My Favorite Rooster Breeds.

When acquiring a backyard chicken flock, most people opt for a flock of ladies. But for those who want a rooster or two, but are apprehensive as to which breads are best, this post is for you.

My flock total clocks in at around 50-60 birds (according to chicken math), 30-40 or so hens, and 13 roosters. Half of the gents’ free range with the girls, the rest reside in a bachelor pen. A bachelor pen is a coop/pen assigned to house just roosters. There are no hens in a bachelor pen. Contrary to the prevailing opinion, roosters can and do cohabitate well together. However, there are some tricks to successfully house roosters together. To see how I use and manage a bachelor pen, click here.

The “coop-hood”.

I have three large coops that house my girls,and within each of these dwellings, I have two roosters. These gents care for and protect the ladies while they are free ranging. That means, on any given day, I have 6 roosters in the yard with the ladies.

The roosters of yesteryear, which star in our nightmares, were often played by the game cock, according to today’s breeding standards. The rooster we met on our grandparents’ farm was very aggressive and for good reason. Our grandparents kept chicken to supply the family with eggs and meat, a defensive rooster was needed. However, many things have changed since our grandparent’s day.

Deaky, Fi, and Freddie (Laced Polish Hens) perching on a hammock swing under the grape arbor.

The backyard chicken hobby has exploded, with chickens replacing the family dog in terms of popularity. Backyard chickens are quickly becoming the go-to for a backyard homestead. In the wake of COVID-19, everyone wants more control over their food supply. Backyard chickens have never been more popular than they are right now. Correspondingly, the breeding industry has responded. Hatcheries and breeders are selective breeding for behavioral/temperament traits such as calm, friendly, docile, and low-key. Most breeds today meet the needs of the backyard chicken hobby keeper. Gone is the bloodthirsty aggressive rooster that roamed our grandparent’s farm, meet the roosters of today.

Using my 13 roosters, I will provide a breed profile overview. I will highlight behavioral and temperment traits associated with common breeds developed for the backyard chicken keeper.

Buff Orpington:

The first breed that I will present for consideration, is the Buff Orpington. Orpingtons as a breed are known as the “Golden Retrievers” of the chicken world. Their demeanor is calm, friendly, and low-key. They are big balls of feathers, looking bigger than they are. My very first rooster was a Buff Orpington named Roy. Roy exhibited many of these behavioral traits; he was a gentle giant. In my presence, he was very calm and relaxed. He would beg me for treats that he could give to his ladies. He was in one word a gentleman. He was never aggressive towards me and took excellent care of the ladies.

Roy (Buff Orpington Rooster)

One day I witnessed his heroic efforts to save my girls from a hawk. Prepared to lay down his life, he sounded the alarm. The ladies ran for cover, while he battled the hawk. Although injured, with love and care, he made a full recovery. I learned the true value of a rooster from this experience. After that event, Roy lived on for several more years as a decorated war hero. He sadly passed away 5 years ago. I never thought I would miss a rooster so much; he was my rooster teacher. He taught me a lot about chickens and the sacrificial nature of a rooster. Ever since Roy, I have fallen in love with roosters. Today, they are one of my favorite creatures, worthy of respect and admiration.

Cochin:

The next gent to introduce you to is Enigma. Enigma is a Mottled Cochin Bantam. Like the Orpingtons, Cochins are also big balls of feathers. The cochin is a very docile and friendly breed. The girls make excellent mothers, and the gents make excellent roosters. No bigger than he is, Enigma has established himself as the alpha rooster of the chicken yard, all the other guys answer to him. He is a very sweet rooster and takes very good care of his girls. He is calm around humans and will even allow me to pick him up for his health inspections without much issue. He too will beg me for treats that he can offer to his girls. He allows the girls to eat first, then if there is anything left, he will partake. When free-ranging, he will often follow me hoping that I can give him a morsel to take to his favorite lady. Out of all my boys, Enigma is my favorite.

