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selecting a cock

 
            
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hello. wondering if there is a "cheat sheet" of pointers out there for selecting which rooster will be the keeper. our flock of 10 is at 16 weeks and the gender split is right up the middle. any general rules of thumb to follow for the tributes? thanks in all ways.
 
John Polk
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You do NOT want one that is timid...runs from you.
Nor do you want one that runs AT you...over agressiveness is best cured in a stew pot.

Either of the two traits above will end up in your gene pool if you breed them. Not good for future generations.

You will want a large bird (not necessarily the largest) that is afraid of nothing. At, or near the top of the pecking order, and no known health issues.

Sixteen weeks is probably too early to make a choice for the best candidate, but certainly old enough to begin eliminating some. As you see one that is scrawny, weak, timid, unhealthy or otherwise not suitable for your gene pool, it is time to heat up the frying pan. As the weeks pass, you will be down to a few good candidates. That's when the choices become more difficult.

At this point, the hens may actually choose the right one for you. Flock instincts will dictate to the hens which one(s) are best suited to the health and well being of the flock. You may want to keep two. Sometimes a good cock will sacrifice himself to a predator to save the ladies...a true knight. In such a case, if you only have one, you now need to replace him...with somebody else's reject. When you are down to just a few choices, look for two who get along the best with the ladies, and each other.

"Breed the best, eat the rest."

 
Tyler Ludens
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Personally I select for a rooster who is confident but not aggressive (doesn't pick fights, but will defend himself), who has the physical traits that I want. Not necessarily large size because a large rooster can injure hens when mounting, especially if the flock is small. We don't need a large bird for either eggs or meat, for our own personal household use. To me, a good rooster is one who signals the presence of food for the hens. He may also signal nest sites; if he indicates the official nest boxes that's the best. He should also be good about alerting the flock to danger such as hawks. He should not attack chicks. My present Cochin Bantam rooster is one such optimum gentleman and has produced many offspring in this his first year. I may be keeping one of his sons who is half Partridge Rock, because he's just so darn pretty. I agree with John about keeping the two best who get along in the flock, if you have enough hens to accommodate two roosters.
 
David Goodman
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Is it wrong that I laughed out loud at this topic?

I agree with John. With my roosters I've eaten the ones that attacked me and kept the ones that didn't, provided they weren't complete wussies.

I also favor keeping large-bodied roosters because I hatch the eggs and cull my flock as I get hungry... since their genes are getting added to the mix, the size is important.
 
Jay Green
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I agree with John also. Good advice all around.
 
            
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heyhey, yes great pointers all the way round thanks heaps. my ol'czech friend advises to keep two as well...just in case one "shoots blanks". at present the two most chivalrous have won some chicken hearts; and looks like the remaining three are a gang of rapists... the other gals just run from them. seems pretty clear so far. i'll watch another couplefew days. cheers.
 
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