Aggressive Roosters

jrpierce72

In the Brooder
Feb 7, 2018
6
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31
Medford, OR
We have 12 chickens snd were intending on 11 hens and 1 rooster but ended up with 10 hens and 2 roosters, They have all been handled since hatching. We knew that one of roosters would have to go at some point but now both of the gentleman have become quite aggressive towards me as well as to the hens. They are 5 months old and buff Orpingtons. They free range during the day and the roosters will follow me around to harass me and the hens would prefer to stay out all night rather than pass by the roosters. I usually carry them in one by one.
so my question is this - would one rooster tend to be less aggressive overall if he was the sole male with 10 hens?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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and the hens would prefer to stay out all night rather than pass by the roosters.
That is not an acceptable situation, IMO.

would one rooster tend to be less aggressive overall if he was the sole male with 10 hens?
Maybe, it's good place to start.
Put one of them into a crate and see how the other behaves.

If you don't need a male bird, for fertile eggs, get rid of both of them.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Sep 13, 2011
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Get rid of both of them! Not only are they making your pullets miserable, they are harassing you. Nice cockerels and roosters don't behave that way, and these babies are only going to get worse.
In spring, order some more straight run chicks, and see if you can get a nice one then.
Also, @BantyChooks , @Beekissed , and @Shadrach have good articles about roosters that will be worth reading.
Here we expect our cockerels to be concerned with their hatchmates, and don't make pets out of them.
Mary
 
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nuthatched

It's Soup Season!
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Nov 9, 2019
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Dispatch them both, they will not get nicer, do not rehome them, no one wants that problem.
If you want a rooster, get a boy come spring and try again.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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Feb 2, 2009
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You do not have mature roosters and hens, you have immature cockerels and pullets. The differences in behaviors between immature brats with hormones going wild versus mature adults that have learned self control can be dramatic. Watching immature chickens going through puberty is often not for the faint of heart.

Why do you want a boy? What are your goals with chickens and how does a boy fit in? The only reason you need a male is if you want fertile eggs, everything else is persona preference. Nothing wrong with personal preference, I have a few of those myself. But that is a want, not a need. I generally suggest you keep as few boys as you can and still meet your goals. That's not because you are guaranteed problems with more boys, just that more problems are more likely. You may be seeing some of that now.

I use a lot of weasel words like can, might, if, or could because you don't get guarantees with living animals. Sometimes things work out great in spite of what we do. Sometimes they are disasters regardless of what we do. Each chicken has its own personality and each flock has its own dynamics. The girls can have a big influence on those flock dynamics but it sounds like the boys are your issue.

At five months your cockerels are probably suffering from out of control hormones telling them to dominate the flock. Sometimes that leads them to fight each other, sometimes it does not. It usually means they try to mate with the pullets. They are not trying to fertilize non-existing eggs, the mating act is an act of dominance. The one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. At that age it is almost always by force. The girls haven't matured to the point that they understand what is going on but they know they do not want to be dominated by a snooty brat. So they run away and avoid them. This doesn't bother me as long as no one is getting hurt but it can be hard for some people to watch. Since violence may be involved it is possible someone could get hurt.

I think you asked a very good question.

would one rooster tend to be less aggressive overall

Possibly. Sometimes the competition between them makes behaviors worse. No guarantees of course but I think removing one is worth trying if you really want a boy. It might help, it might not. Yours free range so outside room isn't a problem. Being crowded can make behaviors worse.

All this above is about them being aggressive toward the pullets. I don't know what that aggression towards you looks like. I'm willing to cut a young cockerel like that a little slack the first time, they don't win that fight. If he does not learn really quickly that is bad behavior he is quickly gone. So one pass. If he is aggressive toward someone else, adult of a kid, he gets no second chances.

My first suggestion is to decide how many boys you really want: 0, 1, or 2. Many people are quite happy with 0 but your goals and personal preferences are what counts, not mine or anyone else's.

If you decide 1 or 2, you can just let them go. See what happens. That's pretty much what I do. You might want to isolate one or both of them from the girls until they mature, maybe 2 o 3 months, then try again. Something might work out, or you may decide to get rid of both. I strongly suggest having an area ready so you can isolate one or both if the need arises.

If you get rid of both my suggestion is to wait until the girls grow up, then try bringing in a mature rooster. A one to two year old rooster would be good. In Oregon and with your girls I'd think March or April would be good. Introducing a mature rooster to a flock of all mature hens is usually about the easiest integrations there is. The girls are old enough to accept him. A good rooster swaggers in full of self-confidence and wows them with his magnificence. He mates one or two and the flock is his. Sometimes the dominant hen objects to losing her flock master status and there can be some violence between her and the rooster but usually not. If there is that should be settled in a day or two. Some roosters are just not good so this doesn't always work but it usually does.

I'll repeat myself some. No one knows how a living animal will behave. You just do not get guarantees. I suggest you try something and see how it goes. Trust what you are seeing more than what a stranger like me says over the internet. Then take appropriate action. As far as I'm concerned there are way too many good roosters out there to put up with a bad one. Aggression towards people is bad.
 

Mimi13

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Jan 6, 2018
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I love what everyone else has said. I was told again and again what @Ridgerunner just said,
As far as I'm concerned there are way too many good roosters out there to put up with a bad one.
Only problem was, I wanted THAT one, the one that was being bad, to everyone and everything. I finally gave in and put him in the freezer.

Now here is my two cents of rooster rearing and I truly believe in it. All of my BAD cockerels were of the same age as the pullets. I bought them all at the same time. No bueno IMO. It wasn’t until the cockerel I was wanting to keep (from a hatching of mine) and growing up around 25 older hens that I finally got a good one. First of all, he was far too busy watching his back from all the older hens, that were much too anxious to read him his rights, to even be concerned about me and possibly planning a sneak attack from the rear. Let me reiterate, growing up with older hens was the key to my very good cockerel. However, I do have two girls, my oldest two, that wanted nothing to do with him...that is until they needed protection from another overly amorous cockerel a year later.
 

sourland

Broody Magician
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May 3, 2009
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My gut reaction would be to get rid of both. Another option is to cull the most aggressive and closely monitor the remaining cockerel. If his aggression is spurred by testosterone and competition with the other rooster, removing the competition MIGHT alter his behavior. If kids are part of the picture, then both should be gone yesterday.
 

jrpierce72

In the Brooder
Feb 7, 2018
6
11
31
Medford, OR
Thanks for all the replies.

We opted to get rid of the more aggressive of the 2 roosters. He was not the dominant rooster and was aggressive to the hens and me (though would still sit in my lap) and then he would get dominated by the "alpha" rooster.

After his removal the balance in the flock was immediate. The remaining rooster is nice to everyone and the hens are no longer scared. There is some mating going on with the rooster favorite hens but much calmer and not nearly as aggressive. It's a completely different scene, they are all happily picking bugs out of the yard and no more screeching, all run to the coop at night without issue. We hope it sticks!

We intend to raise chicks for friends and ourselves, ie the need for a rooster.
 

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