The Good Rooster – 9 Desirable Traits

What are the most desirable traits for a rooster? As is the case with anything in life, this can vary. There might be certain things that you love about your rooster that other people don’t care much about.

I, for one, value aesthetics! I never in my life imagined that I would call a rooster handsome, but I do. I love Dirty Wilson, we all love him. He’s a good rooster. We’ve had our taste of having a bad rooster around. I’m really glad that this fellow has outlasted them all!

hen and rooster sharing a tomato
hen and rooster sharing a tomato

Before we ever owned chickens, I had no idea how useful a rooster would be. All I knew was that it would crow at the crack of dawn, and I really didn’t want to be bothered by that!

We didn’t plan on having him… he just got mixed in with the girl chicks, and we didn’t know he was a “he” until his comb grew larger than the others did! But we are so glad we have him now!

For those of you who haven’t ever owned a rooster, let me fill you in on how useful they are to a flock… and what you should look for when you are shopping around for one.

Top Traits of a Good Rooster

If you’re thinking about adding a rooster to the flock, consider these characteristics. A good rooster will have them all!

Many people consider only the breed or confirmation, especially when selecting roosters that will be used for show and therefore need to meet the Standard of Perfection. However, there are lots of other things you should look for.

A Good Rooster is Protective

A good rooster warns his girls of danger. If a hawk is around, he will lead them into the woods for shelter.

When a good rooster loses sight of one of his hens, he will call her frantically until he hears a response and is able to locate her position.

A good rooster stands guard, and keeps a watch out while the hens peck and scratch in their own carefree manner.

Whenever one of his hens is in trouble, a good rooster will sound his alarm and alert everyone of the danger she is in. (I can always tell when the dog is outside chasing one of the hens, Dirty Wilson has a fit!)

A Good Rooster Shares

A good rooster shares food with his ladies. When he discovers an extra special treat, he’ll cluck in a particular way and the hens will all come running to see what he has found. Then he’ll step aside and let the ladies enjoy themselves.

If your rooster likes to eat all the food himself, that’s not a good sign. Good roosters will do something known as “tidbitting,” in which they allow the hens to eat first by dropping bits of food in front of them.

If he doesn’t conform to this desirable trait, he’ll not only eat all the food for himself but will also interfere with the hens while they’re eating, too.

A Good Rooster Isn’t Overly Aggressive to Humans

And a good rooster, totally does not attack you when you least expect it! Okay, maybe he’ll test you a time or two. Maybe he’ll run up behind you and bump into the back of your foot to see if he can scare you.

But a good rooster will quickly straighten up after a stern lecture. And he’ll never really hurt you.

A good rooster will be tolerant of people, particularly kids (this one will be especially important if you have little ones at home).

A rooster, particularly one from a large breed like a Jersey Giant, can be dangerous when it comes flying toward you. Just think about the height of a little kid – while a rooster attacking you might land on your legs or at worst, near your torso, at a child, it’s going to be neck- or face-height.

That can be extremely dangerous when you think about the spurs!

Ideally, your rooster should be wary of people without being too aggressive. It will keep a close eye on you at all times without actually being aggressive.

If you notice behaviors like flogging, chasing, pecking, or other attempted displays of dominance toward a human, it might be time to remove that rooster from your flock.

A Good Rooster Isn’t Overzealous With the Hens

Obviously, you want to find a rooster that…shall we say…knows his way around the ladies!

However, you don’t want a rooster that’s so much of a ladies man that he isn’t respectful. Some roosters are way too aggressive when they’re mating.

A lot of this has to do with your flock ratios. A good rule of thumb is to give a minimum of 10 hens to each rooster (ideally more) to prevent individual hens from being overmated. However, even with the most ideal ratios, roosters can still often become too aggressive.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep close tabs on your hens to make sure they aren’t being overbred. If you notice excessive wear on the saddle and head area of a hen, it can be a sign that the rooster is a bit too aggressive with the hens.

