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Which rooster to breed

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by EssEmCee, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. EssEmCee

    EssEmCee New Egg

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    After hatching from eggs 4 months ago, we ended up with 3 cockerels and 1 pullet. I'm planning to rehome two of the cockerels and hope to get some chicks from the remaining pair. The pullet is a barred rock. for other other three I've got 1 barred rock, 1 buff brahma and 1 blue ameraucana. Any suggestions on which would make for the best pair? How long might it take for them to mate?

    thanks for the advice!!
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Mating will probably begin within the next three months.

    As to what's the best male to keep, this all depends on what you're after in terms of results.

    Clearly if you choose a rooster of a different breed to your hen, then you're about to create crosses; do you have a list of things you want from them?

    Like, what physical traits do you like? Beak, eye, feather colors, body type, eggshell color, behavioral traits, docility, broodiness or lack thereof, dual purpose traits or strictly either meat or eggs, or just for pets... Etc.

    It may well be possible to check out others that have crossed the same breeds to see what results you're likely to get.

    Best wishes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    You are new here, and it sounds like you are just getting started, if that is not the case, please do not be offended. Lots of people come here without much experience and this is a great place to learn.

    Roosters will sexually mature earlier than pullets, this is one of the reasons that flock mates roosters often become bullies. They get bigger sooner, get the hormones sooner, and will want to mate before the pullet is ready. In an established flock of multi generations, the older birds keep the juvenile roosters in line. Without their presence, they can run amuck. A pullet will begin laying about 5 months of age, but that is an average, individual birds will vary. I have had a neighbor hatch out some pullet eggs, but the hatch rate is not real successful, and it is considered better husbandry to wait until the hen is closer to 6-7 months old before hatching her eggs.

    That answers your question. The rest of this is unsolicited advice that I would give anyone that is starting in chickens. IMHO, this will give a newbie a more satisfying flock that they can enjoy for years to come. Your current set up, has a lot of problems facing it with too many roosters, not enough hens, and all the same age.

    Personally, I think I would look around, and see if I could not get a couple more hens about the same age as your birds, which are called point of lay birds, because it will not be too much longer before your pullet should start laying, maybe a month or so. The reason I suggest getting a couple more hens, is that often times a single hen will be mated ragged by a young inexperienced randy rooster. A couple of places to check will be the country extension agent, they often know of poultry clubs, or a feed store, they often know of other people that have hens.

    As for keeping which rooster, I would pick a rooster that does not look at you, but instead moves off and keeps about 5-6 feet away from you. I would not keep a rooster that crows incessantly, that puffs up when I come near. However, these are traits that generally do not show up until the boys are a bit older. Temperament of a rooster in a backyard flock is of paramount importance, some roosters go from being a pet to being an attacking nightmare in an instant. If you look around this site, you will find several posts that tell of this. Temperament is much more important than breed in a backyard flock.

    When people ask me, I recommend only having hens for the first two years, getting some experience with chickens, then adding a rooster. A rooster will change the dynamics of the flock. However, they can be very dangerous, they have a lot of hormones and a very small brain. Inexperienced chicken keepers often do not recognize the signals that they are becoming human aggressive until the animal attacks. If you have small children under the age of 6 I don't recommend having a rooster at all, children and then smaller women are most often attacked first. The children are smaller, and will be attacked often in the face. Can be very serious, waiting a few years before adding a rooster, until the child grows up, can create a hobby that you both enjoy for years. Many people hate chickens all their lives because of a mean rooster.

    You have years to enjoy this hobby, while raising your own chicks is fun, it is often better to start a little slower.

    Mrs K
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First - I want to thank you so much for consistently offering wise counsel on BYC. I really appreciate it!

    I've had hens for 4 years now, and am now considering adding a rooster to the flock for breeding purposes. But I'm really concerned about potential aggressiveness. At what point (approx. what age) can you be sure of a rooster's temperament? I hear horror stories about "nice" roosters suddenly turning on their owners. Is this something that happens early (e.g., between 6 and 12 months of age) or could it happen at any time?
     
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Usually cockrels will show unwanted behaviors by six to nine months of age. I had one little SOB who started attacking me at seven weeks! ( He went to a better place early on.) I have had a couple of roosters that developed aggression after one year, but in general it will be sooner, as in spring. The problem is that newer flock owners don't recognize the early indications of future difficulties. The cockrel is thinking bad thoughts, showing off a bit, and his behavior is ignored. Worse yet, he isn't managed well and injures someone, especially a child or a visitor. Right now I have six roosters, all gentlemen, or they wouldn't still be here. Mary
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. EssEmCee

    EssEmCee New Egg

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    Thanks for all the guidance - and yes I am very new so it's all needed and appreciated! Update on what happened with our situation - I'd decided to keep the Ameraucana and went into the run to get the other two. After picking up the Brahma - who made quite a racket - the Ameraucana came out and attacked me, drawing a bit of blood from both me and the chicken who was in my arms and caught in the middle. After we all calmed down, I changed my plans and decided which male to keep! It was a little sadly quiet this morning now that we just have the two BRs, but I definitely feel like we made the right choice.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Song of Joy - Do you know anyone with chickens? Often times, they have a perfect gentleman, whom they really don't need, but keep putting of culling him, because he is so nice, and that would be a perfect boy for you.

    If you have a hen go broody, and you keep her in the flock, she will raise up chicks in the flock, and they will have to learn chicken manners in a chicken society. Those roosters tend to do better.

    But the big thing is, if you get one, can you get rid of it? If you don't think so, then don't. I firmly believe that no matter what you do or how you act, some roosters are just not for a backyard flock. However, having a rooster is lots of fun. I just added a new boy this morning, a changing of the guard. He was so magnificent, calling the girls for a tidbit, doing the dance for them, looking for a good nest (not where I want??) but he is going to be wonderful. He is a year old.

    A year old rooster is a pretty safe bet, but know that anything is possible.

    Mrs K
     
  8. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll seriously consider option one, as I know someone with quite a few excess roosters. Not sure about temperament, as they're less than a year old. I'm still hoping a broody hen emerges in my flock. I had a BO go broody last year and was really hoping to get a good rooster that way. She set well, but crushed hatching eggs and aggressively killed hatchlings. Won't try again with her! There's no problem with being able to dispatch poorly behaved roosters (my husband's job). [​IMG]

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  9. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Best of luck with your flock. I hope they produce lots of chicks for you!
     
  10. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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