Some advice on possibly culling my first cockerel.


Jul 31, 2018
Chapel Hill, NC
Hi all,

Just over five months ago we ordered our first little flock. Although we ordered sexed females, I guess sexing is more of an art than a science. After about three months, it became clear that one of our RIRs, Courtney Love, was in fact a rooster.

Until recently, he lived just fine with our other four - one RIR, two Barred Rocks, and one Welsummer. He showed a bit of nippiness and also became more standoffish with me than the girls, but was otherwise well-behaved. A few weeks ago, he started crowing, and since then I've observed a pretty quick change in his behavior. He does a lot more running and nipping at the hens, sometimes bosses them away from their food, and is increasingly aloof with me and my partner. I haven't seen anything yet like the feather pulling and dragging I've read about here, but my sense is that I won't be surprised if it starts.

I know every rooster is different and that many roosters are far more aggressive than this by his age. I've made a point of grabbing him every few days and cuddling him into submission, especially when he's being a jerk, but I don't know that that really makes much difference. He has not displayed any aggression toward me or my partner, but I don't know yet what he'd do around small children or pets (our chickens free range), and he doesn't even have spurs yet. I'm not ethically against culling, but we didn't intend to raise meat birds our first go-round with raising chickens and I like the idea of having a rooster to protect my flock, though I know the ratio isn't ideal.

I'd just love to hear people's general inclination given their experience, though I know it's ultimately a personal decision. I'd happily rehome him, if I thought somebody in the area was actually looking for a RIR rooster.

And for what it's worth, here's some pics of our first-ever flock. View attachment 1608040 View attachment 1608041 View attachment 1608040 View attachment 1608041 View attachment 1608040 View attachment 1608041 View attachment 1608040 View attachment 1608041 View attachment 1608042 View attachment 1608040 View attachment 1608041 View attachment 1608042


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5 Years
Jun 29, 2016
Northern Wisconsin
Sounds like a normal hormonal teenager to me, he's young and trying to figure out how to keep his ladies in line. As long as he isn't attacking people, let him do his job. A few more hens wouldn't hurt but make sure they are similar in age or older than the ones you already have.

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
western South Dakota
If this is your first time with chickens, I will recommend culling him. I think roosters take some experience. People without experience often don't recognize the signs of aggression, and attacks appear out of nowhere.

I think you might be picking up on those signs and are starting to be uncomfortable with him. Generally a rooster will attack children first, then women, and then adults if they are going to be human aggressive.

If you don't think you can eat him, plant a rose bush on top of him. Or let him go to someone who can eat him.

An all hen flock is a nice flock to start with.

Mrs K


6 Years
May 16, 2015
Texas, USA
I have been in your shoes. I bought 8 tiny pullets, and it was not long before I was really suspicious about Zena. She was one of my favorites, with a precocious personality. I reasoned that it wasn't her/his fault and before long he crowed and for the most part he was good with the hens. Then one day, the babysitter told me he'd attacked her. I thought it was a misunderstanding. Then one day he attacked me, full on spurs drawing blood. I was in yoga pants, and had nothing but a phone with me, and he was relentless. He was gorgeous... and with a satanic bent. The day he had blood running down my legs I was photographing the new chicks. My broody was only allowed 3 eggs-- and damned if she didn't have 3 little roos. By six weeks, they were aggressive. Just like their daddy.

I spoke to a friend who raised (and killed) chickens growing up, and is now a vet. His wife wanted to make bone broth, and the fact that these were fed 100% organic had great appeal for her. He promised the end would be humane and respectful. They came after dark to get them when they would be calm and easy to catch. I cried with guilt. And I was even more guilty that I was relieved. From then on the hens were more relaxed, they approached for treats, and I did not have to carry a stick with me for protection. I know there are some roosters who are no trouble. But if you are seeing trouble, remove him from your flock. It won't get better. I won't ever hatch again, because I'm not cut out for getting rid of roos, or giving them away to folks who may or may not know how to humanely dispatch them before they eat them.


Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
Western Ohio
Good luck. Our first flock started Feb 2018. 17 chicks, 6 breeds of which 2 breeds were straight run. Out of that we got 5 males. Two were maturing at a fast rate and wouldn’t shut up, and were mean to the girls (major jerks, really), so they got the ax. One of the sexed chicks turned out to be male, so got the ax as we weren’t interested in keeping him (although mellow and silent). The other two we kept.

Now, those 2 is dominant, however the other is a slower to mature breed and seems to be coming into a more hormonal stage. The dominant one is still a bit of a jerk to the girls, never tidbits much, has gone after my short tween on multiple occasions, has gone after me in some more mild ways, but is very alert. We are going to try to sell him at a livestock auction soon. Lots of farms around here, so good possibility of sale. The other male we will keep for now. He’s left my tween alone, but has issue with me (I think it’s possibly my boots he may have an issue with). So time will tell.

We purchased 7 sexed chicks in Sept from a large hatchery...whadyaknow...2 males out of 7 sexed chicks (a bit higher than the 10%error rate), so we need to get rid of them, a bit sad bc one is really attractive with feather coloring, body structure, but doesn’t fit our flock goals. I think they will go to the auction as well. They are almost 4 months old and still silent and not aggressive, so that’s a plus for the flock so far.


Jul 31, 2018
Chapel Hill, NC
Hi all, I wanted to follow up on this thread in case it helps anybody in the future with the same decision.

At this point, Courtney Love is alive and thriving. I can't say for sure that things won't change (he is now going on 7 months and I've been suspiciously watching his spurs come in). However, not long after I originally posted, a few things happened. Firstly, the rooster started mating the hens and I think at that point the aggression decreased. I wonder how much of the dragging/nipping was related to him getting ready to mate. Secondly, the hens (3 out of 4, anyway) are now laying. I don't know what these have to do with each other, but the aggression tapered off pretty quickly.

My experience is limited, but I would say this appears to be a gentle, even submissive rooster now. We recently got a small puppy and the flock loves to come over and investigate when we're out going potty. The dog will from time to time make a run at a hen while he's on leash, and the rooster has never had a go at him. In fact, I was almost disappointed. I figured one good talking to from the rooster would teach the dog that the chickens are off limits, but Courtney Love just turns and runs like the hens!

I also really enjoy watching him forage for the ladies. He still bosses them away from the feed sometimes, but it's always great to see him uncover some grubs in the woods and call the girls over to eat.

Finally, I've observed that he's most aggressive when first let out of the coop in the morning. I just give him plenty of space. I know things can change so I'll update if something new developes.

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