One final note here – if it seems as though your rooster is being a bit too excitable with the hens, try to give it a little time to see if it resolves.

Sometimes the issue isn’t necessarily the rooster’s demeanor himself but just the fact that he’s young. Young roosters tend to be a bit overeager and may be too aggressive with the hens at first – the older girls should straighten him out soon!

If a rooster is a bully to the hens outside of breeding, that’s not a good sign, either. A few sparring matches with dominant hens can occur every now and then, but if there are serious, knock-down fights that leave your hens bleeding or otherwise injured, he is not a good rooster.

A Good Rooster is Kind to Chicks

A rooster won’t interact with the chicks like a hen will – you shouldt’ expect that.

However, he should treat chicks with kindness. He might tidbit for them, shepherd them around, or protect them from predators and overly aggressive hens.

This is a great characteristic to look for in a rooster – and it’s not one that you will always find. In any event, if you have a rooster who throws, harasses, pecks, or mauls chicks, it’s time to remove him from the flock.

A Good Rooster Tolerates Other Roosters

This is a rooster characteristic that can also be tough to find!

And to be fair, “tolerant” is a term that should be used loosely. Most roosters, even the best of them, don’t enjoy sharing the hens with other roosters.

A little bit of cockfighitng is normal, but once the pecking order has been established, a good rooster will let the other ones be.

A Good Rooster is Vigorous and Alert

Vigor is one of the most important factors to consider when you’re shopping around for a rooster. The males in your flock should always be on the go, looking around for food and potential threats.

A rooster should be the first one off the post and the last one on, always scratching around to find food and arlert the hens.

A lot of crowing is a good sign. Usually, the rooster that crows the most and crows the loudest is trying to tell the hens something – which means he is paying attention!

A Good Rooster… Looks Like a Good Rooster!

Conformation to a breed standard might not matter much if you’re not planning on exhibiting your roosters. However the appearance of a rooster can tell you a lot about his overall health and ability to guard a flock.

Size matters the most. A rooster should be large,full-bodied, and with the head erect.

The reason why these traits matter has to do with breeding. You want to have a rooster that is still virile at mating, even if he has a dozen or so hens to breed.

A Good Rooster Knows Where Home Is

This can vary a bit among different breeds, but you should try to look for a rooster who knows where his home is.

Now, a little bit of wandering isn’t a bad thing – that’s how roosters find food and scope out potential threats. However, if your rooster is constantly wandering onto your neighbor’s yard or failing to return to the roost at night, that could be a sign that you need to consider a different flocka rooster.

Best Breeds for Keeping a Rooster

You might not have a lot of choice when it comes to selecting the rooster for your flock – you might be raising a flock solely of New Hampshire Reds, and so you’ll have to keep that New Hampshire Red rooster!

However, if you’re interested in raising a mixed flock of birds, know that these are the friendliest, most docile rooster to consider raising:

How to Find a Good Rooster

If you’re trying to find a good rooster who you will be able to keep in your flock for the long term, I recommend waiting until they are older to make a decision. Many people make the mistake of selecting a lead “flocka rooster” among their cockerels, when the birds are still young.

This can be misleading since often, cockerels who are far more friendly when young become extremely aggressive as they get older. Some people attribute this to them “sizing up” their human caretakers – definitely not something you want to happen!

Check around with local breeders and farms to see if they have any recommendations – or are looking to get rid of any roosters. If they are, do your due diligence to make sure there’s not a specific reason as to why they are getting rid of them.

They might be trying to offload an aggressive or sterile rooster, which isn’t something you want to inherit in your own flock!

We got lucky with our Dirty Wilson, to say the least, so we won’t be shopping for a while. Yes, our Dirty Wilson is a good, good rooster. I hope he sticks around here for a very long time!

