December 29, 2014

Flogging Roosters

In one of my husband's favorite movies, Cold Mountain, one of the women says to the other "I hate a flogging rooster." Shortly thereafter, she holds him upside down by the legs and says "let's put 'im in a pot!"

My very first rooster turned out to be a flogging rooster. In case you're not familiar with the term, a flogging rooster is one who attacks humans.

I'd ordered 25 black Australorp pullet chicks from Murray McMurray hatchery a few years before we moved here to Oklahoma. Hatcheries don't guarantee 100% accuracy in sexing chicks, so one of our pullets (young females) turned out to be a cockerel, a young rooster. He was certainly pretty, and protective of his flock. Soon though, he began to attack my feet when I walked into the coop. To make a long story short, he went to the poultry processor down the road when we took our meat chicks.

Trey, my third-generation buff orpington rooster.

Because of that flogging rooster I haven't had any Australorp roosters again, although I did have one hen a few years later. Our buff orpingtons were very calm birds, and the buff roosters we've had have been friendly and non-aggressive with humans.

Beethoven, a polish rooster.
We once bought four juvenile polish chickens at an auction; hubby thought their appearance was striking. All four turned out to be roosters, unfortunately, and all four were mean. Not to humans, but to the other birds and also to our barn cats. We let them free range and one by one they were picked off by predators. I wasn't really too upset when they disappeared.

Samson, the barred rock rooster
Since then I've had a barnyard mix of hens: a few Rhode Island reds, some barred rocks, americanas, and some crossbreeds. I had a half dozen red star hens, a sex-linked cross in which the female chicks are red when hatched and the male chicks are white. I've always had a rooster or two, and most of them have had pleasant personalities.

Currently I only have one old hen and two roosters. The two roos don't get along very well, but don't bother other animals or humans. Samson, the old barred rock, is shaky on his feet these days and every morning I expect to find him dead, or not find him at all. The red and black rooster is half Aracauna and half Rhode Island red, with fuzzy tufts on each side of his face and a very comical personality. The lone red hen is his and he is very possessive, not allowing Samson to come near her.

The Araucana roo's face is framed with fuzzy tufts of feathers.
This spring I'll be getting some new layers as well as the meat chicks I've ordered. The three old chickens will continue to free range while the new birds will live in the chicken coop. Meat chicks don't "hang around" long enough to turn mean, and hopefully the new rooster in the laying flock will be well-behaved, or he'll end up in a pot.

What is your favorite breed of chicken?

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops
including the Homestead Blog Hop.


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  1. Hi Kathi,
    I have golden comets right now. We plan to get baby chicks in the spring, mixing up the variety and putting our current flock 'in the pot' next fall when the new ones start laying eggs.

  2. I really liked my Dark Cornish for free range..they were active foragers and only required supplemental feeding in winter. Very pretty iridescent green accents on red black feathers.

  3. I have always liked Buff Orpington's, Kathi. They have a nice, meaty carcass and lay big, brown eggs. Not only that, you're right, they have a very nice disposition and are just beautiful birds. I used to say the same thing about Barred Rocks until we had two in the last few years that turned out to be floggers.

    We have also used Murray McMurray hatchery for many years. They provide healthy chicks, good service and stand behind their birds. Anytime we have lost one in the first day or so, they provide a credit on our next order. They are good folks to deal with.

    Thanks for the article. It's nice to hear of other folks experiences and preferences. I can always learn something that way.


  4. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead8:34 AM

    My biggest problem with free range chickens is that I can't find the eggs. It sure does cut way down on feed costs though.

  5. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead8:56 AM

    Fern, I really do like the buffs, although mine never did lay well. I really haven't found an ideal breed yet.

  6. Anonymous6:04 PM

    Kathi, I've only been doing this since last May so I am not sure how the adults will be but I love my Buff & Lavender Orp girls, the Sussex girls and the new Sussex boy - he is a HOOT! Like Frank & Fern the 2 barred rock roos I had were killed, by me, because I got tired of carrying a 2' barbeque spatula around to whap them when they snuck up behind me & jumped. The Black Stars lay well but aren't very friendly. I'll be getting a Buff Orp roo this spring and then will split the coop so I can keep 2 purebred flocks: Orps & Sussex. I may play around with a few others but these two make up my dream teams.
    Jan in NWGA

  7. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead6:08 PM

    Jan, I don't have any experience with the Sussex so it's good to hear about yours. My red stars were pretty good layers and friendly enough. It's funny that you and Fern both had problems with your barred rock roosters; the only barred rock I've had is my current rooster who is a real sweetie.

