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Should I keep the rooster or just have hens??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Winter, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. Winter

    Winter Out Of The Brooder

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    I purchased 10 chicks this spring with the intention of having a nice flock of 5-7 hens.I planned on culling any that turned out to be roosters. I lost one at a few months old due to sour crop and now have 9 lovely birds, only one is a rooster! I feel lucky I got so many hens but now have a dilema. My coop is not huge and I don't think my hens will be able to free range due to the nieghbours dogs. I think 9 birds of any sex might be slightly too many, although they seem fine so far.

    When I had my last batch of chickens I didn't have a rooster so I've never dealt with one before. I never even considered keeping a rooster, but I actually really like my guy and am now having second thoughts about culling him. I like hearing him crow on the farm and he is the smartest of the bunch, going in and out of the flap door while the hens are too squeamish of the flaps touching them.

    My questions are, will be become more aggressive? Right now he is not aggresive with me or the hens. He is about 4 months old.
    Will the hens lay less with a rooster around? Will he start bothering the hens once they start laying? Will they be more likely to go broody with him? I would love to hatch some babies, but realistically I just don't have room. My intention having chickens was always just for eggs, not to raise them or expand at all.

    I would appreciate any advice on whether I should keep him or eat/rehome.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Spitzboyz

    Spitzboyz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I have 4 roosters in a flock of 15 and have no problems at all. Mine free range and are only cooped up when it is necessary but even then they still seem to get along. My current flock is only 8 months old, before 2 weeks ago I had over 14 roosters! In my past flocks I've kept as many as 10 roosters in a flock of 50 and they even did fine with an occasional mock fight. The only complaint was the noise! If your okay with the noise and if depending on the breed, I say you should be fine with the number you have as long as they have the minimum 10 sq. ft. per bird. You actually have a good scenario being that you have a small flock and only one Roo. I think you'll find that he'll do his job; protection, direction and fertilization (isn't this why most of us keep them around?) for your girls. If he's well mannered and doesn't go aggressive (you should at least know this by know, most show aggression once they reach maturity past 4 months.) then you should keep him IMHO. If you do not like fertilized eggs (makes no difference really, it's preference), don't like the noise, or have no need for him then you may consider not keeping him. I like roosters whether I need them or not. They make great lawn ornaments and I feel my girls would be lost without his direction and "manly" protection. Their have many times my flock has been saved from predators from my guys!

    Honestly, it really comes down to how YOU feel about him, your girls and what YOUR flock needs. Other people will give you 50/50 opinions on Roo's but it really comes down to your own flock dynamic. Good luck!

    Aggression will be apparent in your flock definitely after 6 months of age. This is when you'll know whether he's a keeper or not. It really does depend on the flock dynamic and the individual. You can not group all roosters as non or aggressive. It's all about the individual bird! I've had several roosters of the same breed and have had completely different temperaments even in the same hatch!
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    No one can answer that. Only time will tell. It depends on the breed, genetics and environmental/socializing factors.
    I'm careful to move slowly around the flock. That doesn't paint me as a predator. And I bring treats. Also don't handle the hens unless absolutely necessary. It's best to do so at night.
    There's research that shows that pullets reach sexual maturity sooner when a rooster is present. They don't even need to be in the same pen, just within sight. I know people that put rooster statues in their yard.
    No, he won't bother them when they start to lay. He'll start breeding them much earlier.
    I don't think a rooster present has much to do with tendency to become a setter. I've had flocks with and without roosters, as well as no roosters on the property and I didn't notice any correlation. Hens will set even if their eggs aren't fertile. In fact, they'll sit even with no eggs.
    You're talking about chicken math [​IMG]

    Other things to consider are, a rooster is primarily the source of fertile eggs AND the protector of the flock. They also find food for the hens and stand guard while the hens get their fill. They tend to keep the peace in the flock too.
    I breed chickens but, IMO, the best reason to have a rooster is the protection factor. They can't do much in the dark but I've often had them protect the flock from a hawk. And even with dogs and foxes, they give themselves up to save their hens.
    That's the evolutionary bonus. They will basically commit suicide but the hens will be fertile for weeks so the flock can raise more roosters to perpetuate the species.
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    X3 Unless you want to hatch eggs you don't really need a rooster... especially if you are tight on space, if you don't have room in the coop, he is the first bird I would cull. One other thing, if you have young children around (under 5) most people do recommend against roos since they can be dangerous to small children especially.
    A roo should not make any difference on whether or not the girls go broody.
    If he is four months, he will start trying to mate with them at any time if he isn't already, the girls will usually be ready a few weeks before they start laying (when they start squatting for you) but a lot of young roos will start trying to mate with them before the girls are ready... some roosters are just much better with the girls than others ...the roo should not make any difference in the egg laying #, unless he is harassing the girls so bad it stresses them out chasing them around etc and interferes with their eating etc. and lowers egg production because of that, really bad roos will even injure the girls. Young roos often tend to be idiots, they do usually get better with the girls as they get older.
    No way to really know if an individual roo will be human aggressive, if they will be bad, they do tend to get aggressive after they hit puberty in the following months...but some will be good for quite awhile until one day something sets them off.
    If he is a good roo, I like them myself, they are usually extremely pretty and it is fun to watch the different flock dynamics with a roo... they really aren't much predator protection against bigger animals (their job kinda is to get volunteer to get killed first protecting the hens so you or the dog etc can get out there and take care of the problem), but they are a good early warning system, and depending on the breed some are of good use against hawks.
     
  5. Winter

    Winter Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the replies so far.
    It seems that the main reason most people are stating to keep the rooster is flock protection. Since my hens will never be free ranging and have a completely predator proof coop, that is not relevant in my case.
    I do like his personality and how he looks but the only reason I want to keep him is sentimentality. Maybe I will try to give him away rather than culling him...but I iwll miss the crowing if I do.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    If you have to get up early, like at dawn, waking to a rooster IMO is much nicer than to an alarm clock.

    I can't hear my roosters in my house so I put a baby monitor out there so I can hear what's going on.
     
  7. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a rooster we didn't really want either... but we also like him and he can stay as long as he's not a jerk. [​IMG]

    If he becomes a jerk, he'll end up in a pot.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  8. Winter

    Winter Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, my friend has convinced me that she will process the rooster and we can have a party at her house to eat him. I feel surprisingly sad about it since I like him so much, but the reality is that come winter my coop will just be way too crowded with 9 birds and I don't really want to cull a hen that will be laying eggs. He is just so cool though.

    Will one of the hens assume the roll of alpha once he is gone?

    Thanks for the insight.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    You may need to consider enlarging the space or cutting back your numbers. I don't know how big your poultry quarters are but crowded conditions in winter is a progenitor of disease.
     

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