Sorry, this will be long. Please bear with me.
I started with 3 hens and a rooster after predator issues through the winter. These were supposed to be "production" reds, but seem much closer to full RIRs than production reds. This spring I added to my flock with golden sex links. I have ended up with 3 roosters and 8 hens from these babies for a total of 11 hens to 4 roosters. It's becoming an issue. The younger males are wearing out the older hens and the older roo does not like this. The RIR rooster is aggressive. My kids are older, 11, 13, and 15, but my 15yo daughter is scared of him and he knows it, so he runs at her regularly. He will occasional fly up at my DH. He may sometimes run at my feet, but not often, since I am the gatekeeper on the coop and the dispenser of food. He generally leaves my boys alone. Still, too aggressive for my taste. I won't turn my back on him. HOWEVER, he is a great protector to "his" 3 hens. When I give treats, he checks them and before giving them to the girls and never takes any for himself. He tries to run off the 3 younger roos from the girls, who try to gang up on any of the older hens they can catch. He rounds up his girls, keeps them close. They get distressed if I separate them from him.
Of the 3 younger ones, one is the alpha, but as he started to show aggressive tendencies, I would pick him up, hold him a lot, and carry him around. He is now the tamest rooster I have. I have one that shows very little aggression and defers to the others. Then the last roo has started to try to work his way up the chain, but he is aloof and no longer lets me touch or pet him, even in the coop. None of these 3 have ever shown aggression towards people.
The problem is that all of the roos are too much for the hens, especially the older gals (who are only about 14 months old). The younger ones are 4 months. Five of my younger hens are laying already. I know I need to get rid of at least 2 roosters. I am quite attached and hate the thought of getting rid of any, but they are too much to handle and causing quite a problem with their fighting each other and chasing hens and fighting over hens, who run away terrified. I have no idea how to decide which 2 to get rid of, and I really have a hard time deciding I want to clean and eat any of them. When the kids were little, I would've shot an aggressive rooster after the 1st offense. Our RIR, though, shows so much character and personality that even though he is a mean little sucker, I will miss him and worry for the hens if he is gone. I can't decide which roosters to keep and which to cull!?!
How do you make these decision and how do each of YOU cull your roosters? I feel like if I kill them I should eat them, but I am not sure I can make myself do it.
Edited by coffeenutdesign - 7/27/12 at 7:42pm