There are a few rules for having a hobby farm that I have heard. The first is to always care for your animals. Ensure they have food and water, and a safe place to live. The second is to never inbreed, it doesn’t do anybody any good. The third, is to cull your animals, especially an excess rooster, when needed.
We are pretty good with these rules, well, except for one. . . we are terrible at “culling” our animals. Taking a pets life when it is in good health, not aggressive and fitting in well on the farm is a challenging this for us to do, but of course with a farm needing only about 1 rooster per 6 or 8 hens, you can quickly become overrun.
At the current time we have apx 35 hens, with 7 roosters. Our Alpha rooster is the “granddaddy” of most of our flock, and after 6 years is still maintaining his spot at the top of the ladder.
Under him the rooster boys adapt to the beta position, with our hand hatched white 2 year old rooster being the most likely candidate.
Check out the video below and see why we have a hard time culling a “useless” rooster, and what exactly IS a useless rooster!
The other rooster boys all seem to fit in with the remaining flock, with no fighting or arguments. Our birds free range, so each rooster finds his own space, and collects his own ladies (except of course for Nick, our Polish rooster, and our only completely USELESS animal) Watch the video below to see just WHY Nick Is a useless rooster.
Tips on managing a Rooster (or three) on your farm
- Give your bird a space to call his own. A rooster wants to manage a flock, and by giving him space to do so he will be able to feel valuable.
- Handle the roosters. Do not let thembully you. We find if our boys get a bit feisty with us the best course of action is to “embarrass” him and show our dominance. The kids will hold him like a baby, cuddle him etc, in front of the other birds and this will “bring him down a notch”
- Give him enough ladies. Each male bird should have a flock of about 6 hens to call his own, although alpha birds will often have a larger group
Benefits Of a Rooster
We wouldn’t have chickens without having a few roosters in our flock. There have been dozens of times they have protected our girls from predators, once blocking the hen house door to a racoon that came in for a snack.
As well a roosters main purpose is to care for his hens. He will find food for them, protect them while they dust bathe and range, and ensure they come in safely to the coop each night. We even had one bird that would notify us if a hen went into the trees at night, as he paced and called out to her to come to bed.
Of course you also need boys on the farm if you are going to breed your flock! Although you do not need a rooster for a hen to start laying!
Our group of 7 work hard to maintain our flock, and watching them work as a team when there is a threat to the girls is a wonderful thing. Don’t be too harsh on your extra roos, and allow them the chance to fit into the flock as a valued member of the group.