To Roo or Not to Roo?

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
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Catalonia, Spain
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I think a rooster is a good idea when you free range hens. Their job is to prote t their females so they are always in the watch for predators and when they see one they alert the oblivious hens so they can run for cover! Def a good addition for flock safety and they are a so called speed bump because they will take on whatever is after his hens no matter the size and even possibly be killed in the process all while his hens run to safety. What a guy!!! As for which one to keep I wouldnt want the super aggressive one so try the take one and see. I love to hear my guy crow! My oegb is first with my son but not with me ever. I dont allow him to get away with it so if the roo starts wing dragging your daughter or being showy in any way she needs to pick him up and hold him for a few min and rub his waddles. Roosters came be tamed down without showing them who is boss so to speak. Picking then up shows dominance is a kinder way. I read all this on an article I found here on byc just dont remember the name but the info is worth its weight in gold! If stew pot is last resort then the bright side is that his life wasn't wasted he just became part of the food chain. That's life. Some roosters are born mean as hell and it takes a lot of blood sweat and tears to frame them and daily work that some people just dont have time to do. I had a rir roo that you couldn't get near without a stick and he was that way his whole life no matter how nice I was to him or how much he was held. So that's my experience. Free roaming the hens will pick up swiftly just make sure they know where to roost at night so cage them atkeast 3 weeks. That's what I do. If I catch mine qhere theh shouldnt be I tell them to get home and walk them out of the woods. They have figured out what my commands mean and we do well! Good luck
I'm a rooster fan, but I'm also a realist and while I agree with most of what you've written my experience of what roosters actually do when the shit hits the fan is rather different to your description.
I've had lovely roosters, good with the hens, good with people but when that hawk comes hammering towards them, they run for cover. I don't blame them, discretion being the better part of valor, as some see it.
The best all round roosters have always been the difficult ones. No you can't give them cuddles and if they don't know you they will charge you down but they were prepared to die for the hens and didn't seem to care how big the threat and that of course includes humans.
It seems some people want their roosters to not be afraid and aggressive towards everything except them. That's a very hard thing to ask of any animal. If that is what you want then you need to put the work in to get it.
 

Hyper_Chicken05

Songster
Nov 29, 2017
422
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New Zealand
If you keep a cockerel with only the two hens they will most likely end up bare backed from being over bred. Another thing to consider, I find hens are friendlier and easier to handle when there isn't a rooster present. Also if all those cockerels share the same genetics, your quiet boy probably won't be so meek once the other cockerels are gone.
I'm a rooster fan, but I'm also a realist and while I agree with most of what you've written my experience of what roosters actually do when the shit hits the fan is rather different to your description.
I've had lovely roosters, good with the hens, good with people but when that hawk comes hammering towards them, they run for cover. I don't blame them, discretion being the better part of valor, as some see it.
The best all round roosters have always been the difficult ones. No you can't give them cuddles and if they don't know you they will charge you down but they were prepared to die for the hens and didn't seem to care how big the threat and that of course includes humans.
It seems some people want their roosters to not be afraid and aggressive towards everything except them. That's a very hard thing to ask of any animal. If that is what you want then you need to put the work in to get it.
Not towards everyone but them, Just towards threats. That’s an easier thing to do.
 

Ibchduckin

Chirping
Jun 14, 2016
29
15
60
I made the mistake of keeping the cockerel that seemed to be more quiet and lower in the pecking order. Without the other cockerels he became a monster. Attacked me. Attacked my neighbors. He had to go to freezer camp.

No, you do not need a rooster if you want to free range. Your new chickens will get used to going out during the day and coming home in the evening. If you want to keep them safer against 4 legged predators while they are out you should check into electric poultry netting. The netting would give the girls an area to roam and yet keep stray dogs and foxes away from the girls.
Roosters attack to show his dominance over who ever he deems a threat, this can be broken. Never turn your back. walk towards him until he moves. If you both make eye contact, do not let him win, stare him down. Much like training a dog who the alpha is.
If you can train a dog, you can train a rooster.
 

Kalimak

Songster
Jun 20, 2018
124
201
116
Loxahatchee, Florida
No you don't need a rooster to free range hens.
Someone in this thread described them as a speed bump, while that's a bit unkind there is an element of truth in it.
The roosters I've had here (I've had quite a few) do save some of the hens from some of the predators. The downside is they die doing it.
What people don't often take into account is the deterrent effect of a rooster.
Most of the hens that get killed here get killed going to and from egg laying, not when they are in the group. A good rooster does reduce the risk in this case.
If you decide you do want to keep one rooster, don't pick the sweet cuddly one, pick the bad mother and let him do his job.
Strongly agree with this.
 

