Our 13 Favorite Rooster Breeds (Including Pictures)

13 Favorite Rooster Breeds (Including Pictures) Blog Cover

Putting together a list of our favorite roosters is quite daunting!

When choosing a rooster, you need to remember that their primary job is procreation and guarding the flock. Many do not enjoy being cuddled or even picked up – this is their nature not a fault.

I have never had good success in importing a rooster to the flock – they come with baggage and attitude. If you are very lucky, you may get a rooster that enjoys lap time with you and that is fabulous that he will do that.

Training them to be people friendly is easier to accomplish if you can start when they are chicks. This is the way to nip bad behavior before it has time to blossom and encourage good behavior with rewards.

So here we go – our favorite rooster breeds!

Brahma

Look at this large but beautiful rooster – the Brahma. Originally known as the King of Chickens they were the largest breed around until the advent of the Jersey Giant.

They can stand over two feet tall, so can be intimidating to small children, but the roosters are quite docile and are not known to be aggressive. The size of these boys alone is enough to intimidate smaller predators! Brahmas are gentle and attentive to their girls, trusting with their keepers and a joy to watch as they stride across the grass.

They are slow to mature, but are certainly worth the wait. Despite their size, they can be picked on by other breeds because they are so docile, so careful breed management is a must with these birds.

Brahma Rooster

Barbu D’Uccle

Barbu D’Uccles may be pint-sized, but he has good looks and just a little attitude! George, my rooster, is good with the ladies finding them tidbits and watching over them while they eat.

He is also a great early warning system letting the girls run for cover while he stays and checks out the situation. He has been known to take on a rooster much bigger than himself – and win!

In the mating season he can be a bit feisty, but that is to be expected and it is not out of place, remember this with any rooster you may have.

Once mating season is done, he settles back into his routine, allowing me to pick him up and fuss him (not in front of the girls though).

Welsummer

Welsummer RooAnother good looking boy in the barnyard – the Welsummer. His plumage is stunning especially in the sunlight.

They are generally mellow towards humans; mine will often feed from my hand and sit near me in the field.  My Welsummer rooster spends a great deal of time racing between different groups of ladies to try and ensure they are all safe and well fed.

He is very good with the ladies – they seem to like to pluck his chest feathers which he tolerates to the point of bald spots!

They are great alarm raisers, constantly on the alert for anything abnormal and always the last one in the barn for safety.

His wattles and comb may need some attention in winter since they are quite pendulous.

Australorp

The Australorp rooster may look plain black, but in the right light his plumage turns a beautiful beetle green hue, giving him a regal look.

Australorp roosters are not known for aggression. In fact, like the hens they can initially be shy, but once they warm up to you they are usually calm and friendly, often seeking you out to supply treats for the girls and him.

Dedicated to the welfare of the flock, they can be seen patrolling their area, finding tasty morsels for the girls and keeping an ‘eye to the sky’ for any trouble.

This is another rooster that has pronounce comb and wattles and so may need some close attention during the bitter winter months.

Flock of Australorps

Langshan

Langshans are one of the gentle giants of poultry, they are also quite uncommon. Roosters are known to be gentle and non-aggressive; since they stand 24-32 inches high, that’s a good thing! Despite their height, they only weigh around 9lbs.

They come in black, white, splash and sometimes blue colors.

Good with the flock and the keeper, love to forage and the rooster is always on guard for trouble.

These birds are slow to mature, but well worth the wait; the black plumage of the boys’ is stunning in the sunlight. They have a majestic demeanor, never in a hurry to go anywhere – unless there is food involved.

Faverolles

The Faverolles rooster is a very handsome and dignified bird. The rooster looks nothing like the ladies so he really does stand out quite elegantly in his plumage (look at the picture!).

They are curious and friendly towards their keeper and environment. They care for the ladies well and are good guardians of the flock.

In general they love to forage in the yard, so they are constantly on the lookout for danger and call the girls if they think there is something amiss.

