Wanted: How to choose between two good roos

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by wild chick, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. wild chick

    wild chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a mixed flock of gold and silver wyandottes - 9 pullets (6 gold and 3 silver) and 2 roos (1 each color), they turn 8 months old tomorrow. I know it needs to be 1 roo to the 9 females but I'm not sure the best way to decide. They all came together from Mcmurray hatchery as day old chicks so they all grew up together. It was a straight run and we put 9 cockerels in the freezer - that was hard enough! And we were hoping hoping we could keep one gold and one silver roo for the hens. They get along, don't fight but they are already making me get saddles for a few hens, and it's not even springtime yet. How do you guys decide? Both roos (cockerels I know is correct term, but for short roo, ok?) are easy going. Leo the GLW was alpha for the most part, but got a bit of frost bite on his comb and began to retreat from duties. He is fine, his comb is fine just damaged, but when he was concerned about his "headache", Big Blue Roo began very gently taking the girls. Now in 30 days time, the young ladies follow Blue around and Leo always hangs back. Blue is huge, I love his size and we are breeding for meat & eggs - don't care about purebreds for selling or show. Leo is wide between the legs, way more than Blue and I hear that is good for future hens - less egg-bound problems. And Leo is stunning with his long "mane" he really looks like a lion. These are free range all day & locked up at night. Neither roo seems really on top of protecting the flock, but maybe 8 months is too young? The free chick from McM. was an Egyptian Fayoumis and wrote the book on flock protection, but he died unexpectedly.The biggest problem is that I'm liking Blue the best and my partner in crime likes Leo the best.... My last hope is that someone tells me they will get gentler to the females after they get over their teenage rage, but I'm pretty committed now that one of the two needs to go. :-( Help! [​IMG]

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  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    If space and finances permit, you could build a separate coop and run for both boys and alternate which cockerel you put with the girls. An alternative is to get some more point of lay pullets in order to reduce mating pressure on the existing girls. Personally, I'd keep the cockerel that is more gentlemanly. Guess you could always toss a coin to decide who stays? (make it the best of 3, in case you loose the first round [​IMG])
     
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  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    They will calm down after their first year, but there still isn't enough hens for both boys. If you can't add more hens than one rooster should be removed.

    If you can't decide you could rotate them out to see how they each act individually with the hens. The other can be kept penned. You can continue to swap them out indefinitely, or down the road make a decision. I'm partial to the gold laced just because I currently have one an I find them pretty.

    Sometimes when one rooster is removed the other will act differently because the other one is no longer keeping him in check. I prefer the penning of one initially, as it allows you to judge them better, and you haven't gotten rid of one, only to find out the other acts terribly by himself, and now you regret your choice.

    I would keep the one penned within the coop or next to the flock so the rooster that is out isn't constantly trying to get back to the other rooster.
     
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  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    The first cockerel has the best conformation and better feathering. He'd be my choice.
     
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  5. wild chick

    wild chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your ideas. If I decided to keep each cockerel up to "take turns" this is what I'm imagining - is this what you are suggesting? The coop is 8 x 7 feet attached to an 8 x 20 foot run with critter-proof top. Everyone currently roosts in the coop and the run door (access to the coop where the nesting boxes are also) is open all day to free range on acreage so pullets can come & go to lay eggs. We have 10 acres but the chickens range about 2 or 3 acres closest to the coop. If I was to keep one cockerel locked up I do have a very large dog crate, which I could put anywhere.Would it be ok or more stressful to be next to the run where he'd see a pullet come & go? Would it be OK to turn them all together at dusk, let them roost together, then when I let them out in the a.m. catch the one to be caged all day, put him in the dog kennel and then at dusk let him in the run with the others to go to roost? This is my very first year at raising chickens and they are doing so well I hate to push it by keeping an extra roo. BUT I love the suggestion of seeing how they behave without the other male in the mix, so I'm willing to try this. Will the two roos get more competitive after one being locked away all day? Right now the two boys don't fight at all, it's the girls that are getting too much attention. Thanks again for suggestions, I'm pretty sure the final solution is one roo, I'm just putting it off as long as I can...
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I wouldn't put them together at night. The reason to separate out one is so your hens aren't being constantly mated. When you add the one back in he will be eager to mate and it might make that worse.