Polish:

These next guys with the fabulous 80s hair are Polishes. Polishes are my favorite breed, I have more of them than any other breed on my farm. The Polishes are known as the “comedians” of the chicken world. As a breed, they are very curious but high-strung. Due to their fabulous crests, their vision is limited thus everything spooks them. Simple even mundane objects in their environment will startle them. Due to their limited vision, they cannot see what is above them. For this reason, a keeper needs to ensure that they have a covered run. If free-ranging, provide them with ample coverage as protection from aerial predators.

I only allow my polish flocks out when I am in the backyard or have multiple roosters on duty. Polish gents make great roosters for a keeper who does not mind their antics. They are very easy to pick up and hold, due to their limited vision. They are a bit high-strung making them an entertaining breed to own.

All my polish roosters are very sweet, however, curious. Due to the feathered crests, they are a bit jumpy. I talk to them before I pick them up to not give them a jolt. Characteristically, they do not make the best roosters for protection. I have ample coverage in my backyard as a hedge of protection for my polish boys.

Silver Lace Polish Flock. Fi, Agatha, and Link. (Link is our Silver Lace Polish rooster).

They are very curious, often following their curiosities into predicaments, then not able to see well enough to get themselves out. They are an endless form of entertainment in the backyard. The roosters are a bit high-strung, panicky, and flighty, yet very sweet. I have several Polish roosters, all are very friendly, approachable, and curious. The ladies will often perch on my legs or arms, making them great lap chickens.

Silkie:

Silkies are known as the “Teddy Bears” of the chicken world. Due to their feathers that are “fur-like”, they are the cuddle bunnies of the flock. Silkies as a breed are known the world over for being very docile, friendly, and calm. They have voted time and time again as the best breed to have around kids.

I currently have a flock of 14 Silkies, 4 are roosters. Two roosters are in the coop with the ladies, the rest are in a bachelor pen. My Silkie gents are well-behaved, shy, and timid. The ladies are very friendly and enjoy interactions with their caretakers. I have no trouble with my Silkie roosters. Like the Polish, it’s best to keep Silkies in the protection of a covered coop and pen unless you are outside with them. Due to their overwhelmingly shy nature, they would rather run from a predator than protect the ladies like most roosters. When I hold my silkie roosters, they are very docile and calm in my arms. They would rather hide under a rock but are very easygoing if I need to handle them.

Easter Eggers:

Next, Dracula and Frankenstein. These two guys are Easter Eggers and although not known as an exceptionally docile breed, these two boys are well-behaved. They are very curious and want in on whatever I am doing. Due to their breed, they are a bit larger than my other roosters. Despite their size, they are very calm and friendly. They do not like to be held, so I only pick them up when needed.

Silver Lace Wyandotte:

Smoug (Silver Lace Wyandotte Rooster)

My final breed to highlight is Silver Lace Wyandottes. Wyandottes are a large breed, and Smaug is the largest member of my flock. He easily towers over the other roosters in my flock. At 12 pounds, he is a big boy. Despite his size, he is very calm, friendly, and easygoing. He is best described as the gentle giant of my flock. Due to his very relaxed nature, he is at the bottom of the rooster pecking order. I can easily pick him up and hold him when needed for health inspections. He prefers not to be held but will tolerate check-ups when needed.

While there are many more breeds available, the breeds listed I keep and can expound on associated temperament and disposition. Most roosters bred today for the backyard keeper are well-behaved. Don’t get me wrong, a rooster has a job to do, and he takes it seriously, but most are calm and friendly. I currently have 13 roosters; all are very well-behaved gents. They take good care of the ladies and are not aggressive to humans by any means. They are often my welcoming committee when I enter the backyard, curious about what treats I may have brought them.

I hope that this post has been helpful for those thinking about acquiring roosters for their flock. It is very possible to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to keeping roosters. Selecting gents from breeds that are well-known for being calm and docile is an excellent place to start. If you have any questions, please feel to leave a comment. You can also drop me a line at kuntryklucker@gmail.com

I am a published author, multi-disciplinary writer, and blog contributor. If you like my work, please visit some of my other sites.

Knowledge of the Spheres – Exploring the Celestial Spheres!

Coffee and Coelophysis – A blog about Dinosaurs

Chicken Math University – Adventures in Homeschooling

If you like this blog, please peck the subscribe button. As always, thanks for reading. Till next time keep on crowing!