Cochin

CochinsLet us introduce you to the fluff balls of the poultry world; Cochins!

It seems the standard sized roosters are good natured fellows; their bantam counterparts, not so much.

The roosters can become so tame that they will take to your lap and even perhaps enjoy being a house chicken rather than a ‘yardbird’.

This type of disposition doesn’t really make great guardian stock, so if you want a rooster that will guard your flock, you had best choose something a bit more assertive than a Cochin.

If you want a rooster than can be picked up by the kids – this may be the boy for you.

Buff Orpington

Everyone’s favorite fluffy hen, but what about the roosters?

They are said to be very laid back and non-aggressive, even friendly towards their keepers. They have a docile nature, but don’t let that fool you.

Buff Orpingtons have been known to give up their lives defending their flock and do a great job of ‘protect and watch’ for the ladies.

They make great flock guardians and will readily raise the alarm if they perceive danger. They are attentive to their ladies and can be see keeping a watchful eye over the flock while they are grazing.

Java

Although one of Americas’ oldest breeds, the Java doesn’t get much attention anymore.

They come in three colors: black, white and mottled. The roosters are quite big, but they are gentle giants.

Javas love to forage in the yard with their ladies, taking care to keep them safe and out of harm’s way. They are usually non-aggressive towards their keepers and can even become quite friendly in some instances and are very tolerant of being handled.

They are slower to mature than some of the most recent breeds, but the wait is worthwhile. The rooster averages around 9½ lb.

Plymouth Rock

The favorite breed for many, Plymouth Rocks come by their popularity honestly. They are one of the ‘workhorse’ breeds of poultry. These are likely the kind of bird Grandma used to raise.

Plymouth Rock roosters are often sought out by folks looking for a rooster. They have a reputation of being calm and dependable. Stately and impressive looking, this rooster is a definite bonus to your flock.

They have great camouflage and they look gorgeous in their black and white barred plumage. The roosters are very protective of their flock and usually smart enough to not give the keeper any trouble.

Sebright

The Sebright bantams have tons of personality, are almost non-stop talkers and enjoy human interaction.

Roosters can of course be protective of their ladies, but if you handle them frequently from the start, this should not be a stumbling block to your relationship.

Sebrights are best contained for their own safety, but that doesn’t stop the boys from being alert to their surroundings and sounding the alarm if necessary.

These are beautiful little birds!

Polish

Polish RoosterWho can resist the hairdo of the Polish? Even the roosters sport some outrageous feather heads!

Polish roosters aren’t known for aggression and may in fact be quite timid if the feathers interfere with their vision. They are very respectful to the girls and in fact would be pushed around by the ladies!

If they are raised from chicks they may become your best friends while looking out for the flock too. Although they are fairly good at taking care of the hens and sounding the alarm, you really should not rely on them to keep predators at bay.

To ensure they can see well, either trim the head feathers or ‘top knot’ them. A bird that cannot see well can be timid or overly jumpy.

Delaware

The Delaware was once immensely popular here in the US but remains almost unknown to the outside world. Unfortunately they are now listed as ‘watch’ status by the ALBC.

A lovely bird, the roosters look quite imperious in their white feathers with a sprinkling of black on the neck and tails.

They are said to be fairly docile unless they get frightened in which case they can get aggressive, but generally they are not aggressive to their keepers. Delawares are good with the girls, being ever watchful and alert for danger, raising the alarm and shepherding the flock to safety.

An added bonus for these boys – if you mate them with a New Hampshire or Rhode Island Red hen, you will get sex-linked chicks.

Summary

I hope you enjoyed these rooster breeds and pictures!

It is worth saying again that the temperament and disposition of a bird can vary greatly depending on which ‘line’.

Some breeders prefer a more assertive bird while others breed for more gentle birds. You will need to do your homework and find out what your local breeder aims for in a bird.

If you are able to see the parent stock, especially the rooster, you will be able to form an opinion on whether or not you want that particular cockerel. Read our article here, for insight into what makes a rooster tick and how to deal with them

I’m sure some of you will be upset that we haven’t mentioned your particular rooster breed, but there are so many to choose from! Apologies to the boys we missed – maybe there will be a next time.

