Originally Posted by Ridgerunner The other side to this is that I have been reading that cockerels that grow up without a rooster or older dominant hens around tend to be nasty little boys.
Don’t put too much faith in this. I do like a mature rooster in the flock when an adolescent is growing up to take over, it keeps things more peaceful, but I’ve had some really nice roosters that grew up without this influence. The key is “grow up”. When they are adolescents they are quite typically nasty little boys, with or without the influence of older chickens. Once they mature enough to take their flock master duties seriously they usually mellow out.Also, would the cockerel be any less aggressive in a few months or would he be just as poor mannered but larger and stronger?
Once he really matures he should be a lot less aggressive toward the hens, but until he matures he will be bigger and stronger. If you can get through that adolescent phase you should be OK but the adolescent phase can be hard to watch.If I leave him in with the pullets, where should I draw the line? Should he be removed if he draws blood, or.. what?
I generally leave them alone unless I see blood, which I never have. Yes, the pullets will be harassed, but I consider that chickens being chickens. Over the past few thousands of years chickens have developed techniques to growing up in a flock. One big caveat to that is that they need room. If the pullets don’t have room to get away from the cockerels or avoid them when they want to, your chances of problems go up.
I have also wondered if I should separate him behind some wire mesh so he is still part of the flock, but unable to hurt any pullets. This option seems kinder than keeping him alone in a bachelor pad but also like it might just wind him up and make him impossible to integrate back into the flock..
Don’t worry too much about being kinder. I don’t advocate being cruel, but they are chickens, they will adjust. He won’t like being in a bachelor pad, either by himself or with other cockerels, but he will be OK. It can still be a good life. If you keep him separate like that until he matures, when you let him go he will immediately mate a few hens to establish that he is dominant. They will probably accept him with few issues, though the dominant hen may resist him for a while. If he is not fully mature there could be more issues, but normally they aren’t too bad. I do think it is important that the pullets mature some also. They have a part to play in flock dynamics. At least wait until some are laying.
If you have another fairly mature, cockerel/rooster the situation changes. They will determine which is boss. That might be a small skirmish or two or it could become a series of serious fights. If you have a lot of room it normally works out but occasionally you have some that are just going to fight to the death. The less space they have the higher your risk.I want to mix the two groups fully this weekend, but will my hyperactive little thug be a problem?
If you have sufficient room, probably not. But each situation is unique in many ways. It’s something you need to watch. The problem, if there is one, could easily come from a different chicken.
I somehow only saw your first post when I replied earlier. I'm feeling allot more confident in managing this with all of your advice. Thank you. I haven't seen him being rough with that pullet or with any other flock mates since. I don't get to spend that much time with them during the week but I will get a better idea of how it's playing out on Sunday. I agree with what you said about kindness, they are not pets, I want them to live chickeny lives. I was just concerned that isolation of either kind would be un-chickeny.
They do have plenty space to escape each other and I will be finishing their run in the near future so they will have more space as they grow.
It seems like I have allot more pullets than cockerels (I'm glad to hear you think the rocks are pullets). I have this little marans and I'm pretty sure that one of my younger light Sussex is looking cocky:
The other four younger chicks I wouldn't want to guess at this point, two are sultans so I expect to wait a while to know with those. Of the older 11, I have three silkies which I expect to be ambiguous for some time, the other 7 all seem to be pullets. As long as all my silkies and sultans don't end up being scrawny cockerels, I will be very pleased with the ratio of cockerels to pullets. I do need to think about filling the freezer though, so I'll be ordering some meat birds soon.