To Roo or not to Roo?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by HEN-tabulous, Aug 13, 2014.

  1. HEN-tabulous

    HEN-tabulous Out Of The Brooder

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    We just started on this fantastic journey called chickeniers! Got our first aide the other day. Not sure if it was from the Alpha hen or a pullet growing into her own. But we are extremely excited. My question is, if I add a rooster will be alpha hen then become subordinate? This site and the advice given by you wonderful people is simply awesome. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Congratulations on your new chickens! It's an ongoing educational experience, that's for sure! I'm not sure exactly what your question is - will your alpha hen become subordinate to the rooster? To you? To the other hens in the coop? How many chickens do you have? What is your setup like? Do they free range? Just go out of the run for a couple of hours a day? Always in the run? Why do you want a rooster? What are your goals for your flock? Do you want one for protection? To keep peace in the flock? To be able to hatch and raise your own chicks? What age rooster would you get? A mature one? A young one to grow up in the flock? The answers to these questions will help people to give you a better idea of how a rooster will fit into your flock. Roosters can be a good addition. They can also be a problem. There are many opinions, of course, as everyone's situation is different.
     
  3. HEN-tabulous

    HEN-tabulous Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your response Bobbi-j! A friend of mine has about 30 chickens. He offered to give me a cockerel instead of culling it. I have one alpha hand of laying age. And five other pullets of various breeds. My Rhodebar is the queen and i've only had the chickens for less than a week. I was thinking of getting a rooster in the spring. For the purpose of herding them when we decide to free range, they already have a pretty big run. And for growing chicks later down the road. I just don't want any strife in my flock. They are just starting to come around to me. Thanks for the advice!
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    If you've only had your chickens for a short time, you might want to get your rooster now instead of in the spring. Right now they're still adjusting to their new surroundings and I think it would be less stressful to add the rooster before they get set in their ways. Chickens don't do change well and really don't like newcomers. Did you get your hens all from the same place? Or were they new to each other, too? You really don't need a rooster to "herd" the hens when they're free ranging. They manage just fine on their own. Your alpha hen will keep an eye out for predators and let the others know there is a threat. They are perfectly capable of finding their way back to the coop. The only reason anyone "needs" a rooster is to fertilize eggs if you want to hatch and raise your own chickens. Another thing to think about - if you aren't looking to raise your own chicks in the next year or so, you might just want to hold off getting a rooster until you are a little more used to keeping chickens. If you have a rooster, your hens may not be as friendly to you as they might be without one. I don't make pets of my hens so I can't say I've experienced that, but I have read about others' experience on here. I know I just contradicted myself about when to get a rooster - now while they're still adjusting anyway, or later after they're more used to you, but you'll have to make up your mind about that. It really has a lot to do with your flock and your goals and your comfort level with having a roosters. There are sweet ones out there and there are aggressive ones. You need to have a plan if you get one that attacks you. Will you keep it? Try to tame it? Put it in the freezer? Give it away? Do you have kids that could be attacked by your free ranging rooster? There is a lot to think about when getting a rooster.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Hen-T: How big is your coop and run? with only 6 girls, I'd be concerned that a rooster would overbreed the girls, though other flocksters manage a small flock (less than 6 birds) with a rooster. But, he will put a lot of wear on his favorite girls due to overbreeding. Bobbi raises a lot of questions that are wise to address before getting involved with a rooster.
     
  6. HEN-tabulous

    HEN-tabulous Out Of The Brooder

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    The coop is 10x4 (converted my kids old play set into a coop and nesting box). The run is an odd shape, but is about 114 linear feet. I'd like to get two more pullets for a total of 8 hens and a Roo.
     
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    All you can do is try a rooster and see how you like having one around. Some are ok, some are a royal pain in the back side. One caveat: If you have small kids don't get a rooster.
    I would say read a lot on rooster management because you need to understand rooster behavior and how to handle one. Your flock is smallish for having a rooster, I've found I have issues if my rooster has less then 10 or 12 hens, sometimes even then I get hens that get too much attention.
     
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  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I will give the advice to stick with just hens the first year or even two. There is a learning curve to chickens and their behavior. If you have children under the age of 5, I strongly recommend that you not get a rooster. Roosters have ruined the whole chicken experience for a lot of kids. Kids are who roosters generally attack first.

    People always have roosters to give away, your friend will have some more next year. An all hen flock is a much more friendly flock, and will look to you to be the leader. You will bring them feed, and they see that as a good thing.

    A small flock of hens can easily be over mated by a roo. Your flock sounds like it might be quite young, and therefore smaller, what often looks like enough space or even a lot of space, rapidly gets too small as the birds get bigger. See how the group you have now settles down in the space you have.

    And the biggest reality with roosters is that some are fantastic and some are nightmares. Human treatment that will produce a well loved puppy, often times creates a monster for a rooster. Roosters often regard affection as submission, and will attack to get he upper hand. If you do not think you can cull a rooster, you probably need to wait to get one.

    I had hens for 4 years before I got a rooster. I love having a rooster now, but I am glad I waited. I learned a lot in the beginning.

    Mrs K
     
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