Let us know in the comments section below your favorite breed of rooster and share your pictures…

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Comments

  1. val says

    we were sent a Welsummer rooster by accident with our batch of hens. Sad to say, he became very mean. At around 5 months old, he begin to beat the hens. He ripped the comb almost completely off from one of the hens. We could not keep him.
    We now have a Spotted Sussex rooster, much nicer gentlemen with the hens.

      • jan Schommer says

        I have 2 white brahmas, 1 polish, 1 sultan, 1 buff orpington, 1 americana. The polish and sultan seem to stay together. I am thinking of getting one more polish and sultan and then separating them from the others. I have no roosters. Do you have any suggestions?

  2. Michael Murphy says

    When you talk about the Javas you forgot to include the historic comeback of the once extinct Auburn Java and the conservation efforts throughout the Midwest to once again restore as a backyard bird missing since the 1880s but yet considered one of the first chickens in North America apparent of many of our modern-day breeds

  3. Larry says

    I’ve always had polish crested roosters, they can be aggressive at times but soon learn their place with humans. The ones I’ve had have proved to be quite protective of the hens and very alert. They are quite the character these birds but well worth having.

  4. Terri L Holley says

    Great article thank you! I have 12 pullets that are about to start laying….is it too late to get a rooster? would it cause total chaos with my flock…I raised them all from chicks. They are a mixed flock of RIR’s, Welsummers, Australorps, and Barred Rocks I love them bunches and don’t want to do something that doesn’t benefit them. i was wanting maybe to get a rooster because my girls free range approx at least 4 hrs. a day we are in a country setting very large yard, coop with large run, etc.

    • Betsy Howard says

      Unless you want biddies just keep your ladies. I live in the city & have been a ‘ country child all my life and from 6 rhode Island reds I have only 2 left – thanks to a lovable but sorry horny drake- love baby ducks too& hoped for a hen. He has. A new home.
      I have wonderful fresh eggs. The ladies sit down to be picked up when I go outside & if the back door is open in the spring & fall even come in to be a house chicken for a few minutes.!

  5. Inga morgan says

    Had a Rhode Island Red rooster and while he was handsome as all get out, he took being obnoxious to another level. I miss having a rooster to complete my flock and hope to have one again in future when able to get more acreage. Your article was very informative and will use for future reference ?

  6. Sandra DePriest says

    Is it ok to give my chickens and ducks cat food? My neighbors give them cat food and popcorn all the time. I give them bananas 2-3 times a week. They have the runs most of the time so I would like to know if its the cat food or the bananas. Thank you for any help you can give me. Sandy

      • Barb says

        If they threaten you, you won’t be able to change that behavior. Get another rooster. My Polish do not threaten me, but I have a marvelous Faverolle rooster who takes his protection job to another level. He has circled me many times, but the first time he flies at me, he WILL be replaces.

    • jim edwards says

      I would suggest eliminating one for a week. My daughter gives her bananas without a problem. I do not see why cat food would cause an issue. Maybe it is something else.

  7. DEBBIE says

    I HAVE 3 POLISH LACED ROOSTERS. I HAVE RAISED THEM AS CHICKS. I HAD TO PUT THEM IN A SEPARATE PEN.MOVING THEM FROM THE HENS HAS NOT MADE A DIFFERENCE. ALL 3 OF THEM TRIED TO ATTACK ME TOO MANY AND STILL DO. THEY WILL CHARGE THE CAIN LINK TO GO AFTER ME. YES I HAVE CORRECTED THEM BUT IT AS MADE NO DIFFERENCE.

  8. Andries says

    I have chicken 90hen was laying eggs
    One day i put grass in what horses eat in the nest same day hens stop laying eggs it now 2 mnd thy are 40 weekold.

