Start out with rooster or not?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Dec 31, 2011
Southcentral Oklahoma
Good morning all,

I'm a newbie from OK, no chickens yet, hoping to add some this spring or summer. My plan at this point is to buy baby chicks either in person locally, or order from a hatchery. (I'll have a zillion questions about that process later, I'm sure.) My question today is: should I plan on getting a rooster from the get-go, or can I just start with some girls, and add a roo later once I want to have fertilized eggs? Mostly I'm wondering what most of y'all do. I will start out small, probably with 8-10 chicks, maybe even a few less. My first goal is to get to a point where we're getting 6 eggs a day, at least.

I'm planning to order Black Australorp chicks from McMurray's. Unless I change my mind between now and then. It will be a few months before I can order some, I want warmer weather and need to rehabilitate a very old chicken coop.

Any suggestions, comments, advice, welcomed! Thanks!


10 Years
Feb 12, 2009
Pike Co., GA & Palm Beach Co., FL
The simplest way is to order one when you order your pullets. If, by some quirk, you end up getting one later, make sure you get a mature cock as he will be good to your pullets and there will be no trouble. An immature cockeral will be resented by the girls and he will be picked on until he matures. Good luck on your new adventure and welcome to BYC........Pop


8 Years
As above. When he grows up with them your flock dynamics will be much different than if you get him later. Don't get me wrong, it is completely ok to do it later; just easier to do it now. Sounds like 8-10 hens and a rooster should suit you well. That puts you on the edge of what a good rooster will cover as far as # of hens, but it sounds like a good plan to start with. I think you made a good choice with Australorps. A bit plain looking but lay very nicely. Aus's, Dels, & Plymouth Rocks are usually what I recommend to new folks that want a nice heritage breed that lays brown eggs well. I'm partial to dels of course since I breed them, LOL


9 Years
Nov 7, 2010
Kootenays of BC!
You can do either, as both have pros and cons.

If you get one with your chicks, they will grow up together. They will bond, as you will too. A con is that if he turns out to be mean, you will have to deal with this, which may or may not be emotional. Then you will need to find a new roo anyways.

If you wait until the hens are older, you can look around to see what type and which specific roo you would like in yoru flock. Many, many people try to rehome roos due to the sheer amount they have. You can usually get a great roo this way, as their personality is more obvious when they are older. But you will have to integrate.

Either way you take a gamble with a roo. We love ours and we will never do without one. We managed to luck out with 11 roos out of 13 chicks and have to deal with them all..... they were all either aggressive or not breeding quality. Months later we were given a great BO roo from a friend who was downsizing.


8 Years
Aug 8, 2011
Shediac Cape NB, Canada
My Coop
My Coop
I started out with 3 girls + 1 roo (which I lost somewhere down the line) and ended up getting two more roos and 13 more girls.

Flock dynamics are fine. Everyone gets along wonderfully, except for a few bossy hens. My roos never caused any issues for me. If I were you, I would wait to get a roo, because I would not want a hatchery rooster. Especially if you want to breed down the line. Better to get a beautiful quality roo from a breeder.

Midwest Lizabeth

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jul 27, 2011
I'd ordered the females. If you go with MM, they almost always give you a free chick, and that chick is going to be a rooster. Most hatcheries will try to sort the girls from the boys, and there are almost always some errors (meaning that you'll most likely get a roo, event if you don't specifically order one).


9 Years
Sep 27, 2010
I chose all girls, drove 5 hours to a feed store that was reputable...100% accurate. Then 2 days later went to a local "hatchery" (I use the term loosely) and acquired 3 roos, EE mixes...I re-homed one when I saw he was being mistreated. I now have 2 roos and 14 girls. All raised together...I don't really care if the eggs are fertilized, although this summer I hope to get one hen go broody to see what the roos will throw...I love them...they do a GREAT job with the girls. Not one can wander off without a boy beside her to protect her...wouldn't give them up for anything.

I live in the country where I can have 1000 if I that is not the issue.

I personally, would get a roo from the start...I have 5 Australorp roos in 2009, and now have 2 hens. Great birds...I am glad though now I have a mixed flock, they are gorgeous and all different.So consider that before you decide on just one breed.

my 2 roos:




( my hens this year) GORGEOUS birds....


(one of my roos from 2009)

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