Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lablover, May 30, 2012.
What are some guidelines to go by when deciding on which roo to keep to manage 4 hens?
Well, if I were to pick a rooster, I would probably pick either a Buff Orpington, or a Buckeye. They seem to be good, gentle breeds in my opinion and personal experience.
One thing to consider is, if you like your hens to be beautiful, that a rooster may ruffle up their feathers, making them look less attractive. It happens during mating.
Roosters can be valuable though, in protecting the flock. Every rooster is different. Some are agressive, some very calm. They do start out clumsy at first....but then they gain experience and become more gentle with age, usually.
So really, pick a gentle breed, and that's the best way to start if you want a rooster.
Does the color of Orpington matter?
Temperment is THE most important factor here. First, he has to understand humans are boss. All humans, all the time. Sharp learning curve here.
How he treats the hens is next. This is hard to eval during puberty, they're just horndogs. But a roo that calls the girls for food or treats, breaks up fights, escorts them into the roost, snuggles with them at night and drops a wing in courtship is a keeper.
Then you get into breeds, looks, etc. I won't keep the prettiest roo in the world if he's mean to me or the hens. That's far down my list of criteria.
Four hens isn't much for one roo, you might need extra hens or a place to seperate the roo if the hens start showing wear and tear and need a break from the lovin'. You'll have to be vigilant for signs of overmating--bald backs, screaming or running from the roo, etc.
Or invest in saddles for your hens.
Well, I have 9 chicks around 8 weeks old. 4 are pullets and 5 are roos so I only plan on keeping 1 roo. Only two are being considered, so I'll only describe them.
One is a production red mix and has been my favorite from the start. Always wanting to be held and willing to sit on your arm for as long as you'll let him. He is starting to peck me a little now, but he just seems to be curious. He comes when I call, well actually both of them do. They're always in the lead. At feeding time, he's right at my feet and walks with me and then eats while I'm filling the feeder. He even lays in my lap and eats out of the cup. I have seen him with the girls more so than any other roo. However, he's smaller than the other roos, but seems to always have something to settle with the other roo. He seems to discipline (I guess that's what he's doing) the hens and the roos that are lower in the pecking order by rushing up to them when they come charging back to the flock. He stands up tall and gives a good peck to make the other chick (hen or roo) duck down and go on about their business. Being so young, I'm not sure if he knows to find food for the hens. When something scares the flock, he's not exactly the first one running to safety, unless the rest of the flock has already left. He tilts his head up and listens most of the time. Not sure if he actually signals danger though.
The other is an EE and has always been the biggest... and prettiest. He was one of the last chicks to roost on my arm, and prefers not to be touched, unless he's sitting on you, and then he likes to be petted. He never pecks, but does look you square in the eye. He is one of the last ones to come up for treats while the other will pick a mealworm right out of your fingers. As mentioned above, he always has a staring contest with the production red roo. Even when the other walks away, he still gets in his face and continues the stare off. He's not so big on disciplining the others. He just has the staring contest with the red roo. Again, not sure if he knows yet to find food for the hens. I do see him running back to the coop first more often than not. I do think that I've heard him signal potential danger though.
I'm really torn!
I vote for the first one, more loving is good, they still will defend to the end.! but you will enjoy the loving one more.
i don't have experience w/roos yet, but i have read several accounts of ee being pretty tough characters. i don't know if that is breed specific or not. i would be more interested that he wasn't a problem to people then i would want him to be good to the girls. good luck with your choice. hope you're happy with him.
I'm going to be faced with the same problem in a few months, I have to choose one of four buff Orpington roos to keep with seven hens and two banties (one roo one Hen). I really like all the suggestions here, and while I'm no expert I'd just like to add that your personal situation will change your priorities. If you have few hens and a small suburban coop, dont free range, and have children, a nice and docile roster might be the best choice. For me, though, with no kids and a big dog, tons of semi feral cats in the area, large wooded areas and the wildlife that goes with it, things like watchfullness, aloofness, size, and even aggression are straight up dis-qualifiers. Then again, I have to consider the banty roo... so in the end, whoever cant learn to leave him alone will go to the pot.
so hard to give advice, but the friendly one, I would NOT keep. Roosters need to think you are the boss. In the chicken world, the toughest one is the boss, the rooster needs to be a bit afraid of you, moving out of your space.
Many, many posts are on here, reporting how the most beloved pet becomes the monster. With dogs and cats, if you pet them as kittens and puppies, they become friendly, and stay that way into adulthood. But not so with chickens (for the most part) A rooster that is not leery of you, begins to think that because you are nice, you are submissive. They often will attack to prove their point.
They need to be a little bit intimidated by all humans, imho.