  9. Letty says

    I had a Deleware rooster which I crossed with Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire and Austrolop hens along with the Deleware hens. When hatched I got 14 chicks yellow in color and 2 that were black. I could not tell hen from rooster until comb development. Of the yellow chicks 7 are roosters and 7 pullets. The baring on some are heavier than my Deleware with a few brown flecks. Same on both, rooster and pullets. The black again identical in color and I couldn’t tell rooster from pullet until comb development, one each. My hatch was not sex link.

    • Patrick says

      Sorry this is so delayed, I just now found the article. You have to have the Rhode island red rooster over the Delaware hen to get the color sexable chicks. If you have the Delaware rooster as mentioned then the silver gene will always be dominant. It’s good to have a Rhode island red rooster with barred rock hens, Rhode island white hens, and Delaware hens so that every chick hatched will be a sexlink. Good luck

    • Patrick says

      The information in the Delaware column was not correct. You have to cross a Rhode Island Red Rooster with a Delaware hen to get color sexable chicks (red sexlinks).

  10. Nelly kadi says

    I come from Kenya and an avid reader of poultry articles like yours and a lover of chicken l keep a lot of native breeds with a few of artificial ones ie broilers but due to financial strain l can’t stock your breeds many of us would buy some of your breeds if you can establish a viable depot a place where we could come and choose the new breed arrivals intact in Kenya this could fetch you a lot.Please do us favour by bringing us your breeds.

    • HappyChicken says

      You would have to do a search on your local hatcheries but there are some online you can buy through. Cackle hatchery is one website.

      Claire

    • Glenda Wood says

      My Silkie roosters are all sweet. They sometimes get into quarrels with one another, though.

      There won’t be any chicks: The Barred Rock hen and the Light Brahma hen are in charge of the flock, and all the roosters are intimidated.

  11. Lynnette Gibson says

    I love my big guy. He fought off a raccoon and saved the flock except one. He’s sweet with the family and fierce when he needs to be. I can turn my back on him and know he would never hurt me. He’s a silver penciled rock and is so beautiful. That’s my favorite rooster breed! He is truly perfect!

    • Deborah says

      We had a Black Australorp rooster that was so aggressive to us that we had to put him down. Didn’t even want that evil b*****d in the freezer!!! Lo and behold, just a few days later, our neighbors’ Marsh Daisy Rooster showed up, eating the bird seed that got kicked out from the bird feeder. He would eat, then go home. Every day, he hung around longer and longer, until he started roosting in a tree and “moved in”. The neighbor had lost all his hens to a couple of dogs and didn’t rebuild the coop & pen. He didn’t feed the rooster either. Totally free range. We managed to catch the rooster and put him in a pen adjacent to some 10-wk old pullets. He immediately cooed to the pullets and kept watch for predators. He counted them every morning when they came out of their coop. The neighbor came by and said “he looks happy and I know you’ll take good care of him”. The ladies are grown now, he is a good rooster and not aggressive to the hens, us, or our little dog. He has become quite tame, unusual for his breed. They free range for a few hours most days and he herds the ladies into the coop in the late afternoon. He even comes when we call his name, Dazy-Boy (silly, but it suits him) He is one handsome fella.

      • Betsy Howard says

        Sweet story. So glad for a happy ending for a sad beginning. Hope you get biddies. You did not say what kind they were. Does he follow the ladies in at night or stay outside to guard them?

        • Deborah Gioello says

          The ladies are Black Australorps and Buff Orpingtons. He goes in with the girls in the evening. He’s a good boy. No chicks, as of yet.

  12. Vonda Medeiros says

    Gee it seems no mater what there can always be a bad mean one in any Breed!
    So far from doing many researches and reading reviews… only Brahma and Faverolles Roosters don’t have that reputation!
    I finally gonna get chickens after debating on it forever! Lol I love the characteristics of Australorps , Lavender & the Blue Black a Orpingtons , Faverolles! Not to mention these are gorgeous birds!
    Great article! Thank you!

