What to look for in a good rooster


8 Years
Jan 27, 2011
Vancouver Island
We have 23 chicks, mostly straight run. The plan has been that the extra roosters will go in the freezer, but I would like to keep one or two. I keep hearing how great a good rooster is as far as protecting the flock, finding food for the hens, keeping fighting to a minimum, etc. What traits should I look for in our roosters? I'm not even positive which are roosters yet (I have a feeling we actually have mostly hens to be honest), but they range in age from 6 weeks to 17 weeks old and none seem to be really standing out to me as far as any of the above traits, but they might be too young. Is there anything we can/should look for when they're this young? Are bantam roosters too small to be a good head rooster? I have two Belgian D'Uccles and unfortunately I think they are both roosters, but they sure are feisty.
My rooster is very aggressive toward predators. he helps even the chicks to find food, when they are free ranging he runs himself ragged all over the yard to keep everyone in sight and listen for squabbles. one of the roosters that I am getting ready would pick on the older chicks and he was very mean to them, My Randy has straightened him out and keeps him in line.
I accidentally stepped on one of my chicks today and killed it, It is the first time that my rooster ever attacked me.
I would not get rid of him he stays in the run until everyone else is put away for the night. I have seen some of my chicks climb under his wing on windy days. He is very good with all of them
I have both a Banty roo and 2 full size (a RIR and a mixed). The Banty may be small, but he is fierce. He didn't like my red chicken shoes and always tried to spur them. He was afraid of my hand and if I put my hand down, he ran away. He eventually stopped trying to get my shoes. The other two roos are very friendly. They all look out for the ladies and usually eat only after the ladies have had their fill. If you want to have fertilized eggs, don't go for a banty. I don't think he is very effective with his mating (body too small) although I have hatched a few chicks that are smaller than the others.
I'm not so worried about getting chicks. There are tons and tons of breeders around locally who offer hatching eggs and chicks, so I don't have any problem getting more. It would be a nice perk though! More, I'm wondering how do I go about choosing which roosters to keep and which to sell and/or send to freezer camp.

For instance, I have three I'm pretty sure are roosters in my older group (10-17 weeks old). I've had fairly mixed reactions to whether they are or not here, but I'm just assuming they are for now (though haven't heard a crow out of any of them yet). The Wyandotte is the only one who seems to for sure be a rooster, and he's pretty useless to be honest. He tends to hang out in the middle of the flock, but doesn't hesitate to run when there's any sign of danger. He's sweet though, he likes to be carried around, so my daughter loves him. We'll likely keep him. But I want a rooster that will be a little more useful to the hens. This is assuming two roosters would get along okay of course. The other two potential roosters in that flock are both a little more fiesty, but, for instance, if my cat is wandering around, all of them will run away. None of the roosters have any inclination to even stand ground for a minute to give the hens a chance to flee. (And for the record, my cat couldn't care less about them, and even if he did he's a transplanted city cat and what he thinks of as sneaky and stalker-like is, well, not.) My Australorp is always the first to come when I bring BOSS, he doesn't come and then call the hens over, he just comes and dives right in.
The latter two chase and peck at my younger chicks a bit the few times I've let them all together (supervised), not too bad but they don't stop any fights either. The EE cockerel got mean towards people for a while right around 7 weeks, but is fine again now. Are they just still too young or did I get a bunch of useless roosters?
In this older group, I have a hen (a Brahma) who is fairly "motherly" towards the other big ones. She waits out in the run until everyone else is inside, even waiting and calling when one of the others got lost and couldn't find the door to the run, long after everyone else had gone in. But she's the meanest towards the smaller chicks (to the point I'm wondering if she'll need to be isolated for a few days once we finally integrate them full time) and she is most definitely a hen, not a rooster. I was actually hoping one of my Lavender Orpingtons would end up being a rooster, but they are 17 weeks old now and not a crow to be heard, so I'm sort of doubting it.

In my younger flock (6-8 weeks) I have the following who I am pretty sure are probably roosters: two Belgian D'Uccles, an Ameraucana, an RIR, maybe a Welsummer... I doubt I'll consider keeping the RIR as I've heard they are often agressive towards people. The Ameraucana does stand up against the big ones and I've seen one of the d'Uccles chase one of the bigger ones away from another of the little ones. But again, none of them stand back and watch the hens eat or seem particularly inclined to stand up against any perceived threats in front of the hens. I'm keeping my eye on the Ameraucana and the d'Uccles, as they do seem a bit braver than the rest, but I really don't know what to look for at this age. I've also read that their personalities can change dramatically around 6 months, so maybe they're just too young and I should keep the ones I like best and hope for the best.
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I have had up to 6 roos in my flock of 50-60 hens. This was WAY too many, but they kept hatching and I haven't been able to bring myself to killing them yet for my freezer. The number of roos didn't seem to have any effect on each other. There was the Alpha male, and all the other ones pretty much bowed to him. If he saw one of the underlings mounting a hen he wanted, he went after that other roo. However, it was the hens who suffered. All the mating was causing them to go bald and loose their tail feathers. Sold extra roos to others who didn't mind butchering them. :)
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