Are my cockerels horndogs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DJASBC, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. DJASBC

    DJASBC Songster

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    Okay, so I have 4 chickens and 4 ducks in one pen. 2 of the chickens are cockerels. They are "teenagers" and all approximately 3 months old, give or take a couple days. They started out in separate pens, but the one cockerel (rosecomb bantam), kept hopping the fence as a baby and snuggling the ducks. He wanted to be with the ducks at all times or he'd get upset. He started crowing at 2 weeks old. He is the leader of all ducks and chickens in his mind. So a few times in these past couple of days, for no known reason, he's grabbed a female duck by the feathers on the neck and pulled down- completely upsetting the ducks but not drawing blood. What the heck? He loves the ducks, so it doesn't make sense that he'd try to attack them... is he trying to mate with them? I didn't get too upset before because it's actually kinda funny seeing this tiny chicken trying to ride a nearly full size duck. Then, this morning my rhode island red cockerel jumped ontop my Japanese bantam. I'm no expert in chicken mating but it really looked like he was trying to mate. The bantam didn't mind either. Plus, that's the first time I heard him crow. He's the passive cockerel. I started reading up and saw that one cockerel getting horny so young can make another cockerel get horny at a young age too. Are they mating? At 3 months? Should I be worried? Has anyone had this happen to them?
     
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  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Yep, cockerels can begin to sexually mature at 3-4 months.
    Some will try to mount anything they can.
    Multiple males create a competitive environment,
    which can definitively increase all their efforts to dominate and mate.
     
  3. DJASBC

    DJASBC Songster

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    thanks for the insight... and wow, learn something new about chickens everyday. Should I be worried or just let nature take it's course?
     
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  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Depends on your goals.
    Cockerels often cause chaos, stress, and even injury.
    Keep the minimum number of cockerels to meet your goals.
    If you only want eggs, you don't need any males.
    Much depends on the individual birds.
    Always good to have a separate enclosure/crate to separate troublesome birds.
    I hatch out replacement layers every year, the cockerels get slaughtered for meat at about 14-16 weeks old, just before they start causing too much trouble. I do not need more than one male and don't have the space, resources, or desire to keep a bachelor flock.
     
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  5. DJASBC

    DJASBC Songster

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    Well, they're just pets, not for eggs or meat. I've raised ducks, and planned on them, but having chickens turned out to be a happy accident. I'm a good student though, and trying to learn everything. The 2 cockerels are our favorites and we just bought 10 more pullets to decrease the risk of them fighting. They're still tiny though and in their own pen. They're all in our basement too while we're building them an extra large coop & run. Between their 25'x25' living quarters and having 20 acres for them to roam, space shouldn't be a problem. Got the space and the number of ladies taken care of. Fingers crossed that things work out. Here's a picture of them being carefully introduced to a new pullet:
     

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  6. featherhead007

    featherhead007 Free Ranging

    Very cute, but I wonder what those roosters are thinking?:confused:
     
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  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    That's a big coop!!
    When will it be done?
    Build a separation section in there, will ease integrations(tips below).
    Crates are still a good thing to have.

    The 'rooster' to hen ratio of 1:10 that is often cited is primarily for fertility efficiency in commercial breeding facilities.
    It doesn't mean that if a cockbird has 10 hens that he won't abuse or over mate them.
    Many breeders keep pairs, trios, quads, etc
    It all depends on the temperaments of the cock and hens and sometimes housing provided.
    Backyard flocks can achieve good fertility with a larger ratio.


    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.

    I, and many others, like to integrate new chicks young:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/integrating-new-birds-at-4-weeks-old.72603/
     
  8. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Crowing

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    Horndogs. I had to click on the link when I saw that. LOL. Yes, roosters are absolute [email protected] when it comes to sex; eminent gentlemen otherwise.
     
  9. DJASBC

    DJASBC Songster

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    Wow, that was a great read! You're so creative on their "jungle gym" lol. I love how you use tupperware lids too lol, so do I. Luckily their current pen is made out of several dog pen/crates that I can indeed use to section off their coop & run for newbies. Never would've thought about the scratch grains along the fence. You are the best! Thank you for the information :) Their new home will be done by january. We don't have any human children, so the birds get extra spoiled because they are our children lol. Here is a picture of my boyfriend building the coop last weekend. Rosecomb bantam (aka Daffy Duck) likes to fly on our shoulders and is supervising the construction:
     

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  10. DJASBC

    DJASBC Songster

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    Lol yeah they are totally loving to my boyfriend and i, but i had no idea they could get so frisky at a young age.
     
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