  13. Of Goats and Greens says

    I have a few roosters. Last year’s Silver-laced Wyandotte got both nasty to me and to his ladies, and had to end up in the freezer. So many bald spots! I now have a sweet gentleman barred rock. For the second group of hens (which are a lot younger and new), I have a speckled Sussex, who isn’t all that happy with me, but is nice to the hens / pullets, (so I can deal with this)… however one of those putative hens is appearing to be a rooster, too. A white Rhode Island. He/she? is very friendly so I may end up keeping her over the Sussex. Waiting for this to play out. Oh, I did try to introduce a Welsummer cockerel to the original hens after the first rooster had to go to the freezer, but while he was friendly to humans, he dragged all the girls around by the neck, so he had to go.

  14. Lyndsey says

    I think I would like to get a rooster to protect my flock because I live in a rural area where there’s plenty of predators, but I don’t want one that’s going to be making my hens go bald or in general being very rough with them when mating. Are these breeds that are “good with the ladies” also gentle with their ladies in that respect? Thanks in advance! 🙂

    • jim edwards says

      Good question Lindsey, thanks for asking. I will watch for intelligent replies! I am in the mountains of WV. Fox, raccoons, possums, hawks, and owls. As I design my coop, I think I will wire the top to keep the owls and hawks out.

  15. Rachel Howell says

    I was intrigued by your assessment of the Barbu d’Uccle roosters. I have two and one is fine, but the other, ………….!! “Mr Grump”is incredibly aggressive to any human. He attacked my six year old grandson who was utterly traumatized by him and he has attacked me several times including a month or so ago; the deep scar on my shin is still healing up and I was just walking out of the chicken mansion.
    We had fairly serious words and foot exchanges and he skirts around me sometimes now.
    You mentioned being feisty in the mating season. I am just wondering when that is supposed to be as according to Mr Grump it never ends, even continuing through the winter! He has a big harem of girls as well; eleven d’Uccles and twelve active layers and he tries it on with all of them. He still grumps if I go into the mansion to collect eggs.

  16. Juli says

    You will not get a sex linked chick from a Delaware rooster over a Rhode Island red hen. It is the other way around. The Delaware Hass to be the head with the Rhode Island red father.

  17. Richard Chiger says

    I have had many roosters. I don’t think there is a way to stop a human aggressive one from being that way. I believe that the behavior is genetic. I had one Sumatra, many years ago, that attacked everyone but me. I had to find him a new home because he went after my daughters. My favorite breeds are New Hampshires and black Minorcas. i have had really nice roosters in both of those breeds as well as ones that were aggressive. I also like buff Wyandottes. I had a buff rooster named Wally, and he was terribly human aggressive. I had to keep him locked up if anyone went into the chicken yard. I think the most beautiful of the roosters are light brown leghorns. Mine were flighty but not nasty. The rooster I have now, Myron, is a dark Brahma. He is a sweetheart. He, however, dislikes one of my hens. She is the bottom of the peck order and instead of protecting her, he bites her when the other hens go after her. I don’t understand. I think a flock of hens without a rooster is truly missing something. They are all so beautiful and I love the way they sound.

  18. jim edwards says

    I am a newbie, as I am just beginning to make the coop. It will probably be spring before I acquire chickens. Now does it matter if I mix and match? Is it best that if there are 2 of a breed? Does the rooster, if I get one, have to be the same breed as the chicken? I am sure some of these questions are answered in the mass of info here, but it would help me to organize my thoughts. I am thinking of 6-8 chickens. Jim

    • Rose says

      Whenever I get more chicks, I always get different breeds. They are all so pretty I can’t make up my mind. I like the assortment and they all get along fine. Each batch of chicks always stay together when they free range but integrate fine with the rest when in coop or pen.

  19. Karis says

    We’ve tried barred rock roosters twice and both times they had to go into the pot. We’ve loved our Orpington and production red roosters- never had Any aggressive issues. We got astralorps this year and our rooster is mean. Not sure how much longer he will be a part of the farm. Handling doesn’t guarantee anything either. Our kids loved on a hen raised barn mix rooster and then one day he turned mean. He jumped the fence and ran my son down. That rooster didn’t get to see the next morning. We love having roosters for fertile hatching eggs and for protection but you have to be open to letting them go if you or your kids aren’t safe.