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

5 Reasons to Keep A Rooster In Your Flock.

Enigma (Mottled Cochin Rooster watching over the girls as they dig for delectables in the freshly spread hay.

Roosters are amazing creatures. However, they unfortunately fall prey to a negative stereotype. In reality, roosters are not as aggressive as many think. The rooster of yesteryear that haunted our dreams often encountered on our grandparents’ farm, was related to game cocks by todays breeding standards. Yes, those breeds can be high strung and aggressive. However, due to the variety of breeds available, the majority of rooster today are very docile and calm. Gone are the days of your grandparent’s flock which contained the rooster that starred in your childhood nightmares. Many people today keep chickens for fun, eggs or as a hobby. Thus, the breeds available today are suited to these purposes. That being said, below I will detail my argument for why keeping a rooster or two is an asset for a backyard flock.

Enigma (Mottled Cochin Rooster) and The Kuntry Klucker Crew
  1. Protector of the Flock:

Roosters are often unfairly stigmatized as being fearsome, blood thirsty, mean and nasty aggressive birds. While they do have a job to do and take it very seriously, they really are amazing and gentile creatures. When out free ranging, a rooster will keep watch for any dangers that could impact the flock and sound the alarm when needed. If there is more than one rooster in the flock, they will take turns keeping an eye to the sky. Each taking up part of the watch, as the rest of the flock scour the grass for any available bugs, worms, or greens to dine on. If a threat appears, one or several of the roosters will sound the alarm. Alerting the hens to the impending danger, and if needed sacrificing himself for the safety of his girls. I have witnessed this firsthand with my first rooster, a Buff Orpington named Roy.

One afternoon while out in the backyard he sounded the alarm. I heard his cry from the house, rushed out to the backyard in time to see a large hawk fly away. Standing alone in the center of the yard, he was prepared to sacrifice himself for the safety of the girls. All the girls were safe under a large tree, Roy on the other hand was injured. Had I not heard his cry and come to his rescue, it pains me to think what would have happened to him. Luckily, he recovered from the hawk inflicted injuries and lived for several more years as a decorated war hero. It was on this day that I learned the true value of a rooster. You can read his story here.

2. Tend to nutritional needs of the hens:

Silkie Roosters: Devros and Micky Smith, watching over their hens as they eat the bugs that they found for the girls.

In addition to protectors of the flock, a rooster will hunt for his girls. He will actively look for food, things such as a big bug, juicy worm, or vegetation for them to eat. Once he finds something of value, he will call the girls over to eat it. He will stand watch as the girls partake of his hard work. He will only eat what is left, he is self-sacrificing, looking out for the nutrition of his hens. It is by evolutionary design that he knows the girls need the extra nutrition for the procreation of the flock (laying eggs). If not much turns up on his hunt, he will lead the girls to the feeder in the coop when he feels that it is time for them to eat. Again, he will eat after the girls have had their fill, looking out for their needs first.

3. Breaking up any squabbles in the ranks:

White Crested Polish Rooster, Lestat leading his girls to the backyard shed for some scratch before roosting time.

Chickens are very highly socially organized creatures, contrary to what many people think. A flock of chickens are organized into a hierarchy, each member knowing his or her place. The term “pecking order” is derived from this complex social system and for good reason. At the top of the pecking order is typically the alpha rooster, under him will be the subjugated roosters in the flock. The roosters determine who is the alpha by competing for this position.

In the social hierarchy after the roosters will be the alpha hen. This is the hen that has earned her right to be at the top of the order, directly under the roosters. The alpha hen is usually a little bossy in regard to the other hens in the flock. As for the rest of the members, position is established by literally “pecking” one another on the back, indicating the “pecker” is above the “peckie”. This behavior flows from the alpha hen all the way to the bottom of the order. Each flock member pecking another on the back, indicating their position in the order.

Once the order is established, all activities within the flock revolve around the order. Simple activities such as the order in which the flock exits the coop in the morning, and the order in which they return. As long as all individuals stick to the order as established, all is peaceful in the flock. However, at times one or more members will challenge another member for a change in status.

