Topic of the Week - Roosters, Yes or No?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sumi, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I believe chicken keeping is a hobby one should work into, and if asked I do not recommend a rooster to first time chicken keepers. Keep a hen only flock for a year, get some experience, pray for a broody hen, then raise up chicks under her... one of those will be a rooster. The older birds will school him into proper chicken behavior.

    Too often, roosters raised with just flock mates become aggressive. They are bigger than the pullets, come into sexual maturity earlier, and because there is not older birds to school them, they often become very aggressive. They tend to be darling as chicks and then become a nightmare.

    Yes, I love having a rooster, have had several over the years. I have had good results in reducing day time predation with a year old mature rooster in the flock. However, if you are going to try a rooster, imo you need a sharp knife, cause sometimes roosters do not work out.

    Say no to a rooster if:
    • It is your first year
    • If you have children under the age of 4
    • Do not think you can keep every rooster that you hatch or buy as chicks
    • I agree with the above post, 1 too for 5-6 hens, 2 rooster for 25-36 hens.

    Work into the hobby. There are many aspects to this hobby, raising chicks, getting eggs, having a rooster, harvesting meat, multi-generational flocks. Work into the hobby.

    Mrs K
  2. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2015
    I learned with this batch of roos that some hens do not make it to teach him he is a gentleman.All the raping makes the hens frightened (And this guy started earlier then most i'd say,so he missed the class on that stuff.)
  3. TroyerGal

    TroyerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    I believe... YES! Roosters are absolutely beneficial to the flock! Saying that, I also have to say that it has to do with the personality of your roo. We have a bantaam cochin frizzle rooster, and he is just the sweetest thing! He keeps his flock safe, feeds them, and is just SO.DARN.CUTE.
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
  5. Braxton Brigade

    Braxton Brigade Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2015
    Braxton, Ms
    - Is a rooster beneficial to the flock?

    Yes. The boys I end up picking are ones that don't pick fights with the other boys, break up fights between the hens, protect the little chicks when they are roaming with mom and a million more reasons.

    As a few others have stated, a hierarchy between hens is going to go on regardless of a rooster being there. If you have a rooster they (the hens) actually fight less. Less fighting equals less stress.

    - How big should the flock be if you consider keeping one? (I.e. how many hens minimum)

    This depends breeding style that your guy has. I can go down to a 1:2 setup with my guys (large fowl), bantams I've gone down to 1:1.

    There is no such thing as a "proper ratio" if you're a doing a good job of making sure your hens are not being damaged or overly favored then you can figure out what best suits your flock members.

    - What should a flock keeper look for when adding, or keeping a rooster? (For example, when choosing which rooster to keep from a hatch, if not for breeding purposes, but as a pet)

    When choosing from a hatch I choose the cockerel that had the greatest overall confirmation to the breed standard.
    For backyard purposes I absolutely choose by temperament, watch how he acts with his hatch mates. If he is always bullying then he will likely stay exactly like that.

    A flock keeper should make a habit of not favoring any of the boys before they reach sexual maturity. Your favorite cockerel may very well be the one to start attacking you.

    When choosing a grown rooster I decide based on confirmation, temperament and intelligence.

    - Beside noise, what are the possible cons of keeping a rooster and what should be kept in mind. (For new chicken owners)

    For new owners I recommend choosing a older rooster if possible. The more mature they are the less iffy they act. Perhaps bringing along a experienced chicken owner and have them give a opinion to aid in your decision.

    My neighbor was new to chickens and actually allowed me to choose a cockerel for him. I chose one (out of my own flock) that never fought my roosters/cockerels and he was never allowed to disrespect a hen.

    My older roosters will beat up a cockerel if they cause a hen to squawk and all my cockerels are raised in a bachelor pen. He only got to be with hens/pullets while ranging with the older more established flock members. This seems to create healthy habits amongst all the boys I raise (maybe I am just lucky).
  6. Braxton Brigade

    Braxton Brigade Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2015
    Braxton, Ms
    He didn't have a experienced rooster to put him in his place.
    This is why I like raising mine around my mature flock.

