OK so I have not had poultry in many many years and then i was a young fellow. This nice looking Buff Chanticler is one of 27 I received from Sandhill Preservation. All are doing very well, but this one is my favorite and comes out to see me (so if he is a rooster he will be the one to live past the next five weeks).
OK so, am I correct in assuming at least that if it crows it is a male?
(in this day and age anything is possible..snort...)
Also, is there any reason NOT to cull all but one of the roosters? Should I keep another one around for "insurance"?
I thought that I would choose the nicest, largest rooster with the best feathers and disposition (like the fellow above) to have in order to breed some chicks for the spring. Is there a criteria that i should consider before making a choice that I have not listed?
Oldseed, that looks like a hen to me, but I'm no expert. Crowing is certainly a sure sign to the contrary, though. Choosing the nicest rooster is the best way to go, but I should add that my friendliest rooster became very violent later.
Oldseed, I would say that if your Chanticleer is crowing it is a rooster, but I agree with Zeppy, it looks like a hen from this particular photo!
I would also reccomend at least 1 rooster per 10 Hens. I would certainly keep the healthiest and the best feathered, personality can get iffy at this stage! If your Roo shows definite traits of protective attitude towards the hens thats a good thing! You want a good breeder and a good protective Papa!
Well, I don't know that this particular bird was crowing, just that I have two that are trying out their voices...one with a clear bell tone, the other better learn to beak-synch. There is still a wide variety of tail shapes, it is very confusing.
I have about 80 chickens. For a long time we didn't have a rooster, yet every morning I would hear a hen crow. I guess since there wasn't a rooster around then one of the hens felt it her duty to greet the dawn by crowing. After we got a few roosters the hen crowing stopped. It is possible for a hen to crow, just rare.
About keeping more than one rooster: If you have them in a small pen then the roosters will fight. If they are open range they will stake out their own territory (and their harem of hens). So I guess the number of roosters you keep depends on how much room they have to run in.
hello oldseed, I have to weigh in on the "I think it's a hen" side. I have Buff Orpingtons, and right now have 2 hens and 22 of their offspring about 12 weeks old. I had two roosters - one regular size rooster I called Ollie and one very large, stunningly beautiful rooster we called the King of the coop. The King fathered all those chicks, and they are all gorgeous, large birds which is what we wanted. Ollie was very friendly and he loved to follow me around the yard while I fed the other animals. The roosters roamed the yard outside the coop, (along with 6 guineas) and the hens and chicks stay in their coop. The King was big and strong and a bit offish, so when Ollie disappeared a couple weeks ago I figured that the King didn't like competition and did him in. Wednesday night something got the King, and all that was left in the morning was a trail of pretty gold feathers. I suspect it is a coyote or a bobcat, because I have been setting a trap and the monster is apparently bigger than my trap. Anyway, now I have to find another quality rooster. I would keep at least two if you can let them roam.
Awwwhh,Man!! Hmstyl, I am soooo sorry! That just hurts my heart!! I lost my Big Barred Rock Roo the same way!! Neighbor dogs did it though,Problem taken care of,But it didnt bring back my bestest biggest friendliest Roo we ever had!!!
Sympathy and Roses to you Hon!
Sorry for your loss. That is awful. It is stories like that that have me wondering about free-ranging my flock. I have a fence around the back and if I let the chickens roam they will be fine EXCEPT for a predator who is not impressed with a measly five foot fence.
On the other side of the fence is the big bad woods where chicken-eating critters live.
Have you had any trouble with bears up there! I hear Atlanta is overrun with them right now! They cant seem to keep them in the mountains right now ! The poor 'ole critters are looking for somewhere to be but are being surrounded with "Civilization"!
I dont think a bear got your Roo though!
A good guard dog can make a huge difference to a free-ranging flock. Something like the kuvazok or pulik or even a reliable shepherd will stay with the birds and act as a deterrent (even hawks will be less likely to attack w/ a dog around). Shutting them in at night is also important. My orpingtons tend to forage much later than the other girls. They're always the last ones in. If we were in a varmint-ridden area, this tendency would really put them at risk.
