Should I replace my rooster with another?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by buckabucka, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. buckabucka

    buckabucka Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have an EE rooster that is just over a year old. We've established a mutual respect, and he has never been aggressive towards me (I also bring the food). The rooster often aggressive towards my husband. His "attacks" are not serious, by which I mean the rooster just chest-bumps his leg a few times. My husband does not feel at all threatened, and basically ignores him. I think the reason DH is attacked, is that he is often there to catch a hen that got outside the fence, or something like that, and the rooster comes to the protection of his hens.

    Right now, I have 7 roosters that are 8 weeks old (in a separate pen with hens of the same age), so I have an opportunity to replace the EE rooster. The young roosters are all olive-egger mixes.

    Reasons for wanting to get rid of the EE rooster: 1. I worry that the mild aggression he is showing will escalate. 2. The rooster does not appear to be very fertile (2 of 30 eggs developed).

    Reasons for keeping the EE rooster: 1. He is generally speaking, fairly gentle (assuming he doesn't change). 2. He is very pretty and we like him, the hens are used to him, etc. 3. I am worried that the young roosters will turn out to be more aggressive, - either with us or the hens. How old does a young rooster need to be before you can really judge his character? None of my birds are handled a lot.

    What would you do? I have until fall to decide, and then all excess roosters head to freezer camp. Is the mild aggression towards my DH a sign of worse things to come, or normal rooster behavior?
    I appreciate any rooster insight! Thanks.
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I am hoping [​IMG] that if your rooster is about a year old, you have gotten over the worst. That the mean ones turn mean before that age. Cause I have one that is a year old next week, and so far we have been doing great together!

    However, I think that by the time your young ones are ready to be butchered, you should know for sure, if the old one is going to be a nice one. The thing is that the young ones are such rough maters, that you hens wind up looking a bit bare backed. But I am not sure what you are suppose to do until the rooster is 2 years old and has nice technique. So I am really hoping that I am past the worst of it.

    MrsK
     
  3. buckabucka

    buckabucka Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I am hoping that over time, it will become obvious whether or not the new roosters are well-mannered, and if our older rooster becomes more aggressive. The easiest choice is just to stick with the rooster we have, but his recent "attacks" on DH make me nervous. Perhaps if he starts delivering the food, the rooster will learn to get along with him!

    Good luck with yours!

    (Mrs. K here, too [​IMG] )
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Us MrsK's are special people [​IMG]
     
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    The human aggressiveness may escalate. Keep an eye on that. The biggest drawback in keeping him is the low fertility. If you have enough hens, you might consider keeping the most mellow of the young roosters in addition to your present flock leader.
     
  6. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    You don't say how many hens he has, but that is an awful fertility rate. I'd be watching the young ones and see if one is nice enough to give a chance for Flock Master.
     
  7. NanaLantana

    NanaLantana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They say EE roosters take longer to mature - watch out for him, evaluate his behavior. It may be good to keep the young ones until they begin to crow - because possibly a 'lower' rooster on the pecking order may be a better yard rooster than an alpha one in regards to having respect for humans. So if it were me, I'd watch my little ones, see who is in charge, and eliminate him and the adult roo - then choose a lower juvenile that I like. Still, there's no guarantee that the one you choose will be the personality that you want - - - but you might get fortunate!
     
  8. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    It seems to me that your rooster is appropriately aggressive. That is, he is aggressive when he perceives a threat to his hens. This is sort of OK. Your husband should haze the rooster to establish his own position over the rooster. (See my Handling Rooster Aggression Page in my sig below).

    Following the rooster for a few minutes at a speed walk pace really improves the situation. Once you have established dominance this way, it only takes a couple steps toward the rooster to reinforce the lesson.

    My rooster comes to investigate, ready to fight, when he hears a hen squawk. Once he sees that I am handling the hen, he backs down and just watches.

    If you are looking for fertile eggs, then you should seriously investigate the fertility problem. I found that my rooster was much more effective in the spring and that diet made a huge difference.
     
  9. buckabucka

    buckabucka Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, thanks for all the responses and information!

    If we decide to keep him, we may have to work on "hazing" him if his aggression escalates. As far as fertility goes, he does have 16 hens, and I realize that 10 (or less) would be more suitable for hatching. However, I intentionally watched who he was mating with and specifically chose their eggs for hatching, and still only 2 of 30 developed. I tried 2 separate spring hatches, - one in April, one in May, and I do mix flock raiser in with the layer feed to provide more protein. The hatching eggs that I purchased had 10 of 13 hatch, and those shipped 3000 miles!

    I don't believe I could keep this EE rooster in addition to one of the young ones (unless I kept them separated), but possibly I could keep 2 of the young ones since they are litter-mates? There will be 21 grown hens by late fall. I have two young roosters I am fond of:
    This one is mellow so far, and I like the copper highlights and feathered legs:
    [​IMG]

    The second one was raised by a broody and we are fond of him. It was her only chick, and she had to raise it in isolation because it was attacked and injured at just a week old by our leghorn. When the broody was done with motherhood, we put this chick in with the others his age (brooder raised), and for quite some time he was petrified. Very slowly, he is adjusting, but he is the lowest in pecking order of the 7 young roosters. He is definitely smarter about any unusual food scraps we put in there, since mama hen taught him well. We desperately wanted him to be a girl:
    [​IMG]

    The less-than-ideal-fertility EE that we have now is beautiful:
    [​IMG]

    It is a tough decision for me!
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I am wondering if he is just not old enough? He is beautiful, I think.

    And don't wait to haze him in response to him becoming more aggressive, chase him a bit now, making him back down and move away, will be much more effective. No dominant rooster waits for the attack, they take it to them. I often make mine back up in the gate, and he is pretty darn good..... so far! MrsK
     

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