Start off with a roo?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by donsgirl67, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. donsgirl67

    donsgirl67 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm getting my chickens in the Spring. I want dual purpose birds. I'm thinking I will probably start with Welsummers and Barred Rock pullets. I do want to do chicks eventually so should I go ahead and get a cockerel to start? And if I do, should the roo be a Welsummer or Barred Rock or does it matter? Sorry, total beginner here.
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome!!! If you are new to chickens I'd recommend getting a few birds of different breeds, to get a feeling for what appeals to you, and does well in your environment. The same breed of chicken from different sources may be totally different in many ways. roosters vary in temperment, depending on breed, strain, and individual personality. It takes time to sort out things, so try some birds and enjoy the journey. mary
     
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  3. donsgirl67

    donsgirl67 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! That's what I wanted to do but I was afraid id have several different ones and didn't know if that's what I was supposed to do if I want chicks. I'm very excited. I've wanted them for a long time.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'd say wait. Roosters add a different dimension to chicken keeping and I personally feel folks should spend a year or so with their hens to be sure chickens are for them, and just to see if they really want a rooster. One thing to keep in mind.....chicks are cute and great to hatch out, but half of them will be roosters and you'll need to have a plan in place for those guys.
     
  5. donsgirl67

    donsgirl67 Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok. Thanks. If I wait and decide later that it is truly what I want, will it be hard to integrate the new rooster to established hens?
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    I was really lucky in that I wanted a small flock of layers this fall to start out and maybe a rooster eventually.
    Found someone who had too many chickens and one too many roosters.
    Got 5 layers, 4 pullets and a very nice rooster.
    She told me he was not aggressive at all, I didn't quite believe until I went to see them and she picked him right up.
    Look around, you might get lucky too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Don’t worry about being a beginner. Everybody on this forum was a beginner at some time. And never hesitate to ask a question.

    A rooster does not care about color, pattern, breed, anything. He will mate with any hen. The only reason to have a rooster and hen the same breed is just because you want to for your own reasons. Many of us have roosters and hens of different breeds. You can pretty well predict what the first generation cross of purebred chickens will produce in color and pattern for the chicks, but after that, you can get a rainbow of color and patterns. To me that’s part of the fun of hatching chicks. Once you start crossing crosses you never know what you are going to get.

    How hard is it to integrate a rooster to a flock with grown hens? It depends on the age of the rooster. If you start out with a baby chick, it’s no different than a pullet for the first few months. But when he starts hitting puberty, the older hens will often pick on him. Consider it that they are schooling him in how he should treat a lady, but realize they believe in corporal punishment. It’s the same if you get an immature cockerel. Eventually he will mature enough to assume the duties of a mature dominant flock rooster but it can be kind of messy while he matures. The more room you have the smoother this usually goes.

    If you bring a mature rooster into a flock of mature hens, the rooster will immediately mate with a few hens to establish his dominance and just take over. The mating ritual is not just about sex, it’s also about dominance. The rooster may need to force a hen or two to submit to establish that dominance, but this is usually the easiest type of rooster-to-hens integration.

    If you get the rooster and hens as chicks and raise them together, when they hit puberty things normally get pretty exciting. The cockerel will probably mature faster than the pullets and want to mate, both for sex and to establish dominance. The immature pullets normally don’t know what is going on and don’t play their part. You get a lot of the cockerel chasing and forcing unwilling pullets. That upsets a lot of people the first time they see it, but as long as they have sufficient room, things normally work out without anyone getting hurt. When? Maybe within a month, maybe it will take several months.

    People successfully use all three methods. Some are more exciting than others, but they all work. They all go better if there is extra room for chasing and running away. If you are going to hatch chicks later, you’ll need extra room anyway, either for a broody to raise them or to integrate them if you raise them yourself. There is a chance if you order sexed pullets as baby chicks you’ll wind up with a male anyway. They only guarantee a 90% success rate on the sexing.

    Good luck with it and welcome to the adventure. I’m glad you are planning ahead.
     
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  8. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    You are bound to end up with a surprise rooster anyway, so just order pullets if you are going with a hatchery.

    You can't go wrong with Barred Plymouth Rocks in my opinion. My absolute favourite. They are everything I want in a chicken.
    Friendly, intelligent, great layers, good size for meat, beautiful and they are easy to sell.

    Welsummers: I have no experience, but I do want them for the speckled eggs they are known for.

    If you can, try to stay away from a hatchery and go with a breeder though. The quality difference is astounding.


    [​IMG]
    Young heritage pullet - among type difference (which is alone way better) the barring is neat and clean.

    [​IMG]
    Hatchery hen - Notice how messy the barring is. Her tail is pinched, but she is a fantastic layer. Many hatcheries have leghorn in their Plymouth Rock blood.

    [​IMG]
    Heritage Rooster (young, not quite filled in yet)

    [​IMG]
    Hatchery rooster - squirrel tail, comb detached at base.. barring is messy. He sure was a nice rooster though, and my very first large fowl rooster.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
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  9. donsgirl67

    donsgirl67 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for all the information! It certainly answeed a lot of my questions. I am glad I have this time to learn everything I can before I bring them home. I hope it makes for a little easier transition for all. :)
     

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