Thanks, all, for your kindness. Friday evening I was hell bent to find the monster killing my birds. My DH and I waited until dark, dressed in dark clothes we hid in the shadows and waited. Sure enough, it came back. It was a big old bobcat. DH took at shot at it but only nicked it and it ran off. Saturday we cleared out some brush behind the coop where it was hiding, so we are hoping it will go find another feeding place.
Are there any that have a bigger comb? By 8 wks I would think that if there is any roosters they would start having a bigger comb. Some hens have bigger combs than others, but they don't get as big as rooster's. From your picture I would think it was a hen also.
They are a bit more complicated to deal with, but it is worth every effort. My 27 chicks (I ordered and paid for 25 and received 27) are in absolutely the best of health and all 27 are still thriving and healthy. If you want to see them for yourself let me know andf you can just drive the 20 minutes south and see them for yourself!
If you want some roosters you can have them for free (as long as the ARE roosters!!)
Well, this breed just has a small pillow comb and very little by way of wattles (to prevent cold damage). So just from the conformation, it may be hard to tell for a while. In a couple of more weeks I should be sure.
So I have been watching them carefully (they are SO spoiled) and think that the ones with slightly larger tail feathers and redder combs and little watles must be males. Two of those crow. Several fight all the time even though they have 1/4 acre for 27 chickens, with a playground of tall weeds, downed branches (for their amusement) and a large strawberry patch to clean up.
I can't have any roosters, as I'm in village limits. My neighbors have agreed to my only hen rule! I have a lady willing to take any roosters that Cackle hatchery may accidently send me. Did you start with the 120 watt brooder bulb? I have a box for a brooder and since it has been hot here, I thought maybe a 100 watt bulb would work. What do you think? Thanks!
Also, does anyone know how much room penned ducks need?
Well Dingy, too bad on the rooster. I am a few yards from the village line, and am inside the village of Dexter, NY. I have read the zoning ordnance carefully and see no reference to poultry. I can't run a stable or a kennel but that's the only reference to animals. Your zoning must look very different. No complaints yet.
I did begin with the 120 brooder bulb and it worked out very well. With the summer heat a 100 watt might do but I am not a very knowledgeable person on poultry so should not be giving advice. I plan to use the brooder bulb again this winter and hang it over their water supply to keep it unfrozen. I will probably burn it continuously all winter just to warm up their hen house a bit.
I can now tell at least some of the roosters as their wattles and combs are more prominant and they are displaying for the hens. I have one rooster who sits on the top of the hen house door after all the others have gone to roost for the night. I talk to him and pet him for a few minutes (he really seems to enjoy this process and croons as I pet him) and then pick him up and put him inside and close their door.
Every night we go through the same routine with the same rooster.
Yes, I do wish we could have roosters because I really wanted to order some Lakenvelders. We put several outlets in our chicken coop. I'm planning on getting one of those water heaters that keep it from freezing as well as having 2 infrared brooder bulbs on. I tried out the 100 watt bulb today in my brooding box and it got up to like 92, after it was on most of day. I think that should be good. I'll judge when the chicks get here about how they act. Are you right by the river? It was HOT here today. I wish our usual summers would come back LOL
Here is a photo taken yesterday. It is still hard to tell most of the roosters from the hens. A few have developed wattles and a more prominent comb but some still look like the hens but crow in the morning.
What should be the criteria for choosing which rooster to save for my flock? Size? Personality? Overall looks? I am partial to one rooster who seems smaller than many but interacts with me the best. Each night he patiently works his way past larger roosters to get a position on the top of the chicken house door. At 9PM the rest all file in except him. Then I go down and have a little talk with the bird and pet its feathers. It seems to very much like this little ceremony, and does not flinch. Then I have to pick him up and put him in the house and lock their door for the night. Seems like I might want to save that one, however he does not have as good a confirmation as some of the others.
Only you can be the judge of which rooster to keep. I would keep the one with the nicest personality. Breeders look for other qualities, but then, they may have different priorities for the chicken offspring.
