What are normal young cockeral behaviors?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Corydg, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. Corydg

    Corydg Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 11, 2015
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    Very new to the chicken world but incredibly fascinated with their behavior and could watch them for hours. I have 5 four to five week old Cochins in a brooder with a couple 1 week Seramas, one 2 week modern game, and one 4 week silkie.
    Last night I noticed 3 of the chicks jumping on one another, chest bumping, and they are also the friendliest and most curious of me and my camera. Tonight I decided to pick all the chicks up carefully, study their beaks, emerging comes, and low and behold waddles on some of them!
    I also studied their feathers, comparing everyone. Well the very 3 most excitable chest bumpers all have a 2 mm much more developed comb than the others....then I found the waddles too! ****....why did they have to be the friendliest and most interesting personalities? I have minimal experience but it really feels like these are cockerels based on all this. I could post pics tomorrow if I can catch them but I would think that the evidence pointing towards boys seems rather strong already.
    Anyone else willing to share their cockeral versus pullet personalities/characteristics. I feel like documenting everything to learn from...so interesting.
     
  2. Bufster2

    Bufster2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 28, 2015
    MO
    Well,mine normally was scared of me.Of course,breed and genetics has alot to do with this.

    My cockeral was in with a four year old rooster,he behaved for the most part,until he was forced to fight.He did have a attitude,normally when I held him and a duck,he attacked it,and a fight started.

    Never came at me,just ran around mounting the hens all dat long.He pra ticed mounting as t that age,and also tried calling his hens...
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    This thread might be fun for you to read, especially the first post.

    How to sex chicks
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=48329

    I think you should document what you see, both physical development and behavioral. That way you prove to yourself what you see and don’t just depend on a stranger on the internet. We are not all going to see the same things. Some of that is going to be breed related but I think more important is differences in the individual chicks and partly the way we keep them.

    On rare occasions I can tell at hatch that s certain chick is male but I can’t tell that one is female. Some male chicks start off with a posture, body shape, and attitude that is pretty clear. But again this is really rare. At most, you might be able to get a few clues, but these are just clues, not foregone conclusions. It’s usually a lot easier to say “This one is male” than to say “This one is female”.

    Wattle development is a real strong indicator that it is a male. But not all males develop wattles at the same rate, even chicks from the same parents. Just because a chick does not develop wattles early does not mean that it is a pullet though. Some males develop real late. And some pullets can develop some wattles fairly early, but mostly early wattle development is a male thing.

    Not all chest-bumpers are male. Up until they reach a certain level of maturity pullets and cockerels will struggle with dominance issues. Even in mature flocks you can sometimes see a grown mature hen fighting an adolescent cockerel for flock dominance or pecking order issues. But it is another clue, though not a real strong one. Chest bumpers are more likely to be male.

    Why are the males more likely to be the ones that really attract you? It’s because of their personality. A hen is genetically engineered to be submissive and blend in to the background. Her job is to lay eggs, hatch them, and raise chicks. She does not need to be out attracting predators while doing that.

    The male’s job is to take care of his flock. He needs to have a personality so the hens will identify him as a good potential father to their chicks. He needs to be dominant so he can keep order in his flock and breakup fights. He needs to have a strong personality so when he talks to them, they listen. That may be that he has found them food or has seen a threat to the flock. While most of my roosters tend to lead their flock to safety instead of putting themselves in harm’s way to protect their flock once a threat is identified, practically all dominant roosters will go check out a potential threat. They are naturally more curious and bolder than the hens.

    This difference in behavior often shows up in young chicks as they grow. Different chicks mature at different rates and this behavior is not always obvious, but it is a clue. You are naturally going to be attracted to the chicks that are bolder and show more personality, but if you are picking chicks out of a bin and want pullets, you want the healthy ones that sort of flock together in the background instead of the bold ones with personality. Your odds are better.
     
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  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I have only raised five batches of chicks to this point, but I have noticed the ones that turn out to be cockerels all had bossy personalities from the very beginning. They were the ones who minded everyone else's business, delivering pecks on the back of the head to keep all the other chicks in line. I also noticed they had sturdier, thicker legs, and as the first feathers begin to replace the down, the coloring tends to be deeper, darker.

    Ridgerunner's description of cockerel characteristics is stunningly thorough. I doubt anyone is going to be able to add anything to that.
     
  5. Bufster2

    Bufster2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 28, 2015
    MO
    Also their performance towards hens.They are highly aggressive,and try acting tough.
     

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