Wanna brag about that special rooster in your life? Tell us what he does that makes you glad you have him around!

good rooster traits Pinterest image

18 thoughts on “The Good Rooster – 9 Desirable Traits”

  1. Thanks for the post! By the way, we purchased a small bantam rooster, and we did it in a hurry. Now I realise he can’t care less for the girls except when it comes to love. All the hens are bigger than him. I really want to get a big rooster to protect the girls, but I’m afraid that the roosters will fight and harass the hens, plus my mum doesn’t want me to keep two roosters. Right now, I have 6 hens and a duck, plus the rooster. What should I do??? I’m really stuck here.

  2. I have chickens and a rooster and he is a White Leghorn. It’s kinda weird because me and the author’s roosters have so much in common he is so handsome and he is so nice I love my rooster Ballena so much, some of you that are reading my comment are probably saying, “Ballena? I thought Ballena was a girl name.” Well the story of his name was that my cousin came to our house for a few weeks and we had just got four new chicks and we thought they were all girls. Anyway we saw the movie Return to Oz (Wizard of Oz 2) and Dorathy had all white chickens and one red chicken, and that one red chicken was named Ballena. Well in our case we had all colorful chickens and one white chicken so she named it Ballena. A few months went by and we saw some changes in Ballena like : Bigger comb than the other hens, She was getting taller and stronger looking than the other hens. Then one day she did a Cock-a-doodle-doo and then we new our little Ballena was a boy.

  3. P.S. My Rhode Island Red rooster is very good. He shows no sign of aggression. And I have been watching him and he does just like you said..he watches his girls..he calls to them when I feed or if he finds a frog..he lets them eat first and when he sees the neighbors cat or anything eles around close by he lets his girls know. I am so happy to have him. I hope he stays this way, he is only about 6 months old. Do they turn aggressive as they get older?

    • Brandy,

      Thanks for sharing your rooster story 🙂 It’s no fun when you can’t even turn your back for fear of being attacked all the time! Yes, they do get more aggressive as they get older, but temperaments differ. Our good Rooster, Dirty Wilson, he sneaks up on us from time to time. He did knock my three yr. old son down once and attack him, putting a hole in his arm. We just have to watch him. He’s not so bad that we’ll put him in the pot, not yet anyways. He does us a lot of good protecting the flock. But every day I have to show him who’s boss. He’ll try to run up on me from behind, and I turn and kick him gently and shout “No!”, pointing my finger like an accusing school teacher 🙂 I don’t want to hurt him, it’s just enough to get him to leave me alone. But yes, as he’s gotten older he’s definitely gotten braver! I hope you enjoy all your chickens!

  4. This is a story about the best chicken and bumplin’s I’ve ever had.
    My birthday was Nov.9, and about a month prior, I told my husband, Jeff, that I wanted to get a couple of roosters. He found me two, a Rhode Island Red and a Barred Plymouth Rock both about 6 months old. It was Sat Oct. 30, we brought the two of them home. I have six hens we bought the spring of 2009. We put them in two seperate coops with their own hens. Everything went well the first week. Sat Nov. 6, I went out that morn’ to let the Barred Rock and his hens out and do what chickens do, eat bugs, scratch here and there, etc. I went into the coop to see if there were any eggs and I heard Barney (the rooster) come in behind me making a funny noise and ruffling his feathers and when I turned around he jumped up at my hand that I had the eggs in. I shooed him away and that seemed to make him mad but he did stop. Later when it was time to put them back in the coop him and the hens run up to me to go inside. The two girls went inside and just as I started to turn around and look for him he jumped up high at my back and clawed the inside of my left ankle, ( his spurs have been trimmed, Thank the Lord!). He was screaming and making weird noises and ruffling his feathers and the more I tried to shoo him away the madder he got and he kept coming after me. I started screaming for Jeff, he was in the garage, “he is attacking me..he’s attacking me”!!! Jeff grabbed a broom and got Barney to leave me alone and got him back in the coop. These are my first roosters and that was the first time that ever happened to me in my life. Jeff said to me that “we can’t have an aggressive rooster”. “I agree”, I said. Jeff hunts a lot and sometimes he is gone for a few days at a time and didn’t want me to be way out here alone with this crazy Jeff went into the garage and made a killing cone and the next day I made his belated Grandma White’s receipe for chicken and dumplin’s. It also happened to be potluck Sunday at church. All of those who got some said they were scrumptious!! Jeff and I are learning more and more about the message the LORD gave to us in his word..Proverbs 28:19. Jeff and I along with many of our church family are learning how to live off our land. Fri Nov. 12 the 25 barred rock chicks I ordered from Privett Hatchery arrived. We will use them for eggs to eat and hatch and for meat. We also want to get some rabbit’s, goat, sheep and cattle. Just a few heads of each, we have 2 acres. It is only the two of us. I am thankful for my sister in Christ that shared this website with me. GOD bless y’all!