In cases such as these, a confrontation generally ensues. It is in times such as these that a rooster will step in, inspect and cease any unrest amongst the hens. Not only are fights disruptive to flock dynamics, at times injuries can be sustained. It is the job of the rooster to see to it that peace is instilled within the ranks. A rooster will also act as a protector of any members that are unfairly picked on. If there is a hen that is smaller than the rest or at the bottom of the pecking order, he will see to it that she is not picked on insensately.

4. Procreation of the flock:

White Crested Polish Bantam Roosters: Caster and Pollux leading their girls to a shade tree in the corner of the yard for a mid afternoon nap.

In addition to protection, finding food, and keeping order in the ranks, a rooster will service the flock through the act of mating. A rooster will mate with the hens in order to pass on his genes to the subsequent generations of chicks.

There is a common misconception that hens will not lay eggs unless a rooster is present in the flock, this is obviously false. A hen will lay eggs regardless of whether a rooster is present or not. The eggs laid in the absence of a rooster will of course not be fertile, but there will be eggs, nonetheless.

If you want to grow your flock, a rooster is a must. However, if you cannot have a rooster due to city ordinances or other zoning restrictions, you will still receive farm fresh eggs from your hens without any issues.

Dracula and Frankenstien (Easter Egger Roosters) keeping an eye on their girls as they search for bugs in the dewy grass.

If there is more than one rooster in the flock, the boys will divide the hens amongst them. When free ranging they will then divide the roaming area into jurisdictions. Each rooster will know the boundary lines and which hens belong on which rooster team. It is possible to keep more than one rooster in a flock, providing the flock is large enough to sustain multiple roosters. To learn how I keep more that I rooster in my flock click here.

Roosters will have “favorite” hens, these are hens that he prefers to mate with the most. Different attributes make a particular hen a favorite. Hens that are easily submissive to his approaches, hens that the rooster deems as most fertile, or hens that are larger and lay larger eggs will most likely make the favorites list. These hens run the risk of sustaining the most injuries during mating. For these reasons, it is the owner’s responsibility to provide provisions to make this process easier on the hens. For example, an easy protective measure to incorporate in a flock is that of a hen saddle.

Miss Sweet Pea (Buff Orpington Hen) wearing a hens saddle to protect her wing and back feathers from the trending of the rooster. In addition to providing needed protection, hen saddles can serve as easy identification of the hens in a flock. Each has its own pattern or color, allowing hens to stand out amongst each other.
The Kuntry Klucker Crew sporting the latest in Hen Fashions.

Hen Saddles provide protection from the trending of the rooster during mating. In addition to keeping your roosters’ nails trimmed, hen saddles help protect the wing and back feathers of hens that are mated often. They are very easy to make and require nothing more than thick fabric, a little elastic and basic sewing skills (needle and thread) a sewing machine is not required. Although simple in design, they provide much needed protection to your hens. In addition to the practicality, they can also serve as an easy form of identification. If you use different colors of fabric, hen saddles allow hens to stand out amongst each other.

Another method to protect against over mating is to separate a rooster from the hens for a period of time. During the molting period and particularly when the ladies are having a dreadfully tough molt, I will separate the roosters from the flock for a period of time. This allows the hens who are missing more feathers than usual to recover from the molt easier. By restricting the mating process till after their new feathers have grown in reduces further injury to the hens. While spending a little time away from the hens I will check the boys into a bachelor pen. To see how I incorporate bachelor pens in my flock click here.

5. Singing the song of his people.

Lestat (White Crested Polish Rooster) greeting the morning.

There is just something about a rooster’s crow that has an indiscernible purity to it. In the busy, rat-race-pace of our lives, we are often not still enough to appreciate the purity and stillness of a quiet morning, interrupted by a rooster’s song. Breaking the silence, the crow of a rooster is a sound of a by gone era. A sound from our past when the crow of a rooster was a part of the audio landscape. A time when farming was not just a hobby, but a way of life, your animals were how you survived. The crow of a rooster symbolizes a beginning, the start of another day. A time when working the land and plowing the fields was how one survived. Its a sound from the past, a past that has been lost to the progression of time.

