Should I keep a rooster from my straight run chicks?


11 Years
Mar 18, 2008
Jefferson City, MO
I had hens years ago and loved them. Am ready to keep chickens again and just got 13 SR Dominiques and, a Buff Orphington pullet and two SR Rhode Islands. Although my plan was to get pullets only, by chance I ended up w/SR chicks b/c I bought from a 4-Her. My original plan was to get a couple new pullet chicks every year. So now I'm debating, should I keep a rooster or two or give them all away? (I don't have a problem with eating them generally, I just don't want to have to eat guys I've raised myself and I don't want to go through cleaning and plucking them!) Now that we have them, my husband thinks he'd like having a rooster here crowing and of course I'm thinking it might be neat to let a hen raise some chicks next spring... Chickens are really a slippery slope!

The only roosters I've ever been around were aggressive. I like my hens to be healthy and happy, and I have small children. So my question is, are there "nice" roosters? I can tolerate bossy and in charge, just not attacking and making all the hens (and me!) cower. If such lower key, "nice" roosters exist, how old do they need to be to determine what their personalty is like?

Thanks in advance for any and all opinions and information you can offer.

Aimless Farmer

12 Years
Jul 25, 2007
N. Central MA
I got my Roo from a neighbor last October. They were rehoming him because he was intimidating their two young sons, ages 6 and 10. He was lovely with everyone else, his girls and the human adults, but apparently saw the smaller beings as something completely different, and didn't like them near his girls. He never actually attacked them, but he regularly gave them "the evil eye". This is the family that raised him from a chick, and he was handled by everyone regularly. He continues to be the perfect protector of his girls since his arrival here, and he is the easiest of my flock to pick up and handle. My own girls, who I raised and handled from day 2, want no part of handling since they've had their outdoor freedom. Elvis gets a daily cuddle from me every morning. We have our mother/son talks while the girls make their way out of the coop (He tends to be quite "randy" in the a.m., and the girls just want breakfast!)

The same week we got Elvis, my other neighbors were rehoming their rooster, Bob. They, too, had raised him from day 2, handled him daily, and he was an absolute terror! He attacked everyone and everything that came on the property, including the wife (she never went outside unarmed with a broom), any and ALL humans, dogs, cats...anything! And he was FAST and STEALTHY! His favorite girls were easy to spot, as they had no feathers on their backs! He harrassed then relentlessly.

From what I've read around, on the whole Nature vs Nurture argument, of how to get a "Nice" roo, it seems to me it's more nature, and it's a roll of the dice. I'm so glad we have Elvis to protect the girls, and I can get my chicken snuggles without having to "harrass" my girls. It's so interesting to watch them together, and he has a lovely voice.

I would be telling a very different story had I ended up with Bob, however.

I hope this helps you make your decision.

(I will add that I have no small children. )
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11 Years
12 Years
Jan 25, 2008
If you would like a rooster or two, what I would do is raise them up. Wait until you can start telling them apart. The moment you start to see aggression towards you(especially) or over aggression with the other birds, mark that individual for cull. And keep doing this until your down to one or two.

Using this method of selection, you are either going to end up with one or two of the most docile in the group, or your going to end up with all nice roosters.. LOL.. If you end up with all the roosters being nice, then you will have a problem.. deciding which to get rid of..LOL



11 Years
Mar 21, 2008
Saint Johns, AZ
My boys are very well behaved. I have two Araucanas and a White Silkie Male. The Araucana's love to be held and pet, especially during feeding time. Francois the Silkie doesn't care one way or the other, but I have never been attacked by them.

Maybe I am blessed, but as long as they are not showing bad aggression to the other's, he should be fine.
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12 Years
Dec 15, 2007
When I bought a group of straight-run chicks I kept one roo and butchered the other roos so that my hens would be happy. Although roos are generally aggressive, some are also quite peaceful and friendly. I have a New Hampshire cockerel who just turn 5 months old and is starting to mature - I'm expecting him to attack me anytime now, but somehow he isn't.........I'm very happy that he isn't very aggressive at least for now, but he is also skittish and doesn't like to be held very much. Chickens sure have big personalities!


Canning Squirrel
11 Years
Mar 6, 2008
Floresville, Texas
While I wasn't in the market for any roos at all, I ended up with 2 from my sexed pullets. One (the EE) was MEAN to the chickens (and even attacked a cat or two) but never humans. We re-homed him. My other (a Golden Campine) is a sweetheart. Thought about getting rid of him but now I can't imagine not haveing his adorable crowing, his goofy personality, or that chance to hatch my own eggs if I ever decide to. If the only reason for getting rid of them is a fear of roosters, I would just watch. You should be able to tell the agressive ones early, and if things change later, you could get rid of them then.


Free Ranging
14 Years
Feb 14, 2008
This world is not my home.
I have been given a RIR rooster, don't know his age but he is a good flock master, although a sluggish breeder. I am going to get a larger rooster of a different breed but I can't see killing Sue (yes, the boys named him Sue!). He is too tough to eat and too good a chicken to just kill, so, against my policy to not feed anything that isn't actually doing a job around here, I think I may keep him for his loyal and true instincts of guarding his flock. But, I don't want chicks from him once I get a heavier breed rooster....was wondering if anyone here has caponized an older rooster and if they did well afterward? Will it change his personality of protecting the girls? Anyone have experience with this sort of thing?

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