  20. Ann Cavallito says

    Is there any one who can look at a few pictures of chickens and tell me what they are??? I ordered a mixed Rare breed collection from a hatchery and I have no idea. I’ve got plenty of pictures, but would love to know what kind they are. Also, we have a rooster that seems a bit aggressive with kids now; afraid he’s going to get worse. The others are quite fine now. Where do you “re home” roosters in case he doesn’t settle down?

  21. tracy strehl says

    We had what we thought were all female.chicks ..one australorp(esmerelda) became weak and sick. I nursed and separated her to keep from being trampled. Now it appears that this runt, weak bird is a large in charge beautiful rooster… had a large bright comb and stout legs and about 2 to 3 times the size of the rest… but I still said to myself.. esmerelda. Until I saw the deed. Wow. Is the shock just for 1st timbers or do you all feel it?

  22. Suzanne-Marie says

    Great article (another one, thank you!), this time on roosters.
    Though I kept chickens years ago, had been “chickenless” for 4 decades.
    This late winter we bought 15 chicks (1 Leghorn, 5 Dominiques, 4 Rhodies, 5 Orpingtons.) Out of this great lot, we were lucky enough to get 1 perfect-for-us rooster, which we call “Orp”. My younger son, who is also owner of our ranch here, was careful to pick up Orp from a youngster, wanting this rooster to be tame-enough for humans to be around.
    We live in the Sierra foothills, with chicken predators in abundance. We only let our flock out of their large secure fencing on occasion, but, when we do, they are relatively safe because of Orp.
    Orp is exactly as you describe: a fabulous protector of his ladies and fearless in his bravery. About a month ago, when a wild turkey was being snatched by a bobcat from her wild flock which was pecking at scruff close to our then-free-ranging chickens, Orp chased after the bobcat predator, out into the surrounding scrub! Couldn’t defend that wild turkey, but, he gave it his all for his ladies! He’s great! Makes certain his ladies are fed the best scraps when we give treats, always watchful — and gorgeously assertive!
    Son makes certain to pick Orp up every day.

  23. Richard Chiger says

    I have had many roosters and it really depends on the individual bird for how it is going to behave. I have had roosters that were just delightful, even, as you put it, cuddly. I have had others that were human aggressive, all raised the same way. You mention about plymouth rocks being really laid back; the most aggressive rooster I have ever seen was a barred plymouth rock. You could not even get out of your car. I have known others that were gentle and easy to handle. I had Sumatras, one loved me and disdained everyone else, the other went after everyone I have had several Minorcas, some were great and others were aggressive. I have a dark Brahma, now, that is a sweetheart. My favorite breed is New Hampshires. I had one that was somewhat aggressive, but most were very easy going. I think that the most beautiful of all the roosters are the light brown leghorns. I had some of those and they were very well disposed.. I really feel that a flock of hens that lacks a rooster is missing something. Someone wrote in about and already settled group of hens and could he add a rooster now. My answer is definitely, YES,

  24. Patty says

    I had a super aggressive Americauna rooster years ago. Wicked mean but only to me. I didn’t go outside without a broom to defend myself when he was loose with his hens. Then…he had bumblefoot. I treated him for bumblefoot with antibiotics and soaking his foot in a Betadine solution twice a day, He recovered and never tried to attack me again. He continued to drop his wing and posture at me to impress the girls but he almost winked at me while he was putting on his show. Never made another move towards me.

    I cast one vote in favor of the possibility of an aggressive rooster turning non-aggressive.

  25. Lilian says

    I have 2 Buff Orpington bantam cockerels who I’ve raised from chicks, they are both very friendly. One injured himself and I had to bring him inside. He is now fully recovered and loves to sit on my lap and sleeps on my bed at night. So cute.

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