Rooster Question for the Ol' Timers ;)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by thegreypony, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. thegreypony

    thegreypony Chillin' With My Peeps

    Greetings, Ol' Timers, I humbly beseech you to lay some rooster wisdom on me...

    We've got a flock of 19 hens (5 are bantams) + 1 beautifully dumb 9 month old Brown Leghorn "rooster-ette" (he looks too grown up to be calling him a cockerel though that is what he technically is). Sam is a very nice rooster, protecting the girls, offering them tasty tidbits of food, and breaking up disagreements and arguments when the banties get out of sorts. Aside from the fact that he crows incessantly, starting around 3:30-4am, we really like having him around. he's not at all aggressive.

    He started breeding the hens around late December & has been gentlemanly until recently. His affections towards the ladies have gotten a little out of hand this week - to the point where I was considering a separate yard for him because the 2 hens upon which he seems to be the sweetest are starting to just look worn out-ish. But to move him out sort of does away with the whole point of keeping him around which is to keep the flock in order.

    My question - what is the likelihood that Sam's "affectionate" nature is going to grow along with him and then maybe level off once he is fully matured? Or is it possible that this sudden surge of roo-tosterone is related to the seasons and he will settle down a little? Are saddles the best option or do you find roosters to be fickle, shifting their attentions to other hens on a whim?

    Sorry to be so verbose...not new to intact livestock (had stallions in the horse barns before but a horse is not a bird) - but having a rooster in the flock is new. I just want to do what's best for the flock...which may be just leaving it all alone & letting nature take it's course. ;) TIA for your advice/thoughts. :)
     
  2. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Seasonal hormones and his age (he's a hormonal teenager)

    It might get better or worse...

    depends on the rooster.
     
  3. highpointfarm

    highpointfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 29, 2012
    Orange County NY
    Agreed
     
  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    My young cockerel is getting like that now that it's breeding season as well. I'm lucky that my hens don't look worn out. They seem to be fast enough to get away from him. My bantam roo will stop him if he gets too out of control. Though I am not an OT, I think that hormoines rage when they are under 18 months. They may level off once he is fully mature, but it can not be guaranteed. My older roo is such a good boy and does not over-breed the ladies at all.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    It sounds like you really would rather he remain with the flock. In that case, by all means protect his favorite girls with saddles. They really do help, and they allow the feathers to grow back without getting picked out as soon as the yummy pin feathers emerge. I've had a hen go over a year with a bald back until putting a saddle on her finally allowed the feathers to grow back.

    I prefer saddles to goopy concoctions like "Pick-no mor", which are messy and don't really work that well.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Agreed. Probably a bit of both. There is a pretty good chance he will grow out of it, but it could be a problem in the meantime. Some feather loss during mating is not a big deal. The risk is that he might take away enough feathers that he can cut them with his spurs or toenails. If they see a raw wound, the others may become cannibalistic. It really does not happen that often, but when it does, it can be deadly.

    I actually consider toenails more dangerous than the spurs. I've had this problem before. The first time I put saddles on some hens and that worked. The next time it happened, I trimmed the young rooster's spurs and toenails with a Dremel tool. I did not try to remove the entire spur or toenail. Instead, I just cut off the tip to blunt it so it was not sharp. This stopped the damage from getting worse. When the hens molted, they regrew their feathers. By the time the spurs and toenails re-grew, the rooster had matured enough that this was not a problem.

    My goals are probably different than yours and I handle this differently now. If I have a roosters with several hens and only one or two hens are having barebacked problems, I do not consider that the rooster's fault. If a lot of hens are having that problem, then, yes, I look for a different rooster. But I've found that if I remove the one or two hens from the flock that are having barebacked problems, the barebacked problems go away. I hold the hens equally responsible with the rooster for having a healthy contented flock. Radical, I know.
     

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