Should we get a Roo to start or not?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by afj6710, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. afj6710

    afj6710 Chirping

    Jan 2, 2011
    We are looking to get about 6 or 7 laying hens for eggs. At some point (in the near future) we will probably breed some to . . . ummm, harvest. [​IMG]

    I'm wondering if we need a Roo or not. I like the idea of one to help protect the girls from predators and my inlaws dogs. But, I also have small children and am afraid of the Roo attacking them if the little ones are helping me with the chickens.

    I'm also a bit confused about the issue of "broodiness". If I get a Roo, does that mean that all my eggs will be fertilized. If I have a "broody" hen, what does that mean as far as us trying to get eggs?

  2. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

    Aug 3, 2009
    You don't HAVE to have a rooster, but I think they are a great addition to any flock. A rooster will be a great alarm system for your girls, but against a dog-he'll lose every time(hawks, too).
    You do have kids to consider. Many times, roosters are peace loving and never try to flog/spur you. On the flipside, they could really hurt a little one if they got in their face. Getting flogged is painful-even in the backs of the legs.
    If you have a rooster, your eggs will be fertile as long as he is breeding your girls.
    A broody hen means a hen that has an overwhelming urge to sit on a nest of eggs and hatch them out. It's really an amazing process to see. She won't appreciate you taking the eggs while she is sitting on them. [​IMG]
  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    If you get a Roo, then yes, the eggs will most likely be fertilized, though it will depend on how many hens you have. The recommendation is usually a ratio of about 1:10. If you have more than 10 hens, some of the eggs may not be fertile as he wouldn't be able to service that many girls. Also, sometimes a rooster will have a favorite hen and she will get more of his attention than the others. If you have a broody hen, and the eggs are fertile, she will be able to hatch out chicks for you. When she starts to feel the urge she will gather a clutch of eggs and then stop laying so she can sit. The eggs she gathers may be her own or belong to the other hens - she won't care. Some breeds are more prone to broodiness though, so the likelihood of having a broody hen will differ depending on the breeds you intend to have.
  4. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    If you have small children I would recommend not having a rooster. Roos are nothing but trouble around young kids. I had hens for years and bought new hatchlings each spring to add to the flock. I had a roo show up in my last batch of sexed pullets and it has completely changed the flock dynamic. My daughter used to be able to play with the chickens, but getting a roo has changed that. She has to stay right away from the birds or he gets all uppity. He even attacked her one day, although he came out on the losing side of that argument. Having a roo has made having chickens a lot less fun for my daughter and her friends.

    Having a broody will mean that you have a bird that will sit on a clutch of eggs until they hatch. Most of your eggs will be fertile if you have a roo, but they still need to be incubated for 21 days to hatch. You can either get an incubator or get a broody to do it.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
  5. 8WarEagleChicks

    8WarEagleChicks In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2010
    I agree with the above...No roosters with small children.

    I have 6 kids and currently we have 3 Easter Egger roos. The dominant rooster and another chased my six year old boy across the back yard twice last week as he went to gather eggs.

    We incubated them and have held them and raised them from day one. They had shown protective behavior (which is what you want a roo for) and I hoped that with enough handling we could keep one...but after that incident I can never trust them again.

    They are in solitary confinement now as we find them new homes.

    It is just the way God made order to succeed they have to be the top rooster.

    I really thought maybe we could keep one but OVERNIGHT that idea is gone. I will NOT tolerate them hurting my kids. I want this to be fun for the kids.

    If one of our hens goes broody (I do hope they will!) [​IMG] I will find some fertile eggs on craigslist or somewhere local.
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Good advice from 8wareaglechicks![​IMG], and enjoy your chickens.
  7. Kaceyx73

    Kaceyx73 Chirping

    Dec 14, 2010
    I am going to take a slightly different approach from most of your responses, though I am in agreement for the most part. What I say is from my personal experiences as a new chicken owner, but also as a man that spent quite a bit of time understanding the dominance issue in various animals, from chickens to dogs, and even humans.

    As I say this, please understand your kids come first... always. An aside to this is teaching the ways not only of the world of humans, but also of nature.

    There are 2 main outcomes of puberty in males of various mammals: Dominance and Narcissism. In a well managed social group with males of differing ages, the older and more experienced males will exhibit dominance over the younger males. Most mammals respond to this very well, and in a healthy manner. Think of a strong father or grandfather. He doesn't run around yelling and screaming at the young, unless of course its playtime. Most reprimands revolve around a stern warning against certain behaviors, and the occasional and judicial use of very deliberate corporal punishment. This will usually only come when a serious violation has occurred, or when warnings go unheeded. Otherwise, the dominant male becomes a very nurturing and supportive teacher, and playtime rings of childhood exuberance.

