by Margaret E. Kellogg
Photos by author
Hens will lay eggs without having a rooster, so how does one end up with 30 roosters? Well, we started out with one rooster, a Rhode Island Red named George. Then, when we obtained some Light Brahma chicks from the feed store, I got a rooster. They always say that there is a 10% chance when you purchase pullets that you will get a cockerel. He was the only chick that survived out of four chicks and we named him Scratch. We have since lost him and George. However, Scratch left us a legacy.
|Scratch, the only egg that hatched out of eight.
A Silkie hen adopted him.
When I decided to incubate eggs, I got one chick out of eight eggs. He was black, but because he had feathered legs, I knew who his daddy was. He grew to be a big black rooster named Gus. His mom had to have been a Black Australorp.
Because I was new to incubating, I loaded up the incubator again. This was a lovely hatch rate. From this batch, six out of seven hatched, and I ended up with two more roosters. Of course, Scratch was the dad. I kept three of the six because I thought I had two hens and a rooster when, in fact, I had two roosters and a hen.
|Gus, the adult|
Slick was a beautiful, mostly white rooster, instead of a hen. It wasn’t until he took off running across the yard one day that I realized he was a rooster instead of a hen. I have to say that he and Gus are a couple of my favorites. They will let you hold and pet them, but when you let them go, they run goofy and can be about as dumb as a rock.
Screach is also one of Scratch’s offspring and out of the same batch as Slick. It was obvious that he was a rooster within the first few months. Silk is a beautiful Light Brahma looking hen, although I’m not sure who her mother was for her to look like a true Light Brahma.
|Slick is challenging Elvis,
our Polish Rooster.
Then there is Elvis, our beautiful Blue Polish rooster. He survived a dog attack in which there were at least 30 chicks in the same area. The neighbor’s dog managed to get in to the area that contained my babies and he killed all but about three … and Elvis was a survivor.
Let me tell you, he is one of the fastest roosters we have. If he doesn’t want to be caught, we are hard-pressed to get a hold of him. He has fathered a few chicks and somehow I have ended up with an Elvis Jr. that looks just about like him. And we ended up with an Elvis III who is a bit darker … but nonetheless is a rooster.
We have Mr. Frizzle, who is a Frizzle Cochin and he has been the father of quite a few … but he produces more males than females, so there are several Frizzle-mixed Cochins. Some look like regular Black Cochins without the frizzle. Some have frizzle with white or rust collar feathers.
That’s how I all got all the little roosters. I have had a few hatch that I thought were hens until they started crowing.
Most of the time, it takes 5 months for the birds to mature enough to be able to crow, unless they figure it out from the rest of the boys.
Recently, I discovered a Silkie-Easter Egger mix and thought it was a hen until he started crowing. He is quite sweet. He has a beautiful brother that is red and black with a black beard. His name, of course, is Black Beard.
This is my main crew that I plan to keep. They all get along very well. Sometimes, the little guys get to scrapping, but that is usually minor. I also have Silkie roosters. One black and one white, but I keep them with their girls separate from everyone else.
I have a couple little Red Jungle roos and they are very small but have big attitudes, and I like to keep them safely penned as well, because of the flying predators. I think they have their own pecking order, and that’s why they live mostly harmoniously.
I love my roosters. I can pick them up and handle them without them attacking or being aggressive. I can say this about all of them but one. His name is Vanilla Bean. Cutest little guy … with a big rooster aggression. He’s the only one that’s mean out of all of them; he pecks my ears and even got me in the eye, so I have to watch out for the vicious kanib.
Even though they all get along pretty well, I don’t need 30 roosters to get the job done, so I’m looking to place at least 20 of them.