Rooster questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by alan1, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. alan1

    alan1 New Egg

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    May 19, 2016
    I'm new to the chicken seen. I bought 6 chicks 3 buffs 3 RIR'S. They are now almost 4 months old free ranging hens. I would like to introduce a rooster. I had someone tell me if your raising them for eggs don't do it. Well I am raising for eggs. So do I get a rooster? If so what breed and age would work? My coop is only big enough for 6 birds so a hen needs a new home. Should I rehome a buff or rir?
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    What are your goals for your flock? If you're raising chickens for eggs, why would you get rid of a hen and get a rooster? What is your reason for wanting a rooster? Exactly how big is your coop (feet by feet)? Is it one of those pre-built ones you can get at your farm supply store? Do they have a run? Will they free range at all?
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I think Bobbi asked the right question to start with. Why do you want a rooster? What are your goals? These are the types of questions that cannot be answered unless we know a lot about you goals.

    The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs. Every other reason is personal preference. I always recommend people keep as few roosters as they can and still maintain their goals. That’s not because you are guaranteed problems with roosters, just that the more roosters you have the more likely you are to have problems. Lots of people keep roosters even when they do not want fertile eggs, wouldn’t have a flock any other way. Lots of people are happy with a flock with no rooster. Personal preference does matter.

    If you do get a rooster, what breed and age would work? The breed depends on your goals. That your coop can only house six birds sounds suspicious. If you follow the link in my signature about how much room you need, you’ll see I don’t believe in magic square feet per chicken numbers. It’s a lot more complicated than that. But it sounds like fertile eggs probably isn’t one of your goals. I’m not one of those people that believes all chickens in every breed are identical and behave the same. I see a lot of variation in behavior of chickens of the same breed. Without knowing why you want a rooster I can’t get too specific, but breed probably doesn’t matter that much.

    As far as age, an adolescent rooster can be a pain. Immature pullets can often contribute to the mess too. Hormones run wild and they have no self-control. They don’t know how to act. Mature hens and roosters can act a lot differently than immature adolescents. The mature ones are normally a lot calmer and come with a lot less drama. I suggest you wait to introduce a rooster until your pullets are closer to hens, say they have been laying for at least a few months. By then they should know how to act. When you introduce a rooster get one at least their age and preferably a couple of months older. If you do that things should go pretty smoothly. If you introduce an immature cockerel to immature pullets, it can get really messy down there. Imagine a group of 15 year old boys and girls left on their own for a few weeks with no adult supervision. Or maybe you don’t want to imagine that.

    Which pullet to get rid of? The one that does not meet your goals. Since you say your goals are eggs, get rid of the one that is the poorest layer, either in number of eggs or quality of egg. Or if one has a serious behavioral problem, get rid of her. Since they are not laying yet you cannot evaluate their laying, another reason to let them grow up before you get rid of one and introduce a rooster.

    We all have our own goals and personal preferences. I can’t make these decisions for you. Hopefully this helps a bit, but it’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself.

    Good luck and welcome to the forum!
     
  4. alan1

    alan1 New Egg

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    May 19, 2016
    Once again I'm a beginner. I have 5 acres of land so all they do is free range. I have been reading benefits of roosters that I like. I need a little more order in my flock someone to take the lead.This is a hobby for me and the kids.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Then I suggest you wait until your pullets mature and get a mature rooster to put with them.

    As far as having to get rid of a pullet, what is the size of your coop? How long do you leave them locked in the coop after they ae awake? How you manage them and your climate have a whole lot to do with how many chickens you can have in a coop. For many people the 4 square foot per chicken “rule” is overkill, they don’t need that much. For some people, they need more. Many of those prebuilt online coops do not hold nearly as man6y chickens as they claim. A bit of information about your set-up could help us make reasonable suggestions about that.

    Right now your flock is a group of immature pullets at various stages of immaturity. As they grow up they will become better organized. One pullet will become the dominant chicken and take on many of the duties of a flock master. She will become the leader.

    You still have time, I do believe you will be better off waiting for them to mature before you introduce a rooster. If you are in the USA, I suggest you find your state thread in the “Where am I? Where are you!” section if this forum and chat with your neighbors. It’s very possible someone will have a rooster available that will suit you. There will be a lot of people with more roosters than they want very soon because so many hatched this spring. Let them know you have kids so they are less likely to offer a human aggressive rooster. When you see how pretty many of these roosters are, whether purebred or mixed breed, you may decide breed isn’t all that important for your goals.
     
  6. kcorus

    kcorus New Egg

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    My quick answer as a "2 years with chickens nubie" would be it's all around no big deal. I have heard around 6 hens to a rooster but not sure how true that is. I have many more than that and he's an awesome dude for the bunch. Mine free range in the back yard too. They head back into the pen at night and he seems to sleep w/ his favorite hen up on top of the nesting boxes. The rooster will absolutely hop on as many hens as you have, seems to me they never get their fill, lol. Nature at its best. You WILL get fertilized eggs and will have chicks when a hen decides to brood unless you collect them daily. As an example, we bought 12 chicks this spring. One of our favorite hens just hatched 12 more. Now we have 30 total in the flock. He's gonna be a busy dude. He will cock a doodle do also, keep that in mind. Sounds to me that your coop is too small for a hatching. Otherwise he will stick w/ them at night like any other chicken. We also have a few breeds, no big deal there. Some people prefer to eat fertilized eggs too. Keep collecting them and no chicks I would say. Our rooster also was raised from pullet age. So I would say go for it. Farms sometimes look for roosters if it doesn't work out.
    Take this with a grain of salt, only my experience so far and I'm also still learning. There are many many knowledgeable people on here and there's much to learn from all of them!
     
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    How old are your kids? If your kids are under the age of 5, and share the yard with the chickens, I would strongly recommend waiting a couple of years to get a rooster. Some roosters can be aggressive, and they tend to attack children first. Personally, I recommend waiting a year with just hens, so you get some chicken experience. Roosters are a crap shoot, some are darlings, some are nightmares and some go from the darling to the nightmare in an instant. Roosters have ruined the whole chicken experience for a lot of kids.

    A rooster will also change the dynamics of the flock with you. A hen only flock is much more approachable, they look to you for food and protection. A flock with a rooster, will look to the rooster, and the rooster will mostly be between you and the flock.

    I too would wait until your hens are older, and I would get a local rooster, whose nice disposition has saved him from the soup pot. Do know, that often time, hens with a rooster will be barebacked due to mating. Some people do not like that appearance.

    I am in the camp of wait to get the rooster for another year. You and your family have years to enjoy this hobby, work into it gradually.

    Mrs. K
     
  8. alan1

    alan1 New Egg

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    Thanks for the info. I was looking to get the rooster as a leader and security. I live in the country where I have 5 acres where they free ranges. We have predators random dogs,fox and hawks. I bought chickens knowing at some point there could be casualties to predators. I was hoping a rooster would lower the chances. As for coop it is 3.6'w x 4'L x 3't. The coop sits in a 12' by 12' fenced in area.
     
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Honestly, a rooster would most likely be just a speed bump if any of those predators came after your flock. He'd slow down the killing by possibly sacrificing himself first, but after he was dead the dog, fox, coyote, raccoon, or whatever else would likely move on to the hens. A good rooster is more of an alarm system, warning the flock of danger - a dominant hen will take on that same role.

    What is your climate in the winter like? In my opinion, if it gets cold where you live, you're going to want a bit more room for your hens to move around in when they don't want to go outside. Imagine yourself, wife and kids all locked in your bathroom for the winter...
     
  10. alan1

    alan1 New Egg

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    I live in MN where winters can be cold.
     

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