Young Cockerel behaviour (when does he turn into a Rooster?)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by zeocen, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. zeocen

    zeocen New Egg

    Apr 20, 2017
    Gidday all, I have three chickens, three hens and one rooster. Right now they are between 12 - 14 weeks old, and so far the young roo is a bit of a bully to the hens. He'll literally stand on food to make sure he gets his fair share (ie, all of it), will peck at the hens when they get too close to the feed, or for just no reason at all, and just essentially is a boisterous hungry bully boy.

    I am told that he will display more "rooster" traits down the line, such as being protective and sharing treats, I was just wondering if this is normal for a young roo right now? That is the hogging of food and bullying?

    Towards humans is a different personality altogether, mostly because we're the treat givers, but he'll run up to you, sit on your lap, be inquisative and very friendly towards you. He's never once shown aggression towards a human, only friendliness and delight for treats. He couldn't care less where the hens were, as long as he gets his treats!

    I'm basically just wondering if this is a normal stage in the roo's life, and that he'll grow out of it and the rooster instincts will kick in down the line.

    Also, is only three hens enough for a rooster? I don't want them overly molested or anything, we had intended for four hens but nature decided to throw a curveball!

    Thanks a lot!
  2. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  3. zeocen

    zeocen New Egg

    Apr 20, 2017
    Thank you for the information!

    With regards to why we want a rooster, the truth is we didn't - but I feel it would be irresponsible of me to send him off to an oven, I don't feel that just because he's a boy means that he deserves any less of a happy life than the hens do. We initially thought of a sanctuary for him but the ones closest to us are at maximum capacity for roosters, so we're trying to see if we can make it work here first.

    We could possibly get more hens, but I did read that a rooster would ideally be suited for at least 10 hens - I don't think we can do 10, (well, I could, my wife would have something to say about it though). I really don't want our current hens to be in any distress, so if keeping him means that they will be, I will have to look for somewhere to place him.

    With regards to him hopping on my lap, you're right I do treat him like a hen - I should try stop that behaviour, thank you. He is just so kind towards me and other non-chicken creatures, that I thought may he could grow into a calm rooster - but again, I'm seeing him as a hen rather than a rooster, I think.

    I realise I don't exactly sound like the most knowledgeable chicken owner, I also realise that I fit that description - which is why I decided to sign up here and ask while they are still young to see what my options were. It would be a true shame to see him go, he is a lovely little bird right now (which will change, I hear that now).

  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dekel's post.

    Welcome to BYC @zeocen !

    Female chickens are called pullets until one year of age, then they are called hens.
    Male chickens are called cockerels until one year of age, then they are called cocks(or cockbirds or roosters).

    This is often the hardest part about keeping chickens...where Romance meets Reality.
    Although it seems cruel to eat the boys, that's what happens to male livestock, they can have a great life then one bad moment.
    Maybe you're a vegetarian and don't eat meat at all, then you might want to rethink having chickens.
    ~50% of eggs hatched are males, and the majority of them are eaten by us or our dogs/cats on down the food chain.
    If you don't want to harvest the meat yourself, someone else might be hungry.
    When I hatch replacement layers, the males are gone by 16 weeks, either sold or slaughtered and in my freezer.
    I put an ad in local sales venue, sometimes folks need a new male, some will grow them out for a larger carcass.

    The boys are usually the prettiest and the 'sweetest'.....but at 14 weeks the ugly part of male livestock is right around the corner.
    Around 16 weeks he is going to have a testosterone surge, the pullets will be miserable and y'all may be too.
    I'd strongly suggest having a separate enclosure ready to confine him at a moments notice, unless you want your pullets to suffer.
    He may end being OK even with just 3 pullets, many breeders keep pairs, trios, quads.
    But you may have to keep him confined until the pullets reach sexual maturity at around 6 months.

    First year with chickens is the toughest, huge learning curve.
    Lots of info here on BYC.
    The advanced search is an excellent tool to find the info you need:
    advanced search>titles only>extra males

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