2 year old roos fighting suddenly Update


11 Years
May 15, 2008
upstate NY

I have two roos, now 2 years old, who arrived together as chicks and have grown up together. They came mixed in with my order of pullets for layers. They've always gotten along fine, the white one the boss. Yesterday I wasn't home, I worked a double shift, but this morning my DH said the white roo was "acting funny". When I was out doing the morning chores, the two of them were tussling as they do every morning when they come down off the roost. Only this time the red one was dominant. Now, the white roo is pacing the end of the run, back and forth across the end fence. He's clucking like a hen and is clearly worried and wants to be farther away but has nowhere else to go. I need to go out and watch a while to be sure he's getting food and water....

Do y'all think they'll settle down, and how long can I give them (assuming everyone is able to eat and drink). Thankfully, the red roo has broken off both spurs, so the opportunities for damage are reduced... I have another coop, adjacent, but the meat birds are in there, for another 6 weeks. so right now I have nowhere to separate the boys.

Gee whiz, they've gotten along fine for two years - why the change now???

Any suggestions/advice appreciated!

Ok, as the day went on, the white roo (who'd always been the boss but lost the fights) spent the entire day pinned up against the end of the run fence, pacing, panting, stressing. The red roo wouldn't let him near the feed or water, if the white one took one step away from the fence the red one would attack, chase him around the coop, flogging him. I put feed and water out near the fence for the white one and kept an eye on things (I was weeding and mulching the garden ten feet from the coop). The poor white roo was so stressed I was afraid he'd die of it before the DH got home. I put grass clippings in with them, trying to keep the red roo occupied. Didn't work. By the end of the day, from bouncing off the fence with his feet when attacking the white roo, the red one had broken off both spurs completely (not a bad thing!), also broken off three toenails and had a gash on another toe. He's been missing some tail feathers for a long time, but now he was so focused on the white roo that I saw one of the hens picking at his butt and he didn't even notice.

The way the coop is set up, I can't easily get in, grab a bird, and get out without letting the whole flock out. Also, I have nowhere else to put a bird - the new coop has the meaties in it for the next several weeks. So - by the time the DH got home, the red roo was pretty battered. Though none of the injuries were life threatening except maybe from infection, he'd still need to be separated from the flock to heal and to keep him from doing more damage to himself by attacking the white roo. After watching the situation for a while, the DH agreed that we needed to remove one of the roos, and because of the injuries, we agreed that it should be the red one.

So, sadly, we culled him that evening. The white roo is my favorite anyway - he's just gorgeous with his gold hackles and dark wings over the light body... and he's a much happier boy now - and what a huge difference in the hens, too. I never realized how much tension there was in that flock even when the boys weren't fighting. Wow. These are my first chickens, and I didn't want any roos at all. Someone at the hatchery wasn't paying attention when the sexed my sex-link "pullets"! I feel badly anyway, because the red one was just being a roo - he wasn't doing anything wrong from his point of view. I would rather have re homed him, but couldn't subject the other roo to more days of that kind of stress, nor the hens either, and didn't have anywhere to put him while trying to find him a home...so he's gone, and it's such a relief, though I'm still sorry it had to be that way.
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Chicken Addict Wanna-be
9 Years
May 27, 2010
Piedmont, NC
Certainly, I am no expert with chickens and completely defer to those who will post after me.

That said, have you wormed them lately? I was just reading that wonderful thread on worming procedures and how a chicken can have an infestation that doesn't show in its feces for a while, yet it can be bothering the chicken greatly with no outward symptoms. (Perhaps a little weight loss.) If chickens are anything like my dogs were, when one is ill they might get picked on. Since your white roo has been dominant all this time, if it's similar, then I would check him over well to make sure he isn't ill in some way, especially since you were told he was "acting funny."

Please don't let me worry you. This is just my hypothesis based on NO bird knowledge, but using my experience with various mammals. Perhaps it's just time for a deworming.

Good luck. I hope they are able to work it out amicably.

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