after rooster fights, introducing 12 hens

JerJohnson

Chirping
Nov 26, 2019
20
77
64
Monroe, NY, Schunnemunk Mt.
hi all, thanks for sharing your experience previously. I had a bunch of serious fights among my maturing roos recently. Some are still in rough condition. I have 12 roos, 13 hens. I am getting 12 more adult hens tomorrow to help mitigate the imbalance and the fighting. Any experience blending this size of 2 groups? I`m in Monroe, NY, my birds are free-range birds. Thanks in advance for sharing your experience. J J
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
75,045
82,009
1,607
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I have 12 roos, 13 hens. I am getting 12 more adult hens tomorrow to help mitigate the imbalance and the fighting.
Those numbers are not going to help much, if at all.
You need to get rid of some males.
What are your goals for keeping chickens?
You only need one male to make fertile eggs.

...and yes, consider biological/medical quarantine:
BYC Medical Quarantine Article

my birds are free-range birds
But how big is the coop?


Here's some tips about.....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,594
13,151
707
Southeast Louisiana
I believe yours are about 6 months old. You do not have roosters, you have cockerels. Young males hyped up on hormones. Especially if they are raised together mature roosters may work out an accommodation with each other in taking care of the flock, usually involving a lot of room, or they fight to the death getting to that accommodation. Your immature cockerels are going through the process of working out an accommodation or killing each other.

Many people are able to keep a pretty peaceful flock of all males. As long as there are no females to fight over their dominance fights are often not that much worse than the dominance fights of an all-hen flock. Sometimes pullets or hens die in those all-hen flocks, but not that often. Sometimes cockerels die in all male flocks, but not real often. But if they have one female to fight over, they fight. and it can get serious.

If you want more females, get them. But do not expect those fights to stop. It doesn't matter if there is one female or 100, they will fight.

So what are your options? Remove all or all but one of the boys from the girls. That can be a bachelor pad where no girls are allowed, you can eat them, sell them, or give them away.

You can leave more than one with the girls and remove most of the others. Your odds of them working something out without killing each other improve some the fewer there are. That's not because there are more girls to go around for each but because the severity of the fights has a lot to do with individual personalities. The fewer the boys, the fewer the personalities to deal with.

Let them fight it out. You can get more girls if you wish. It won't matter to the boys but you might want more girls.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 12, 2009
7,496
7,525
536
western South Dakota
I agree with Ridgerunner (a highly respected poster) your fighting will not be affected by adding more birds to the same area. Many people are quite surprised at the violence roosters can produce.

I just recently visited a place where there were multiple roosters, I counted 8 and there could have been more, in a flock of hens (didn't count). And Shaddrack must have something similar in a pretty much totally free range situation, so it can be done. However, this is a multi-generational flock. There are older birds, and younger birds, bigger birds and smaller birds in a lot of space, with a lot of cover, and hideouts.

Thing is, that is a totally different societal dynamic, that a 50/50 flock mate growing up together society with no older birds, and no bigger birds to thump some respect into the juvenile cockerels. There tends to be a theory that growing up together will lead to tolerance, and it does with a lot of pets. However, with chickens I really don't think it has any positive effect. The juvenile cockerels are bigger than the pullets, and running wild and full of hormones, and fighting. Fighting that can get ugly.

I recommend, reduce your rooster flock anyway that has been mentioned. You do not need to do them all at once, but keep thinning it until, you get some harmony in the flock. Let this flock grow up, get some society established, then next year, you cam probably increase your rooster level if you want.

To keep roosters, you need a sharp knife and the ability and will to remove problem roosters. That is animal husbandry, and it is considered kinder than letting nature take her course.

Always solve for peace in the flock, fighting roosters constantly cause commotion, draw the attraction of predators, and is very hard on the pullets, even if they are not in the fight.

Mrs K
 

CatWhisperer

Crowing
6 Years
Jun 16, 2013
1,341
4,482
341
northwest Arkansas
Do you have someplace to establish a bachelor flock? I love all my little serama cockerels but their teenage antics were too much for the rest of the flock. They live in my backyard now and are my favorite and tamest birds.q
 

JerJohnson

Chirping
Nov 26, 2019
20
77
64
Monroe, NY, Schunnemunk Mt.
I agree with Ridgerunner (a highly respected poster) your fighting will not be affected by adding more birds to the same area. Many people are quite surprised at the violence roosters can produce.

I just recently visited a place where there were multiple roosters, I counted 8 and there could have been more, in a flock of hens (didn't count). And Shaddrack must have something similar in a pretty much totally free range situation, so it can be done. However, this is a multi-generational flock. There are older birds, and younger birds, bigger birds and smaller birds in a lot of space, with a lot of cover, and hideouts.

Thing is, that is a totally different societal dynamic, that a 50/50 flock mate growing up together society with no older birds, and no bigger birds to thump some respect into the juvenile cockerels. There tends to be a theory that growing up together will lead to tolerance, and it does with a lot of pets. However, with chickens I really don't think it has any positive effect. The juvenile cockerels are bigger than the pullets, and running wild and full of hormones, and fighting. Fighting that can get ugly.

I recommend, reduce your rooster flock anyway that has been mentioned. You do not need to do them all at once, but keep thinning it until, you get some harmony in the flock. Let this flock grow up, get some society established, then next year, you cam probably increase your rooster level if you want.

To keep roosters, you need a sharp knife and the ability and will to remove problem roosters. That is animal husbandry, and it is considered kinder than letting nature take her course.

Always solve for peace in the flock, fighting roosters constantly cause commotion, draw the attraction of predators, and is very hard on the pullets, even if they are not in the fight.

Mrs K
Well spoken, thank you
 
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