Dracula (Easter Egger Rooster)

In the stillness of the early morning hours, I like to sit on the back porch, morning coffee in hand, and listen to my boys sing the song of their people. It’s a song of the ancients, a song that traces back to a time when their great ancestors roamed the earth. It’s a song that not only reminds us of their past but ours. A song that fills the air declaring a new day has begun. It’s a song that in our day and time rings with a purity that money cannot buy, but few will hear. It’s a song that reminds us of a simpler time. He reminds us that there is abundant wealth in simplicity. In our day and time, it’s a lesson that we all need.

Caster and Pollux (White Crested Polish Bantam Roosters) Watching over their girls as they peck at the freshly thawed ground.

A rooster is selfless, often sacrificing himself to save his friends. A fearless warrior with a big heart. A natural born singer of the ancient songs. A dancer, a true gentleman. The most beautiful and unwanted of all the creatures.

Roy (Buff Orpington Rooster) inspecting the new addition to the backyard. Frosty the Snowman.

Roosters are amazing creatures and worthy of our admiration and respect.

Roy the Rooster

It is my goal to present a fresh look at roosters. Gone are the days of the barnyard terrors of yesterday, meet the roosters of today. Roosters are amazing creatures, your partner in caring for your flock.

If you have any questions regarding roosters or keeping chickens, please leave a comment. You can also drop me a line at kuntryklucker@gmail.com.

I am a published author, multi-disciplinary writer and blog contributor. If you enjoy this blog, visit some of my other sitew.

Knowledge of the Spheres – Exploring the Celestial Spheres!

Coffee and Coelophysis – A blog about Dinosaurs!

Chicken Math University – Adventures in Homeschooling.

If you liked this post, peck the subscribe button. As always, thanks for reading. Till next time, keep on crowing!!

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

Keeping Multiple Roosters in Your Backyard Flock.

Contrary to popular opinion, keeping multiple roosters in a flock is possible. It is a misconception that only one rooster is best to oversee your flock. However, in order for multiple roosters to live peacefully, several requirements need to be meet. In this post, I am going to show you how my 13 roosters cohabitate while presiding over their girls. I will demonstrate these principles featuring my gents.

Smoug and Lestat:

The Kuntry Klucker

Smaug and Lestat live in the Kuntry Klucker. Each of the boys have their assigned hens and know which hens belong to whom. While they roost in the Kuntry Klucker at night, they free range during the day. The largest of my roosters, this rooster duo get along very well. Confrontations are minimal, giving way to mutual respect. Smaug and Lestat are at the top of the pecking order in the flock, assuming the Alpha and Beta positions. The remaining subjugated roosters answer to these gents. Despite their size and position, they are gentlemen, good to the ladies, and kind to their humans. Neither of these boys have ever shown any signs of aggression.

Enigma and Link:

Athena: White Crested Polish Hen, perching on feed can outside of Henwarts.

Enigma and link roost in Henwarts. Henwarts is home to our white crested polish, silver lace polish and bantam cochin flock.

Enigma: is a Motted Cochin, he is the smallest and oldest of The Kuntry Klucker boys. At 7 years old, he is the senior rooster on the Farm. He is civil with Link but prefers to put distance between himself and Link while free ranging. He watches over the White Crested Polish hens that reside in Henwarts. Link: watches over the Silver Lace Polish and Bantam Cochin hens who also reside in Henwarts.

Link and Fi: Silver Lace Polish Hen and Rooster.

Additionally, Enigma has adopted a few of the Buff Orpington Hens that roost in the Kuntry Klucker. The Buff ladies are too big to roost in Henwarts thus, they reconvene while free ranging. Despite his small stature, he makes up for it with a big heart and lively personality.

Enigma watching over Aphrodite (White Crested Polish Hen) and the “golden girls” (Buff Orpington Hens).

Devros and Micky Smith:

IMG_4954
Devros and Micky Smither: (Silkie Roosters) looking after their Silkie hens.

Devros and Micky Smith: Devros and Micky Smith are our resident Silkie Roosters. This duo share responsibility of looking after the Silkie hens that live in the TARDIS. This duo are peas in a pod, they do everything together. If ever I have seen a rooster bromance, these two are it, never straying far from one another. As expected, there is no confrontations between these two gents, they are the best of friends.