The little favorite might be a late bloomer, but it doesn''t mean he won't be a good rooster. Sounds like my Screebert. I didn''t know for the longest time if he was male or female, but Screebert was my #1 pet chicken, so he was one of the 2 of 7 roosters I kept.
(The other one I kept because he was gorgeous, but he was extremely mean.)
Screebert is everything a rooster should be, and smart and nice, too.
I'd be careful before you judge overall temperment. I couldn't believe it when my sweet little girl turned out to be a boy. S/he would sit in my lap, jump up on my shoulder, etc. then, over the winter, hormones kicked in and he was totally evil after that! Impossible! So I'd keep a couple and wait a few months to judge. Your little guy seems really sweet! I hope it lasts!
Hi Antrim, NH, my family originally comes from Jaffrey, NH. lovely country.
Good advice all! I will do just that. There is a large well-shaped rooster I also like very much who has taken to joining buddy rooster on the door each evening, always in exactly the same spot. Tonight I forgot to 'put them to bed' until 10PM and when i went out they were there still waiting. Funny animals.
Well, that was my theory Zeppy, that the ones outside were guarding the flock. There is another one that always sleeps in the window where she can look out and see what is going on in the yard. I cannot tell you how much I am learning about these birds.
First read the breed standard
There is a standard of perfection and each registred breed and variety is listed
You may be able to google for your breeds standard
You don't want to keep breeding a cock bird(or hen) that has a bunch of disqualifications
Even if you are not showing,keeping the breed pure and free from faults should be a goal-especially with RARE breeds
which Sandhill carrys alot of
KEEP 2 Cock birds
Especially with a rare breed
If you have quite a few hens keep 3 cock birds
Then split them into families
one family gets ...say blue leg bands
family 2 gets reds
Then you try to only breed the blues with the blues and reds with the reds for a year or 2,band the offspring with a different color
This will cut down on inbreeding and you can then cross the two families ...so you will only be breeding distant cousins with each other
If you find someone with a spare cockbird of the same variety you have see if they'll trade to get different blood in there
I've delt with some really old bloodlines that have been inbreed for ...20 or 30 years(One for 100 years)
Low egg laying
a lot of infertile eggs
and diminished size of the birds
also the health become poor
They may look great but are more suseptible to disease
You can smack them, or give them a firm shake, or whatever, but even if they respect you, they will attack almost any other person who enters their area, especially *smaller* persons. That's if it's a really violent rooster. Some are good with kids. I really think it's individual temperament.
My brood is down by quite a few males, who...shall we say...are in cockerel heaven.
The rest are doing just great and am waiting for the first egg as they are now due. I go out there every evening and tell the ladies to focus on their task...and I tell the only rooster, Beauregard, that it is job to keep the ladies happy and motivated (and I remind him how lucky he is!). Beauregard is a very sweet rooster and likes to be picked up and fed granola bars. With 14 hens he needs his moxie I suppose.
They are a spoiled bunch for sure. I never realized what personalities these birdies have. And funny? Just watching them for a while beats most TV programs.
Now if they would only do the "egg thing" my motivation to continue spoiling them would be justified.
So the chicken in the photo is a rooster, then. I like the late-blooming roosters. I have one I call Screamer (the barred rock in the photo). We're still not sure if it's a boy or a girl, and Screamer doesn't seem to know, either.
Yes - its a really terrible crow. I still have my little bantum rooster. They've been staying in
different stalls at night - and I only hear her crow in the morning before I let them out. Maybe
I should put her with the rooster?
Well, my neighbors are probably happy that I am down to just one crowing bird. Anything that had the energy or desire to crow became stewpotted. The only one that survived was my most 'roostery' looking bird who at least was visibly male. I don't get how some cockerels all from the same batch of chicks could look so different as far as development. The only reason that Beauregard survived was because he took it upon himself to guard the henhouse and in every way acted the part a rooster ought to play. And for a rooster, he is a pretty sweet bird at the same time. If any hens were crowing, that was probably a bad career choice...oops.
LOL My little rooster is the whimpiest thing you'd ever want to see. He is very afraid of
everything & would never "stand guard" at the hen house. But he performs an important
service and never bothers anyone. (I've heard friends whose roosters attacked people.)