    If a male child reaches puberty without a dominant male figure, that time of learning oneself and how to survive in the world becomes warped. The various hormones coursing through their veins signal 2 main expressions... sex and self. With a dominate male around, that sense of self is tempered and kept in check. In time the young male learns it isn't all about him and his own urges, but the absence of male leadership allows that sense of self to stay sharp and focused. It all about him, and nothing else matters.

    This applies to humans as well as chickens.

    It is my personal belief that for a new flock owner wanting day old chicks, the best route is to get the rooster first. Be very judicious and wary. Try to observe the prospective rooster at length and pay attention to how he behaves his current flock. He's not just a protector or an alarm bell, he is the flock manager. He will settle disputes amongst the hens, and should your order include an "oops" rooster he will keep him inline and set what tasks he has. He will seem slightly aggressive towards any potential threat, so part of your job his taking care of parenting and teaching him as well as your own kids. If possible, keep them in a penned area early on with a lock. Make sure children don't have access unless supervised, and even then make sure to introduce them gradually. Roosters will play, and chase each other around the pen. Be cautious of when they are playing and when they are not.

    If you intend to free range, let them out of the pen a little each evening. Stay back and watch them. Let them, especially the rooster, get acquainted with their surroundings before trying to figure out whether that screaming kid on a bike is a threat or not. Most small animals don't like kids until they get to know them. Use any time with your kids to instill that idea that even the family pet doesn't always tolerate their antics. Ever seen a kid walk down the street running a stick across the fence containing a very large dog? Kids will get into trouble, but its how they learn. They have to realize, as early as they can, there are consequences to actions. Annoying a rooster may likely result in flogging, like that dog getting out of the fence might bite, or worse.

    Actually, a neighbor has a wolf/ husky mix that had to deal with kids running sticks up and down his fence. One day he got out. When the kids got off the school bus, he was waiting in the middle of the street. No attacking or chasing, just a firm growl is all that did, and prevented them from walking by. They ran to a friends house. He went to his fence and waited to be let in. That's dominance. Thank God.

    All in all, I think having roosters is worth it. Get a good adult rooster, and let him raise the chicks. His wages will be all that tail he gets someday.

    If you think roosters aren't really needed, then ask around and see how many flocks have hens that crow and act like roosters. Thats a void that nature fills. If you hear someone say that an overly aggressive rooster has bad genetics, then ask them how they would feel if the government decided to take their kids and euthanize them for bad behavior... they just had bad genetics.

    Good luck on your search, hope you find yourself with a good flock!!!

  8. clairabean

    clairabean Songster

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    I say get a roo. We have a huge buffy and he is great. We free range and my kids are all over the yard with the chickens. The roo has chased off our small dog, but my kids know not to get too close to old Gingy the roo anyways. And Gingy has never come close to my kids.

    So, just keep in mind that the child's face is about level to a roo's beek. Teach your kids to be respectful of the roo.

    Besides if the roo doesn't work out, they are sure tastey.[​IMG]
  9. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    I say it depends on the roo you get. I had two that went after my daughter. I grabbed the roo, had her sit on him and yell at him, he still continued to go after her, even through the wire pen. My third roo keeps his distance from us and is nice. I wouldn't have a mean roo around kids at all. Not worth taking the chance that your kid could lose an eye. Plus, your child will end of being afraid of the chickens. It's such a fun experience for the entire family. It would be a shame to have to exclude your children from it.
  10. abhaya

    abhaya Songster

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    Ypu do not need a rooster to have eggs. If you want to hatch chicks then yes you need a roo to fertilize eggs for you. Depending on the breed of chicken you have the hens will go broody some breeds more then others. When a hen is broody she is trying to hatch eggs the chickens around her will continue to lay. you can break the broody hen or you can allow her to hatch eggs the choice is your. If you want chiclens to harvest a good duel purpose bird that tends to dgo broody might be a good option for you.

    As far as kids and roos welllllll a alot depends on your roo. I have a roo who is an absolute gentleman he never tries to be dominant around me. I would watch a roo very carefully around kids if they are gonna go into the pen with the roo I would be with them for sure at least untill you know your roo very well. I would also make sure the kids have something to defend themselves with just in case.

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