    If a cockerel is being rough (which they almost always are) my roosters will dash over and make the offending cockerel stop being so brutal.
    The cockerels learn that if they want to mate they have to be gentle enough that the hens won't sound the alarm.
  7. ladyh

    ladyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2015
    Oh yes. I have 4 roosters and I just love them. I have one new one about 4 weeks old with his sister hen. So far none of the other chickens or roosters bother them. Roosters watch out for the hens and will fight to the death if anything that is a threat to them. I let the hens and roosters do what nature intends for them to do. I introduce new young males and hens first (look don't touch method) and they all get a long. I have watched them raise their hackels at one another but don't harm each other... There are velco attachments that you can get so your roosters so they don't crow very loud. If people have a problem with noise, then there is a solution. Roosters are so beneficial to a farm and his interactions and protection with their hens. If you have all yours enclosed, that would definitely cause problems. My Guinea fowl males puts the roosters in their place LOL pretty funny to watch.

    Oh, and if you have a rooster that is aggressive (which my BA did) human needs to learn how to handle it. I growl at him and make myself taller and carry a stick and hit him (not enough to hurt) just on the side of him and sides of his chest. Didn't take long for him to learn. Human usually is the one that creates an aggressive rooster. His job is to protect his hens and if you interfere by walking in between him and a hen or look like your chasing a hen or doing anything that would make the roo think his hen is in harms way and he goes for you then that is a human thing...not the roosters problem.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
  8. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    I do like my boys, but I do have zero tolerance for a human aggressive rooster. I grew up with roosters in the flock and with few exceptions have had rooster(s) with my hens.
    As a child the only roosters I remember being aggressive were the leghorn Easter chicks that my mother felt sorry for and my mother took in the ex pets. All were roosters and mean. I remember carrying a stick outside until they were dispatched. To this day I still dislike that breed and would never own any.
    We had roosters when my children were small.
    Perhaps there is a difference between roosters as pets in a yard and roosters as part of a farm flock.
    The smallest ratio I had was several years ago after getting restarted, I accidently had an all hen flock and we had a predator problem so I went through one winter with only 4 birds, only one of whom was a rooster. In the spring I picked up a few more pullets then hatched more.
    In our area almost everyone keeps free range chickens. Sometimes a rooster is lost protecting his flock. I will keep extra young nice cockerels in a bachelor pad to see how they turn out and if anyone needs a replacement rooster I may have one. Last year, someone returned the favor.
    One thing I have noticed. So many people on this forum seem to have problems, even major problems introducing new birds to the flock. I've never had a problem. One thing I have noticed is (I may use my incubator or may buy a new breed I want to try.) that after a period of being penned next to each other, I just let them lose together and there never seems to be a problem. I always make sure there are enough feeders and waterers but one thing I have noticed is that the roosters don't seem to tolerate the younger birds getting picked on, even if there are cockerels in the group.
    Someone lost her rooster to old age this past year and I gave her one after she was roosterless for a few months. She had two separate flocks. Her old one and some younger girls she had purchased. When she tried to introduced them one pullet was killed by the older girls and she thought she would have to keep them separate forever.
    After getting her new rooster he was going back and forth between the flocks and I suggested she put ONE of the hens in with the younger ones (So the older couldn't gang up on the younger. Then add a second.) Within a very short time she had one flock. The rooster wouldn't put up with disagreements among HIS hens.
    So I really like and appreciate well behaved roosters. There are too many nice boys needing good homes to tolerate an aggressive rooster.
  9. Blue Godz

    Blue Godz Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 26, 2015
    I do that too and I never have problems introducing a new bird to the flock
  10. Radena

    Radena Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 25, 2016
    DITTO! And if you have free range broody hens that lay outside the coop. Then you get a bunch of roosters you have to dispose of. Dont get me wrong. I have roosters. And feel they keep the flock together. Hens seem to range farther from home with out the rooster.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by