Chullicken

Crowing
Premium member
Apr 10, 2016
771
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282
Dorchester, NH
It's really about what you want to do with your flock. Roosters are never needed in the chicken hobby world just to have a rooster. Are they cool? Heck yes. Even better if you get a good one who does what 'we' think roosters should do. Quiet roosters typically are that if you have other roosters and has to do with the hierarchy within their group. He is quiet and low key now until he's on top...you may be horrified when he comes out of his shell. Just be mindful.
Not sure about your location and what kind of location it is, just keep in mind if you are in a woodsy/country environment at some point you will like everyone else who has done it, pay the wildlife tax. And really starting with chicks so you can free range is not required. Healthy chickens should actively try to slip out and hit that green grass every chance they can regardless of their upbringing. Couple options you can mull over if you choose, free-ranging, penned, pastured. All have pro's and cons and there is a ton of info on this site in regard to those ideas. Good luck with everything.
 

Chullicken

Crowing
Premium member
Apr 10, 2016
771
2,447
282
Dorchester, NH
Roosters attack to show his dominance over whoever he deems a threat, this can be broken. Never turn your back. walk towards him until he moves. If you both make eye contact, do not let him win, stare him down. Much like training a dog who the alpha is.
If you can train a dog, you can train a rooster.
What typically will happen with your method is he may or may not acknowledge you but that doesn't guarantee anyone or anything else.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
21,823
11,784
641
Florida
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My opinion is you only need a male if you want to breed. During part of the year I have a lot of males because I breed and usually around half the chicks are males. I usually hatch out between 200 and 300 chicks every year. I grow them out and keep a couple of the best from each of my chosen breeds to use as breeders. I do free range the birds but not so much in the summer because the pasture only has a couple of trees and there is more shade in their pens which are fairly large for each coop, 20'x60'. The birds may come out for a very short while but then go back into their pens for the shade. I usually only let them out when I'm working on or around the coops and pens so I can keep an eye on them. Often the males will attempt to protect the females. I had a hawk kill a bird that was only a few feet from me. Good luck and have fun...
 

ChxLadyCass

Songster
Mar 2, 2017
426
126
116
La Junta, CO
I made the mistake of keeping the cockerel that seemed to be more quiet and lower in the pecking order. Without the other cockerels he became a monster. Attacked me. Attacked my neighbors. He had to go to freezer camp.

No, you do not need a rooster if you want to free range. Your new chickens will get used to going out during the day and coming home in the evening. If you want to keep them safer against 4 legged predators while they are out you should check into electric poultry netting. The netting would give the girls an area to roam and yet keep stray dogs and foxes away from the girls.
The EXACT same thing happened to me! I had to cull him a few weeks ago as well it was so bad. I have found that all of my hens have been safely free ranging without him. I can't speak to free ranging when they have not been raised that way. i think even just having experienced free ranging hens in the flock helps teach the others, but with a fresh batch, I'm not so sure. I have 9 chicks I have not sexed yet, and I am 90% sure I will get rid of all the roosters. I used to be an advocate for Roos when i had a sweetheart of one. He was a strong protector and kind and gentle to the ladies. You just can't guarantee you will have that though! Good luck!
 

Bogtown Chick

Free Ranging
7 Years
Mar 31, 2012
6,887
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557
Northern Minnesota
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I am all about the 'depends on your set up' situation.

It might be worth a Try to pick one meek, skiddish, I don't want to be handled cockerel to go with your two girls. If the bird runs from you and is skiddish...it means he already respects you as a human. That being said he may stand his ground closer to the coop where the eggs are being laid and try to establish some territory. That's when the stick and a tap in the fluff comes into play to show that it's your territory really. I had a love of a New Hampshire that was a turd at the coop but then went up on my deck and asked for crackers. I liked the fact though that he was protective at the coop and escorted the layers down there. I tolerated the territorialness because I knew he was being protective against other things as well. Gosh he was so smart.

The dancing in your face overly 'friendly' food-demanding boys will likely keep a residue of mean-ness after their first year or two. But it sounds like you've begun the mental sorting of who goes next into the stew pot.

There is some thought that the hens produce and are happier with a male around. So I would try one. If its just the two girls and then him it might be okay. He might be satisfied with his job in the morning and leave it at that. But allow a year of maturity for that too. There is such a thing that more in a flock creates chaos and diversion for getting away. I believe that.

Due to Fox predation :rolleyes: I've lost two roosters in the last year. I'm raising up two cockerels now to lead 9 hens. But only one will make the final cut. Two boys will compete to pass on their genetics and thus the bareback hens. I have one meek boy. And One character. I think I have a home for latter down the road. In the mean time my oldest hen has led the ladies about and I hear her give the predator calls when hawks or eagles fly over head. Little twills and twirls and the girls are ducking under blackberry briars or RV trailers. You name it. The girls CAN do this job. Lead in a free range. But the boys add lots of character to a flock and are Yard Eye Candy. And may save the day a few times.

Try it.
 

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