To Roo or not to Roo

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Stephine, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    that is the question. I have a Brahma roo with my 13 hens and I am tired of seeing bare backs. Half of the hens are getting stripped of their feathers from treading. Saddles are a pain (it's either raining or too hot) and I am afraid they'll get sunburn when it's nice out. Plus they just look so ratty. I got a rooster because they are free ranging part time, but we also have a dog to watch them because a rooster just isn't enough. Now I am wondering if we could spare a rooster?
    or if I should get a better one? This one is ok with me but most hens resist him and he regularly pecks some hens and sends them off screaching. Grr. And how would I go about getting and integrating a new rooster?
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    People have different opinions about how effective roos are as a flock protector. Personally, I find that my alpha hen fulfils the role of chief alarm-caller perfectly well.

    Why not ditch the roo and see how the flock goes without one. Thereafter, if you are convinced its necessary, then get another one. Integrating roos is very easy - just keep him confined to the coop for 2-3 days (after quarantine), so he knows where his new home is, and them let him mingle (he will likely get put in his place by the higher ranking hens, but that's no bad thing).
     
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  3. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I am seriously considering ditching the rooster. I like him, but the sight of the bare backed hens is depressing. Plus this roo was never really accepted by all the hens. I used to have a Welsummer cockerel with them, too, who was the alpha and the ones the hens liked, but he was aggressive to me and I had to give him away. After that, most hens never really warmed up to this beta roo. Almost none will let him mount them willingly and he is quite the clutz about it, too. No dance, no titbiting that I have seen, just a neck grab and 1/2 the time the hen escapes with a squawk. He is nice in all other ways and always lets the hens get treats first - the poor guy never gets any raisins! But for the last two days he has been going out of his way to peck my self assured Barred Rock hen on the head, the back, in the mornings. He'll walk through half the pen just to get her. I don't know what that's about other than possibly that she wont submit to him - the feathers on her back are in great shape....
    I would miss the crowing but I want to do what is best for my hens.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I would certainly ditch the current rooster, and maybe try another one if you are interested in keeping one. Every rooster is different, some mate more often, and some are more gentle. Maybe trying a bantam rooster as they often don't wear the hens as much.

    Another option is to pen your rooster up when he gets to be too much. Sometimes penning them and letting them mature a bit more makes a poor rooster a better rooster. I pen mine where they can interact with the hens through a fence. They practice sweet talking the hens and learn better manners.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    How old is the rooster? I ask as Brahmas can be slow to mature, and maybe he's simply not perfected his game yet?

    But, if you're unhappy, no reason at all to keep him. I agree to get rid of him, and try a rooster-less flock for a bit. One, it will give your hens time to settle down and re-grow some feathers. You can be looking for a rooster if you want, but take your time. I've found integrating a mature rooster to be about the easiest thing, I just toss him and in and let them do their things. You'll have to decide on quarantine, that's a personal thing, but the integration is usually pretty easy. He can be a bit overbearing at first, especially if he's not been with hens recently, but things should settle down in a day or so.
     
  6. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My roo is exactly one year old today! (I just realized) So yes, still quite young. I just don't know how to manage bare hens all aummer long, I am afraid they'll get sunburn! Plus it's just depressing to see them so scraggly.
    I think I'll see if I can find a good situation for him, I don't think he necessarily has to go to freezer camp. In the meantime try to figure out if I can keep him separate from them without him screaming his head off all day long. I think I'd still have to have him in the coop at night because I don't have a different set up....
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Just be aware the feathers won't grow back until the fall molt. They will be fine even if their backs get a bit red.
     
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  8. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought that they would grow back if the feathers were completely pulled out, but not if they were broken off...?
    They might have a combination of both - we'll see. But it's good to know they will be ok, that bare skin worries me a bit.
    I decided to not keep the roo. I am keeping chickens mainly for fun (and the incredibly good eggs) and I don't like seeing them roughed up. My hope is for a layed back Sussex roo in the future. One can dream....
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    There are good and bad roosters, so not everyone is a butt. Brahma are big clumsy roosters, though I haven't had a large fowl, only bantam.

    It will be interesting to see if any do grow back. Mine never do but I still have roosters, so I would appreciate an update if they do come back before the molt so I can update my own knowledge.
     
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    That sounds like a good decision for you at this time. If he's taking away your enjoyment of having chickens, there is no need to keep him.
     
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