  5. I really enjoyed this post! And I love Dirty Wilson in name and personality:)

    We have a young Barred Rock Roo, who was mixed in with the girls. I’ve heard they get a little nasty. Is DW a leghorn?

    Looking forward to peeking around your blog more. I popped over from 5 acres and a dream.

  6. What a handsome roo! I wish we could keep a rooster. We have a cockerel that’s just as beautiful as can be already, but as soon as he starts crowing, we’ll have to stew him 🙁

  7. “…a good rooster will quickly straighten up after a stern lecture.” I love it! Wonderful post. Like you, we didn’t truly understand roosters until we got our own chicks early this spring. Ours were straight run though, and I think we’ve finally found the best bird for the job.

  8. I have a rooster named Gertie.. He is a Dominic that we thought was a hen, hence the name Gertie. He was raised with my pot bellied pig, Sophie. He has been a wonderful, docile rooster. He has been attacked by dogs a couple of times and the last attack was a very close call. Gertie lived in the garage until he was healed and now he is running around again. He will play dead bird and lay in your hand motionless, legs in the air. So cute. He will chase off another rooster that is trying to get an attitude with me. He will follow me around and wait patiently for a handful of food as he won’t eat with the others. I wish all my roosters had his personality and temperament.

  9. I love it Kendra :o)
    Our rooster (Big Boy) not only guards the hens but he guards the yard too, if a car pulls up that he does not recognize he crows and crows until we come out.

  10. Really? I didnt know how much they watched over the flock maybe someday I will get a rooster.
    Thanks Great reading
    Debbie Miller Facebook Friend.

  11. That is so sweet!! I keep my small flock in thier coop because of the dog dangers around here so I haven’t gotten to witness my rooster do all of those things but I have noticed how he seems to always be on guard. I just now have a hen getting broody, started sitting today so I’ve dated 5 eggs to leave under her and will see what happens. 🙂

  12. Ive had quite a few good roosters over the years (and just one really mean one luckily). One was a tiny BB Red who fancies himself the most macho. Im prett sure hes still around too (its my moms farm. Im all grown up and moved away). Hes very much like you described above. Another one, probably my favorite of all, was a Buff Japanese. He wasnt as good with the ladies but he was just the biggest sweetheart. I ended up using him as one of my 4H show birds. While on barn duty at the fair Id walk around talking to people with him sleeping in the crook of my arm like a baby. He was a fair favorite! Im always sad when we lose any animal but I reckon he is the only chicken Ive ever cried my eyes out over.

    One of the funniest things over the years though is that my mom keeps a handful or more roosters around bc she has several different pure breeds that she likes to hatch eggs from. They all get along famously, but they compete at crowing. Its hilarious and I miss it so much now that I live on a military base. Went from the comforting sounds of a farm to the roaring sound of jet engines! lol although Ill admit Im a bit fond of the jet sounds too now haha and my son loves “AIRPLANES!” 🙂

  13. Glad he’s a good rooster! Most of the ones I have now are nice, but there are 2 I have to keep locked up. One for the other roosters sakes and one for my son’s sake. He attacks my youngest sometimes.


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