  8. Hi - Just discovered your blog this morning and have signed up. My FAVORITE breed is the Langshan. I was a Poultry leader in 4H years ago and have had quite a few breeds of chickens. Used to get Langshan eggs from Forrest Beauford in Claremore thirty years ago. This is a large dual purpose breed and the roosters can reach 13 lbs. In all my years, I never had a mean one (they are calm birds) and won ribbons and trophies at shows with them. The one super mean bird I had was a Sumatra rooster. Can't wait to go through your archives and see what I've missed.

  9. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead11:42 AM

    Hi Kris! Welcome, I'm so glad you're here.

    Wow, those Langshan roosters are huge. They sound like nice, calm birds who serve both purposes (eggs and meat) well.

  10. How sweet that your one rooster is so attached to his mate. You are educating me on the correct terms for chicken-speak, so thank you!
    I love the pattern on the barred rocks, but we don't have chickens yet, so I have time to research which ones will fit our family best!
    Thanks for joining The Maple Hill Hop this week!

  11. You're welcome, Daisy. Thank you for your comment.

  12. Hi, Kathi! We have 6 Barred Rocks and 6 Buff Orpingtons, including one Buff Roo the kids and I named Earl. Generally he's a nice guy but he's tried to um, mate with me a couple times. Poor guy learned his lesson! This spring my hubby wants to add Ameraucanas, and I'm hoping to get add good mix including Black Copper Marans, a Welsummer or two, and some Wyandottes. I'll probably throw in some NH or RI Reds for good measure, too. We're a family of 5 so we go right through what our hens lay now, can't wait to have plenty to sell. Love your blog!

  13. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead6:44 PM

    Hi Kate, it sounds like you will have a very colorful flock. I love variety in the barnyard. Umm, I had a buck goat that mistook me for a doe - once. He doesn't live here anymore!

  14. We currently have 6 roosters. We are planning on culling them, but we can't all agree on which one (or two) to keep! Some are pretty, some of nice, and some match our hens, but aren't nice. It's a hard decision!

  15. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead10:45 AM

    That does sound like a hard decision, Jennifer. I hope you figure it out.

  16. You have some very pretty roosters, Kathi! I can't say that I have a favorite breed of chicken. I want some of every kind! But I do like the Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, and Buff Orps. I have a mixed flock and mixed breeds that I've hatched from our own fertile eggs. I'm in the process of culling the older laying hens that aren't producing well enough to keep. It seems to be a constant thing around here.

  17. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead11:56 AM

    Lisa, I like that variety too. I've done both: raised a particular breed and had a colorful barnyard mix. I'm glad I'm not the only one that likes them all!

  18. We've had chickens for at least 2 decades now and I especially love having them. I have had some pretty mean roosters too, and they don't last long around here because there are too many good roosters to put up with a meany.

    It is hard for me to choose a breed of chicken as my favorite, but it would be between Barred Plymouth Rocks, Marans, and for fun, my little frizzled cochins.

    BTW, just yesterday a strapping young Marans roo attacked my boots. I grabbed him by the legs , held him upside down, looked him in the eye and told him he'd better stop it or he'll not live long. I know he didn't understand me, but he did not attack me today !

  19. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead8:42 AM

    It sounds like he might have learned his lesson, Kathy!

  20. Love the Araucana Rooster he is just beautiful. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

  21. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead8:42 AM

    Thank you, Terri. Thank you for hosting Good Morning Mondays.

  22. Cindy McElroy9:50 AM

    Good morning, Kathi! We have had chickens for 3 years now. We started out with Black Austrolorps. The roo was meaner than a snake. He didn't last long. The hens are finicky and not friendly at all. Last year we added Ameracauna and Production Reds. They are all sweeties and good layers. The Reds lay really well. Our current roo is a huge Ameracuana named Nelson. Very sweet and protective of the whole flock. As always, I really enjoy reading your blog. Blessings!

  23. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead11:47 AM

    Cindy, how interesting that your Australorp rooster was mean too. That makes me wonder if it's widespread. Thank you for being a loyal reader! God's blessings to you.


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