So, reading this has got me wondering. I have 2 hens and 14 chicks, 12 weeks old or so. Some I know are cockerels, some I think are and some I think are pullets (probably 6 pullets and 8 cockerels). As the boys come of age, they'll try to mate the hens-- so do I separate out the boys to protect the girls? The female chicks won't be ready for that and probably won't attract attention, but my 2 poor hens! I"ve read that you should pen up the males as soon as you know which they are until they age a bit. those of you who have had chickens for years, what suggestions do you have for me? I got them for meat and, hopefully, to hatch eggs, but I don't want to hurt any of the ladies. I can separate the girls from the boys as I determine which is which, is that my best course of action?
I'm not extremely experienced with cockerels, but here's my experience. I bought 8 chicks in my first batch 1 turned out to be a cockerel, but he was/is EXTREMELY sweet. He has not been separated from the batch (they are 7mos 1wk now). My second batch of chicks (I was waiting for ameraucanas, which turned out to be EE) I bought 6 chicks, 1 turned out to be a cockerel, not only a cockerel, a MEAN little bugger. He ALSO turned out to be a RIR instead (somehow he ended up in the "ameraucana" bin). He would jump on the other 5, pull on them, he was just downright MEAN. I got rid of him, he went right back to the store I got him from. He was NOT mean to me, but he was mean to the chicks. When I tried to introduce to the rest of the group he had the nerve to challenge my other cockerel who was HUGE compared to him (this 2nd little dude wanted NOTHING more than to fight). By the time I figured out he was a cockerel (and his breed), thanks to help online, the decision was made that he had to go. The rest stayed and have been integrated into the flock and are doing well (they are 6mos old)
My main concern in your batch is the ratio of cockerels to pullets/hens you have (when they reach maturity). I'm not exactly sure what I would do, but I know I wouldn't keep all of them in with the hens/pullets. Maybe pick the calmest of the batch and keep that one in (i.e. the "favorite")? My main concerns aside from potential fighting between the males is over-mating. BUT, that's just basing on what I have read the ratios should be etc.
I bought sexed pullets, so I think my ratio of only ending up with 2 out of 14 chicks wasn't bad. One of my little pullets died at 3wks old (some type of neurological issue, she never was right from the minute she was brought home), and then I took the other cockerel back to the store, which left me with 10 pullets and 1 cockerel. I plan to add a few more in, but probably not until spring. I won't be keeping any other cockerels I might end up with.