    This is my original separation pen. The rooster is still a part of the flock. Your coop is quite a bit smaller than mine. This pen is about 2x4, and is big enough for a rooster to stay in there for a while. I feed some chickens on top of it, mostly some lower pecking order hens, and some sleep on it at night. It takes up floor space but yet it doesn't.

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    We also made this temporary pen to house two roosters over the summer. It is made out of a free shipping crate. So just some ideas that we have used to separate out extra roosters.

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  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Just going off the pic provided, I'd pick the gold. He looks more balanced and correct, closer to what a Wyandotte should look like. I know you're not breeding to the SOP, but it doesn't hurt to keep that in mind. those qualities were all selected for a reason.
     
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  8. wild chick

    wild chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Oldhen for sharing your set-up. Mine is so different.... If I kept one cockerel up, most likely he would be alone most of the day. When we open the doors in the morning it is to the free range and they only come back to the coop to lay. Would he still be wanting to mate if it was dusk when I put the cockerel in the coop with the others as they had gone to roost? I guess if I let there be an hour of daylight before I came and caught one up the one that had been caged the day before would have his way with all the poor pullets before I got out to separate them... Sigh. I'll make a decision soon.
     
  9. wild chick

    wild chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Donrae - I'm truely a newbie, as I stated before. We picked Wyandottes for their duel purpose and cold hardiness and so far very pleased, especially that these are hatchery chicks not from specialty breeders. Can you help me see the conformation faults of Big Blue? I haven't weighed these birds but Blue is much larger, and has really thick strong legs (the scaled legs that is visible) so he shouldn't have a problem "carrying" his weight. Leo is just drop-dead gorgeous, I know. His feathers and lace marks are prettier. He is wider between the legs which I read is supposed to be good for producing hens that don't get egg-bound. But please tell me what else I should be looking for. Personality wise is also a bit confusing to me. When we got down to these two (from 11 total males in the straight run) Leo was alpha, crowed a lot and Blue just stayed quiet and agreeable. If Leo mounted a pullet Blue would run over and stand a foot away but not attack or stop Leo. If Blue got far enough away from Leo (this is free range - they have acres, not sq feet) with a pullet and mounted up and Leo saw or heard, Leo would run so fast, hit Blue so hard it knocked him off the pullet and then Leo would mount the poor lady. The two boys have never fought each other. Then we had a cold snap and Leo got frost bite on his comb. (the only one that did) We addressed it, treated it, tried to prevent it from happening again, but poor Leo shook his head, part of the dead comb came off leaving a bald place about 1/4" on top of his head. I don't know if his "headache" had anything to do with it, but he started hanging back more and more and now the last week Blue finally started crowing and he has a bigger bunch of pullets with him all the time than Leo does. Also Leo tried to attack us twice while he was still king, but we ran at him a couple of times and he stopped that behavior within a few days. Blue got bold once or twice with us, but again we just walked fast and aggressively toward him and it was nipped in the bud. But they are only 8 months old and I'm reading on the rooster behavior threads that they are still apt change throughout their first year or two. Both are smart & quick learners. Sorry to make this post so long, really just tip me off on what you see in Blue that I don't want more of? Or maybe the Wyandotte thread would be a good place for me to post this? Thanks a million you guys!
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Keep in mind, I only have these two pics to evaluate from. And sometimes I have problems expressing what I see, into words......

    The silver bird just doesn't look as balanced or pleasing to the eye. He looks too leggy, I guess. Wyandottes are supposed to be "gravy bowl shaped", with deep bodies. His front line, the chest seems shallow, for lack of a better term. There's not much breast there, it ties in high to the body. Overall he looks more upright built, not a desired feature.

    The gold bird seems to have more of the classic rounded shape, although he's still a hatchery bird. His legs and back seem more in proportion to the rest of his body, making him more balanced overall.

    Again, some may be the angle of the pics. You can see the birds in person and will be able to better judge them. Wider bodies are usually a good thing, so keep that in mind. How wide bodied are your hens? If they're decent themselves, you don't necessarily need to compensate for that in the next generation.

    You might ask Bee if she can articulate better why the gold bird is nicer, conformation wise. She may be able to pin point something I couldn't. I just know I looked at both of them and my brain said the gold bird was a bit better quality than the silver.
     
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