Honorable Mention: I have a few other roosters that roam the Kuntry Klucker Farm. These boys do not necessarily lead a harem, rather they assist in other matters of flock maintenance. These boys roost with the TARDIS crew.

Pantaphobia: Pantaphobia is a White Crested Polish Rooster, as his name suggests, he is afraid of everything. He is our resident useless rooster, to read his unique story, click here.

Pantaphobia: White Crested Polish Rooster

Supreme: Supreme is a Splash Silkie Rooster. Although not assigned a harem of hens, he assists Devros and Micky Smith with overseeing the Silkie hens.

Pantaphobia and Supreme are another rooster duo that relish each other’s company. They can be seen browsing the yard together in search of delectables, be it bugs, worms or greens.

Bachelor Pen: If you have kept count, I am a few gents short of my quota of 13. The rest of my boys reside in a bachelor pen. The Coop De Ville is home to several White Crested Polish Breeding Roosters. These boys reside together in harmony. To see how I utilize a bachelor pen for roosters, please click here.

To successfully keep multiple roosters in your flock, several requirements need to be meet. I will list and explain these necessary prerequisites below.

The Kuntry Klucker Farm flock grazing on a freshly cut lawn.
  1. Ample Space

The first thing to consider in keeping multiple roosters is space. Roosters, if several are present in a flock, will divide free ranging space into jurisdictions. Each rooster will look after a portion of the girls in “his” specified territory. Each rooster will know the boundaries of his dominion. If a gent member should step outside his bounds, a confrontation will ensue. To ensure that your roosters will live peacefully with one another, they must have ample space to roam.

The flock making their way to the garden shed for a handout of crached corn and scratch grains.

2. Several feeding and water stations

When free ranging, it is the job of a rooster to look for food for his ladies. He will actively hunt for bugs, seeds, or weeds for them to dine on. If his hunt turns up empty, he will lead them to the feeder and water. With each rooster leading a section of the hens, multiple feeding and watering stations are mandatory. If these resources are too few, the boys will fight over these necessities. Each of my coops have their own food and water. Additionally, I have other feed/water stations available in the yard. With amplest access to food and water, my boys live peacefully, made possible by adequate sustenance.

3. Sufficient number of hens

The roosters and hens will decide amongst themselves who belongs on which rooster team. For this to be possible, there needs to be enough hens to go around. It is typical for one rooster to manage and service anywhere from 6-10 hens individually. If there are not enough hens to divide amongst the boys, serious problems can arise.

If there are too many roosters for too few hens, the hens can become injured through over mating. The hens will be mated too often which can cause feather loss, wounds on her back, and other injuries by aggressive mating by too many roosters. If there are too few hens, fighting amongst the roosters will be more frequent as they compete for the hens.

To combat this problem, there are a few solutions that can be implemented. If you want to keep all your boys, you can establish a Bachelor Pen for excess roosters. This too is achieved through adequate flock maintenance. When done right, all members live peacefully in their bachelor digs.

I hope that you have found this post helpful in managing roosters in your flock. If you live in the city, roosters are most likely not permitted. However, those that live in the county or country have more options when it comes to roosters.

I am of the persuasion that roosters are an amazing creature. I value them for the part they play in the social structure of a flock. In the past, I have sustained a span of several years where I did not have a rooster. During this time, I learned the true value of a rooster and the balance his presence brings to my flock.

Roosters are not the blood thirsty vicious creature of the past. When raised with care, they make a very admirable addition to the backyard setting.

If you have any questions about keeping multiple roosters, roosters, or chickens in general, feel free to leave a comment. You can also drop me a line at kuntryklucker@gmail.com

I am a published author, multi-disciplinary writer and blog contributor. If you like this post, please visit some of my other sites.

Knowledge of the Spheres – Exploring the Celestial Spheres!

Coffee and Coelophysis – A blog about Dinosaurs.

Chicken Math University – Adventures in Homeschooling.

If you liked this post, peck the subscribe button. As always, thanks for reading. Till next time, keep on crowing.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~