rooster or no rooster?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by crazychicken5, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. crazychicken5

    crazychicken5 Out Of The Brooder

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    I own five red sex link hens and was wondering about adding a rooster. (they are about 7 months old and are all laying)

    Is it ok to buy a rooster off craigslist?

    Would he need to be quarantined? If so for how long?

    Should I worry about frostbite, there's about 2ft of snow and the temperature gets down to between zero and fifteen degrees at night in the winter? Is it ok to get a Roo in the winter?

    I definitely want to free range the girls, would a Roo help protect them?

    Any advice?

    First time chicken owner, please help!
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  2. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    With only 5 hens, I definitely would not get a rooster unless I got some more hens for my flock. The recommended ratio of roosters to hens is 1 rooster for every 10 hens. As they mature, too many hens (or too few in your case) will become very hard physically on your hens; over-breeding them, biting and plucking the feathers from their necks and backs, battering them, and potentially, seriously injuring them. Most domesticated roosters (some breeds like games can be an exception) are too docile to be of any real help in protecting the flock from predators anyway. The only reason you really need a rooster is to fertilize eggs for hatching and 1 rooster can easily handle 10 hens in this regard. Also, keep in mind that Red Sex Link hens are hybrids and will not breed true anyway--even if you mate them to a Red Sex Link rooster. I currently have 25 hens, and no roosters in my flock, and I get loads of eggs, without the aggression, fights, biting and feather plucking, crowing in the middle of the night, feeding of non-productive mouths, drop off in egg production, over-breeding and battering of hens that typically goes along with having roosters (especially too many). My hens are stress free and enjoying life without a rooster around. If you do decide to get a rooster, just be sure and get enough hens to spread his attentions out among them. Good luck with your flock.
     
  3. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    P.S. Red Sex Links are very cold hardy and as long as they have a well ventilated, dry, and draft free coop, they should be fine. I've raised chickens where winter temperatures dropped to 30 F below zero and with a dry, draft free coop had no health problems. Feathers are wonderful insulators, and moisture is a much greater danger than cold. Just to be on the safe side regarding frost bite, you can spread some vaseline on their combs. Also, if your plan is to free range, some losses to predators are inevitably going to happen. It will be up to you to decide whether or not they are acceptable losses. Good luck with your flock.
     
  4. crazychicken5

    crazychicken5 Out Of The Brooder

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    ok, thanks for the advice, I want my girls to be happy and if a rooster will be to hard on them I probably won't get one [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  5. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    You're welcome. If you really just personally want a rooster, get one (some chicken owners like having one), but just make certain that you get enough hens for him to spread his attentions (abuse :eek:) out among them.
     
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    A rooster would be perfectly fine with that number of hens. They do quite fine in pairs and trios, so five or six hens would be perfect. Some roosters can be more aggressive breeders than others, but that's more an individual thing. If you went with a smaller rooster breed (especially a bantam!) you wouldn't have to worry about it. I found with a lot of my roosters, they would choose a single girl (I had over thirty chickens at the time and two roosters) and mount that one the most. This caused the back to become bare, but I used a hen saddle for that bird and the feathers grew in fine. That wasn't a matter of too few hens, but rather she was the rooster's favorite! (The other rooster was a bantam Cochin and can barely mount any of the standard girls)

    As long as you live in a neighborhood that allows roosters, I would say go for it. There is nothing wrong with buying off of craigslist, but I do recommend quarantine. The recommended time for that is three to four weeks, but the longer the better.

    If the rooster is used to being outdoors, he should be fine in the cold. You can apply Vaseline to the comb and wattles if you are worried though. That does an excellent job at preventing frostbite!
     
  7. crazychicken5

    crazychicken5 Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  8. crazychicken5

    crazychicken5 Out Of The Brooder

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    Is it better to get an older or younger rooster?
     
  9. crazychicken5

    crazychicken5 Out Of The Brooder

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    well i got one, his name is basil and he's very handsome
     
  10. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    I would suggest getting a younger rooster as he will be less hormonal initially and have less tendency to bully the hens. Also, the recommended ratio of roosters to hens is 1 rooster for every 10 hens. Sometimes a chicken owner can get by with less hens (depending on the temperament of the individual rooster), but the more hens, the less apt you are to have over-breeding and hen battering problems with your rooster.
     

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