any of our many visitors. Perfect gentleman towards humans.

    One thing that's been especially interesting to watch as he grows and the hens maturate is that he knows when each hen is about to reach the point of lay. He starts mating with them, of course. But then, he spends time with each of them showing them the proper place to lay their egg, which is in the hen house. I free range so him showing them THE ONE CORRECT PLACE to lay the egg is VERY important to me so I don't have to hunt all over the woods for the eggs! He's funny to watch, clucking around and laying on the straw right next to the nest box to demonstrate where to lay the egg and the hen just watching him intently. Then... here comes the best part, he stayed with the hen the entire time she laid her first egg. I saw him do this twice with 2 separate hens. One time, he stayed with her for an hour and 45 minutes while she messed around in the hen house picking a nest box and just doing I don't know what until she could lay her very first egg. He stayed there with her the entire time, clucking to show her where to lay the egg and keeping her company. Now, she sticks to him like glue. Where he goes, she goes.

    And predator protection is way better with a good rooster. He alerts for overhead predators (hawks) and the flock runs for cover. He's constantly looking for anything or anyone entering the area and he has a special warning squawk that says "I see something, Everyone. I don't know if it's a threat yet but I'm just putting you on notice." They'll be up in the woods and he'll perch up on something high. He'll survey the area while all the other chickens are foraging. He comes RUNNING to see what any noise is, checking it out, making sure everything is OK. I don't know when he eats because he's always so busy all day. I think it must be in the morning when they first get up.

    After a hen lays an egg in the hen house, if he hears her singing the egg song, he'll go get her and escort her back to wherever the rest of the flock is hanging out. He can be way up in the woods pretty far away with the rest of the flock and he'll hear her. He'll come running down from the woods, find her, sometimes take a second to mate with her (!), then they both go back to re-join the rest of the flock together. I can tell that the hens really do appreciate this because when they sing their egg song and he is too far away and can't hear her, the hen seems lost and lonely for a bit and seems at a loss for what to do or where to go look for the flock. Sometimes, I'll help the hen find the flock but it sure is nice when the rooster takes care of this and helps the hen.

    Then... I got a new dog, my 3rd. That's when I knew this rooster was the bomb. Whenever the rooster spotted the dog, he'd sound a more urgent predator alarm. For the first many days, the rooster planted himself between the flock and the new dog. After he seemed somewhat sure the dog was not a huge threat, the rooster would semi-charge the dog to show the dog he meant business and was not to be messed with and that he was not going to put up with that dog getting near his flock. I'm not saying it was smart of the rooster to do this but it does show that he's taking his protector of the flock part of his job very, very seriously. Dead serious, I'd say! I do believe the rooster would have tried to fight the dog if it came to that. Of course, I was very careful with every interaction the dog had with the flock to ensure everyone's safety and to ensure the dog learned well that the chickens were ours to protect (not kill or eat) but that's another story. The point is, the rooster did a great job helping the dog understand the chickens were not toys or food or to be otherwise messed with.

    I know many have chickens with no rooster for various reasons (don't want one, don't need one, can't have one due to regulations). Some say that a hen will take over many of these functions when there is no rooster present and I'm sure that's 100% true. It is hard for me to imagine a hen doing all these functions (Going and getting a hen that just laid an egg to help her back to the flock? Sitting with her while she lays her first egg? Taking on a dog?) Finally, I also want a broody hen to raise some chicks for me some day and I can't do that without a rooster.

    And just for sheer personality alone, a rooster is loads of fun. For me, a rooster makes the flock immensely more interesting and entertaining. And anyone who says that all roosters are mean are wrong. Some roosters are mean by nature. I had 2 of these, Rhode Island Reds, raised them the same as the others and they were just ornery. But when you get the right rooster and raise them well, you get a great addition to your flock. And... if you find your rooster is not working out... truly, I'm not being crass, there is the dinner table. This can be an integral part of having chickens too. But that's another topic all together.

    Hope this helps,
    Guppy
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  9. farmgirl277

    farmgirl277 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2013
    I agree with most of the others. I have had two barred rock roosters and I love them both. My current one is still a juvenile and did have to be put in his place once but we have had no more problems. He is very sweet and gentle and is doing his best to care for his hens (he is only 6 months old) the only thing I do have to say is that he is probally twice the size of his sisters and if you have very small hens a barred rock coild be too big.
    Hope this helps,
    Alex
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  10. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Good point on the size. My barred rock that I wrote about above is a big boy, probably twice the size of some of the less mature hens. However, it doesn't seem to matter as they hold him fine when he mates with them. He doesn't over-mate them either, no bare backs or even lost feathers or any of that.

    One other thing I forgot to mention is that I have a second rooster,a Black Australorp, that the barred rock rooster grew up with. This second rooster is a "spare" just in case anything happens to the barred rock rooster. I free range (no fence, no run, secure coop at night) on the border of 3,000 acres of forest so I have a high predator risk during the day. Anyway, the barred rock and australorp get along fine. The australorp rooster behaves more like a hen, sharing zero of the rooster flock master responsibilities (no mating, no tid bitting, hen-like predator alarming, etc.). The two roosters co-exist just fine with zero conflict between them.

    Guppy
     

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