taming of the rooster

kscottjoyce

Chirping
8 Years
Feb 22, 2011
212
0
99
Townsend
Okay I know a rooster is just doing what feels natural when having sex. I also know that breeding of animals to have certain traits has been going on since, well a very long time. I am wondering why roosters have not been bred to not tear feathers, harm hens, and just be a little bit more gentle in general. Why can't roosters be bred to not rip apart a hens back during sex?
 

kscottjoyce

Chirping
8 Years
Feb 22, 2011
212
0
99
Townsend
Also, why is it not natural to have more hens hatch than roosters if only one rooster is capable of fertilizing eggs of many hens?
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,404
17,845
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
A couple things can be considered. Wild / feral chickens do not exhibit problem. It may be in part because they do not mate as often as confined / domesticated birds.

The increased frequency of mating may be do confinement as males and females kept so close together. Even in a free-range setting increased mating may occur because of way social groups are setup. Males are more inclined to copulate if other rooster around for purpose of sperm competition. Male with most sperm in females reproductive tract usually fertilizes the most eggs. In nature dominant male can simply beat out rivals by denying them a chance to mate with hen. Another reason could be an artifact of the hatchery system where the most virile males sire the most offspring. In nature, roosters that invest so much in mating may be challenged in surviving or producing offspring with attributes good for surviving in a natural environement.

Another factor with some breeds is the size of the male. Bigger roosters are going to be harder on the hens feathers. Once feathers worn off hens back the hens delicate skin easily damaged by claws on roosters walking toes. I do not think spurs normally a cause of observed damaged.


Effective sex ratio is function of the simple sex-determination system which is like with humans although with females in terms of birds being the heterozygous sex. It would not pay for a rooster or hen to produce only female offspring if it precludes opportunity of producing male offspring that have potential of producing many more offspring than a female if the male is lucky enough to command a harem.
 

Hopeful Peacock

In the Brooder
10 Years
Oct 2, 2009
92
0
39
middle TN
A chicken savvy friend told me that we humans have not selected for good breeding/mating traits in roosters. For example, most male birds have some form of "foreplay dance" which attracts a female. Most domesticated Roos have that bred out of them, not purposefully, but it's gone all the same. It would be interesting, indeed, if breeders considered these types of traits when deciding which Roos' genetics get to carry on.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,404
17,845
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
Quote:
With many if not most breeds, behaviors of males and females reduced in association with breeding and other activities. You should see all the cool stuff red jungle fowl do that their domesticated relatives do not. Even American games seem to have lost some vocalizations that red jungle fowl make.
 

jaimslee4u

Songster
10 Years
Aug 11, 2009
450
1
119
Maine
Quote:
Very nicely Put!
clap.gif
 

bethbug74

The Lady Gadfly
8 Years
Mar 28, 2011
349
8
118
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Natural selection has to have lots of options to work with in order to weed out the least adapted genetics from any given gene pool. 50/50 male to female ratio at hatch is just a function of there only being two (that's debatable, of course) technical "sexes." You either have an X Chromosome or a Y chromosome.

Only the strongest/sneakiest female mosquitos are able to pass on their genes to the next generation because of the linking of blood meals form big dangerous animals to egg-laying. Thus, the species' ability to deal with whatever environmental stresses are present in a given environment are improved, and whomever got swatted obviously doesn't get to pass on their genes. The fact that rooster will often kill each other if they are in fierce competition for mating privileges ensures that only the biggest, baddest mofo gets to be a dad, thus passing on those big bad mofo genes. This doesn't work if there's not much competition for girls, because weak roos are just as capable of being sires (usually) as strong ones, if given the chance. It's just how genetics work, it's why we and all things naturally evolved are in the state they are currently in, continually changing just a little. I'm just glad that someone invented glasses, cause otherwise, I should have been culled, a LOOOONG time ago. ;)

Of course, humans stick their noses into natural selection, mess it all up, and we end up with things like teacup poodle and the showgirl chicken....animals that are just about as badly adapted to just about any environment imaginable, except maybe that of endless snowdrifts...

Looooove my showgirls, though, lol.
 
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