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Which cockerel should I keep?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chameleon, Apr 22, 2017.

  1. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have 2 New Hampshire cockerels and 1 Koekoek cockerel. The are 10 weeks old now and starting to fight eachother more aggressively. The one is almost permanently wondering around on his own because the other two keep chasing him off. I was hoping to wait until they were a little older to see how their personalities developed but I don't have space to seperate them and don't like them fighting each other. Now for my question:

    I want to keep one of the New Hampshires for breeding purposes. When I need to add to my flock or replace birds I can breed him to my Koekoek (a South African breed very similar to Barred Rocks) hens to get sexlinks and don't have to wait for them to grow out before getting rid of the roos.

    One of the NH is definitely the dominant of the three, but he's also nervous of me and pecks at me if I get too close. He is currently 'top roo' and doing a reasonably good job of protecting his flock (for a 10 week old chick), but I'm worried that as he gets older he will only get more aggressive towards us.
    He is also considerably darker than the others, so I was wondering if he was really NH or if the breeder accidently put a RIR in with the chicks I ordered.

    The other one is the lowest in the pecking order of the roos, even the Koekoek beats him and he's half his size. He is however much friendlier and more docile. He also looks more like a NH to me, although I have nothing to compare him too but the hens in the flock and pictures on the internet.
    As you can see, his tail is a little worse for wear being bullied by the other two.

    Which is the better example of a NH?
    And which one would be better in terms of personality? Will the aggressive one calm down when he matures, or become worse?
    Does the friendly one stand a better chance of being a friendly adult? I have a toddler, cat and rabbits, so I'd prefer a roo that doesn't cause trouble.
  2. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2016
    Is the friendly one also shy of you or does he come right up to you?
    I doubt that a pushy cockerel will mellow out as he matures, the opposite is usually the case feom all I read and my tiny bit of experience with my two roos.
    The one who was always right in front of me, always first to approach in the brooder, pecking at me sometimes, became the head roo and then aggressive to me. I tried for a while to reform him and then gave up and gave him away.
    The other cockerel, who really behaved like all the other hens before he matured, was shy but never looked at me funny, did not turn aggressive even in his first spring when he was a year old, he always gave me space.
    So, I suggest going for the one who is most respectful of you now. Good luck!
  3. egg0

    egg0 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2015
    Long Beach, CA
    Another thing you could try is to separate the other 2 roos for a couple of weeks. When you introduce them there will be brief fighting but the more docile one should be on top of the pecking order. This would give you a clearer idea if the friendlier one's behavior towards you would change if he's the alpha.
  4. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks. How long should I separate them? I don't have an extra coop, but I could lock the two roos in the coop while the others are out free ranging during the day.
  5. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps


    The friendly one gets lonely, so he follows me around when I'm outside, or hangs out with the rabbits when I'm not. But he is shy too, he runs up to see what I'm doing but doesn't come too close, and if I walk towards him he moves away.
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    If you can hold out until they come into their hormones around five months, you will get a much better idea of conformation and temperament. By that time, they will be starting to mate with the hens and you can observe techniques and select the one that interacts better with the girls.

    Hormones will also trigger any latent aggressive tendencies. Look for the reaction in a cockerel to step smoothly out of your way as you approach him, as opposed to belligerently standing his ground or nipping you when he's in proximity to you. At this time, I recommend a hands off policy, ignoring them as much as is possible.
  7. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks. I do ignore him, and he definitely moves out of my way for now. I don't absolutely need a rooster, so if the one I keep becomes a problem later I can get rid of him.

    I'm just worried about them hurting each other now, so I was wondering which one would be the best bet. I don't have space to keep them separated that long either.
  8. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    And how's the colouring and body type? Do they both look like NH?
  9. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2016
    Hmm, that is better than him pecking at you. If it were me I'd keep that one.
  10. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for all the advice, that's what I'm thinking too. This is just my first time with roosters so I needed to get a second opinion :D

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