Picking a Rooster

In our quest to cull our flock of roosters, we've been doing an experiment to get an idea about which rooster the hens prefer. Because each one of us wants a different rooster. And we can't decide which one to keep.

This is by no means a scientific experiment, and it probably has no basis on fact, reason, or logic. But  we're just making some observations.

The other reason for the experiment is because we'd like chicks from each rooster, to see how they turn out. And yes, our flock will turn into a bunch of Easter Eggers (which is a mixed breed chicken, or a mut if you're in the South) but I'm pretty sure some of our heritage breeds are already Easter Eggers, so it all turns out well enough.

Anyway, our experiment is to leave one rooster in the coop with the hens at a time. I've been collecting the eggs to keep for incubation (which we are going to start today) minus the eggs we need for our consumption. Before we started this, our hens were giving us about 3-4 eggs a day. The first rooster we put in was the kids' favorite, whom we call Sunny. He's not our prettiest rooster, he's orange/brown with furry legs, a bantam I guess. But the first day with Sunny the hens laid 8 eggs! It was amazing.
rooster brown bantam
Then we threw out Sunny, and tossed in a Plymouth Rock (my favorite). The hens laid 6 eggs for him, and 4 the next day. Next, a Rhode Island Red rooster was up (Jeremy's favorite). The hens were back to 3-4 a day. Finally, we sent in the white bantam rooster. And we only got 3 eggs several days in a row.
plymouth rock rooster

rhode island red rooster

white bantam rooster
I thought it must have been a fluke, so the other night I decided to switch the rooster again and let Sunny back in. First day with Sunny, they only laid 3, but today I found 7 sevens during the morning chores! And there's usually at least one egg during the evening chores.

Now I assume roosters have no bearing on how many eggs a hen lays. But it seems that the hens like Sunny much better than the other roosters. I just wish he were prettier. It's a shame how pretty the other roosters are.
This experiment was no easy task! Switching roosters took all of us. And usually a hen or two, too. It was hilarious watching all of us gang up on a rooster, or lure one in with a hen. You'd think they'd come willingly, as much as they want to get to the hens! But no, there was much running, flapping, and squawking. And then when a rooster was released all the other roosters would gang up for a bit to re-establish the pecking order.They would calm down after we grabbed another one.
We're planning our rooster culling for Friday. That's Jeremy's next day off. And actually, we've already culled one rooster, but more on that later. Culling the one stopped the ugly fights the roosters were getting into. I can't wait to get the culling done so that we can let the hens out of the coop again. I feel bad for them, but the roosters do not give them a rest and fight constantly when the hens do come out.

Ok, chicken experts! Do roosters have anything to do with egg production? Anyone else crazy enough to try this kind of experiment? Does anyone object to Sunny becoming our permanent rooster?

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  1. I always feel a little bad killing the prettier roosters. We've decided to eat our last rooster and start over with a nice pretty one. They've been free-range and reproduced like mad in rogue hidden nests, so we ended up with roosters-- ugly mixed-breed wild ones-- running around everywhere! It's taken years to get it back under control, and then they'll be cooped at the new place. Yours are a bunch of handsome fellas!

    1. I feel bad killing the pretty ones too, but they are big birds and will have lots of meat on them.I spent some time looking around your blog, and it's beautiful. I can't wait to see pictures of your new place. It sounds fantastic!

  2. I have no idea if rooster have any effect on how many eggs are produced, but I definitely haven't researched it at all. It's very interesting to read about your observations! I will have to pay attention to what happens when we get a new rooster later in the spring. Thanks for linking up to the Homestead Blog Hop!

    1. I'll be watching to see how your flock handles the new rooster! That should be interesting. Thanks Angi!

  3. Hi Jennifer,
    The presence or absence of a rooster has little to no bearing on egg production. Egg production is controlled by many factors, lighting, nutrition, health of the flock, etc. What DOES play a role in your experiment is the stress of constant change upon the hens by rotating the fellas in and out. Any change in flock personnel is going to cause stress to some degree. You would not notice the effects of that stress within the first 24-48 hours though because it takes a hen approximately 25 hours to make an egg, which means that the eggs collected the day after Sunny arrived were already in the pipeline for a day prior to his arrival.

    Thanks for linking up with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you'll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  4. So many pretty birds. I wouldn't be able to choose. Thanks for sharing on The Maple Hill Hop!

    1. It really is a hard decision, they are so pretty! And every time I go out to feed them, they all come running toward me and walk me over to the garage-turned-barn. I'm getting kind of attached.

  5. Sounds like a good way to select! I had a friend that chose for 'least annoying crow' - whatever works! Thanks so much for linking up to Awesome Life Friday - I hope you'll come back again this week!

  6. I have never thought about whether roosters boost egg production or not? We have roosters to cull too and will butcher them shortly, these are ones that we incubated ourselves. It is interesting to watch them with "their" hens. Thanks for sharing this great post at Good Morning Mondays, blessings.


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