Rooster breed vs Hen Breed

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by carolinafan58, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. carolinafan58

    carolinafan58 New Egg

    Mar 18, 2016
    We're just getting our chickens and my husband wants New Hampshire or Rhode Island Reds. (New Hampshire is very hard to find here in SC). So, if we go with Rhode Island Reds, I've read things about the roosters that leave me less than excited to get one.

    So, question:

    Can we get a flock of hens that are RI and a different breed rooster?
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    If you are unfamiliar with chicken behavior, especially rooster behavior I wouldn't get a rooster initially, novice owners often end up with a rooster that attacks them. It would be best to get some experience first before trying to add one. You can mix or match any breeds you want. I have a multiple breed flock and enjoy the diversity, plus it's easier to tell them apart. Welcome to chicken keeping.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    I'd second the advise to keep only hens for a year or so and then see how a rooster would fit in your flock.

    That said, chickens are chickens. You can have any breed with any other breed, pretty much. Mixing ornamental breeds with dual purpose or production layers can cause issues, but as long as they're all dual purpose/heavy breeds or production birds, you're good to go.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Chicken breeds are a manmade thing. To a chicken a chicken is a chicken. They can all get along and they can all breed.

    What are your goals? Why do you want chickens and especially why do you want a rooster? The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs. Everything else is personal preference. I always recommend you keep as few roosters as you can and still meet your goals. That’s not because you are guaranteed problems with roosters or more roosters, just that the more roosters you have the more likely problems are. I don’t know your set-up, your or your husband’s experiences with roosters, how many kids and what age they may be that you have, or your goals so I won’t try to tell you whether to get a rooster or not, but I do suggest limiting the number you keep to suit your goals. For some people that number is zero.

    I personally don’t put much faith in breed when it comes to chicken behavior in general or rooster behavior in particular, especially with hatchery birds. I normally breed my own but I have had some roosters from hatcheries I raised from chicks. But if you read through this forum, you will find that some roosters of any breed can be good or bad, human aggressive or not. That includes those “horrible” Rhode Island Reds and those “lovable” Silkies. I know this is mostly a women’s forum, but I believe that the hens have a part of play in flock dynamics too. If a RIR rooster might be mean so might a RIR hen.

    While some breeds may have tendencies, I don’t see hatcheries or most breeders breeding for those behavior tendencies. Besides, each chicken is an individual. One rooster is not enough for the averages to mean anything. While you can get a lot of different opinions on how to raise a rooster to not be human aggressive, I believe a lot of it is just luck which individual do you wind up with.

    There is a lot of difference in pullet and cockerel behavior and hens and roosters. Many people see adolescent pullet and cockerel behaviors and assume that is mature adult chicken behavior. It’s not even close. Watching unsupervised uncontrolled adolescents interacting can be pretty hard on the person watching, especially if they are not familiar with chickens and their mating behaviors or how they build the pecking order and sort out flock dominance. As Sumi said, that’s not something for the faint of heart to watch. One approach you could take would be to get a flock of nothing but pullets and when they are a year old, get a year old rooster to add to them. That’s not to gain experience with roosters by raising an all-female flock but to skip that adolescent phase. I assume you are in the States by your screen name. You may be able to find a good rooster nearby if you find your state thread in the “Where am I? Where are you” section of this forum and chat with your neighbors.

    I suggest you decide what your goals are then look through Henderson’s Breed Chart to look at the breed tendencies (there are some breed tendencies, I just don’t believe they are nearly as strong as some people believe, especially with hatchery birds) to help you decide, then go to Feather site to see what the chickens look like.

    Henderson’s Breed Chart

    Good luck and welcome to the adventure.

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