When to Get My Roo?


7 Years
Mar 28, 2012
So I have 16 pullets (supposedly, lol, I bought them as pullets from my local feed store - they order from one of the hatcheries so they're probably pretty accurate) and I'll need a roo.

My plan was to get a grown roo from craigslist, one that has a good temperament and needs a home (rather than raising up a baby and hoping that he's nice).

My pullets are just 2 weeks and 1 week old, but I'm planning ahead :)

I plan to move them out to the coop (with heat, of course!) in the next week or so, to finish brooding them there while we work on their run.

When is the right time to get a rooster? When the hens are grown and laying? When is it too soon to get one?

My main reason for wanting a roo as soon as possible is as a hawk/eagle lookout. I plan to make them a huge run from electric poultry netting (approx 20' wide x 120' long, to approximate free ranging but with some predator protection via electric netting, and they can truly free range when we're home), with lots of hiding places, but they'll be uncovered so a rooster would be very helpful.

My roosters have been very good about taking care of babies, so you could try it now and let him start protecting them. I've never added a rooster to a flock of chicks, though, so you'd just have to watch a lot at first. I know folks here have talked about roosters attacking chicks but mine have always been the opposite, they love the chicks and are very protective, and love having someone else to call for treats!
A good roo will protect babies, but young ones generally will attack them even if they're good roos once they're over a year old. Personally I'd wait until your girls are laying or about to lay. Pullets are pretty good about watching for hawks and predators even without a rooster around so while they're good protection, it's not like the hens will just stand there and get attacked w/out one.
Why don't you get one the chicks age so they can grow up with them? That way the pecking order will already be established and they will be bonded with each other. Just my thoughts... :)
Be patient. You may have a rooster already and not know it. The hatcheries only guarantee a 90% accuracy on sexing. With sixteen birds you have a good chance that one of them is a male.

If none of them turn out to be boys I'd look for a cock bird when the pullets are about four months and approaching breeding age.
My experience, however limited, has been that when a cock bird grows up with older hens around, it has a really rough time convincing the older girls that it's to be respected. Even at a year old it might still be trying to woo the older girls. But if you bring one in that has been raised elsewhere, even if it's only 8 months old, it gets respect pretty quickly.

If, however, they are all the same age and raised together, then he's fine. It's only the little ones raised around older hens that have a hard time.

But a younger one is bad news for baby chicks. Some might be good with them from the get go but most are hell on chicks till after a year to 18 months old, then they get their "real" personality and the keepers protect the babies.
Thanks everyone!

I think we may have a roo in the bunch after all :)

Of the 3 salmon faverolles we got, two have lightly colored beige and gray wings, and one has feathered out with very dark, black and dark brown wings. Plus, this chick is now going around chest bumping everyone and being very aggressive and bossy! And its tail feathers are growing out much slower than the other 2.

From my reading it looks like dark Salmon Favs will be roos, and light colored ones pullets?

If that's the case, problem solved!
Mine have free ranged nearly every day. For years I ran a flock without a rooster, and periodically would love a hen, say every 4-8 weeks. I hatched out a clutch of eggs, and picked one of the roosters to keep. I continued to loose an occasional hen to daytime predation, until my rooster reached 14 months of age. Since then I have not lost a single hen.

So for hawk or daytime predation prevention, you need a fully mature rooster, not just a sexually mature rooster.

So while it is fine to raise your own, you really cannot depend on them right away.

And they do look pretty.

Right now we're letting the babies range for a few hours a day under supervision, until my electric netting from Premier arrives (hopefully this week). After that, they'll be allowed to range all day within the fenced area when we're not home. If we have trouble with hawks or eagles, we'll have to revise our plan, but for now I hope that this will give them sufficient day time protection (the run will be long and narrow with lots of cover, so it will take a bit of effort for a hawk or eagle to get in there.) We're also going to put our dogs on an invisible fence (summer project) so they'll be able to be near the chickens, though the chickens will still be behind the electric netting because we're not sure if our dogs are trustworthy or not. If they prove to be reliable, we may eventually remove the netting and put it to use in another part of our yard when we're ready to raise meat chickens :)

Lots of trial and error, but we're lucky to have the space and many options to test out.

As for the rooster, since it looks like we already have at least one, we'll keep him and see how he grows up. Hopefully not too mean!

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