Bachelor Flock: Worked So Far... What am I doing Wrong?

SBFChickenGirl

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This year, I decided to hatch some Bielefelders and d'Uccles for fun/breeding/maybe showing. COVID stopped the showing, but I've still got the birds. Well, with hatching comes extra cockerels. Didn't have an extreme excess, so I read about bachelor flocks and decided to try it. 2 d'Uccles and 3 Biel cockerels, who were raised together, went into a bachelor flock when the boys started getting frisky.

It went great! No fighting, no blood, they just hung out, ate, and crowed. I was like: Great! This works!

Now, come breeding season, I want to switch the cock/erels up so I can have the crosses I want. 1 Biel cockerel went into the pullet side of the coop, and my bantam cochin and EE cocks went in the bachelor flock. I knew they would fight out the pecking order, and kept an eye on them while they did that. That was Thursday. The 2 biels fought with the EE and cochin, all while the two d'Uccle cockerels were the peanut gallery. Minimal blood, the underdogs became the underdogs, and everything was great. Yesterday too, no fighting.

Fast forward to about half an hour ago. I went out to shut off the light in the coop and lock everyone up. Flashlight to the roost and one of the d'Uccles is a bloody mess. I checked the other cock/erels, and only the bantam cochin was bloody. Checked them over, and there were only superficial wounds to combs and wattles. They weren't actively fighting when I walked in, - both were on the roost - but it looked like they had recently stopped. I'm going to be up and out as soon as I can tomorrow, to check them over and watch for more fights.

But I'm wondering... will they continue? I know it might just be a matter of time, but has anyone else had an experience like this before?

Tagging people who have been helpful to me/I think have bachelor flocks.

@cmom
@aart
@EggSighted4Life
@MysteryChicken

Anyone else who might be able to help, chime in please!
 

SBFChickenGirl

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I don't have a bachelor pad, but do want to set one up.

I just keep my flocks together with roosters, & hens.

Have you thought about maybe putting a few toys in the bachelor pad, such as mirrors, balls, or treat dispensers? It might help tone them down abit.
That might work... maybe I'll get them one of those cabbage on a string things...

I'm just hoping that this was just a single time thing and won't be happening regularly.
 

Alaskan

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But I'm wondering... will they continue?

No way to know... until they do... or don't.

When shifting the males about, there is always the risk that things will not go smoothly.

Over the years, I have bred strongly for personality. Too much of an underdog, or a bully... and they were culled.

For years I had an older cock that forced all cockerels to behave. When the cockerels were feeling their oats a little blood might be seen, but not much and that old cock would soon have them all in their place.

That old cock is no longer... but after years of breeding, I can now chunk the males any which way... no problems.
 

MysteryChicken

Unique minded, open minded Chicken Lover
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That might work... maybe I'll get them one of those cabbage on a string things...

I'm just hoping that this was just a single time thing and won't be happening regularly.
(Mirrors, & treat baskets are a hit with my birds :lol: )
You can give that a try too.
 

halefamily_flock

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SBFChickenGirl

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No way to know... until they do... or don't.

When shifting the males about, there is always the risk that things will not go smoothly.

Over the years, I have bred strongly for personality. Too much of an underdog, or a bully... and they were culled.

For years I had an older cock that forced all cockerels to behave. When the cockerels were feeling their oats a little blood might be seen, but not much and that old cock would soon have them all in their place.

That old cock is no longer... but after years of breeding, I can now chunk the males any which way... no problems.
Thanks for the reply!!!

I'm hoping it was this one time. :fl

The thing is, I don't need these two d'Uccles, they are the wrong color for breeding. Tried to sell them earlier this year. Hatched 3, sold one. Still have 2. Going to try and sell some them again when I sell chicks.

The bantam cochin is my pet. Unless he suddenly turns nasty against humans... I'm going to do all I can to keep him.

Solomon, the EE, is exactly how you describe your cock. With the intro pecking order fights, I'm pretty sure that he came out on top. The biels were staying away from him and he was crowing and strutting around like he was ruler of the roost.
 

SBFChickenGirl

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I had similar issues when I setup a breeding pen and interfered with my roosters’ pecking order. The key to my success in getting things back under control was “time out” coops or pens to isolate the fighting roosters until they adjusted their attitudes. May not work in every circumstance, but here is the full story: https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...th-pecking-order.1430697/page-2#post-23589087
Thanks for the reply!!

I'll look through that thread. I thought about separating, but I'm not sure who I would separate. I've put chickens in crates before, and it hasn't done much for the chicken. Their condition always seems to worsen.
 

EggSighted4Life

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But I'm wondering... will they continue? I know it might just be a matter of time, but has anyone else had an experience like this before?
In my experience it will continue until they work it out. But my boys who fight still go to bed together and do other things as buddies. and continue to test and set boundaries with each other but not to brutally anymore. The subordinate knows his place and runs off early (morning is high hormone time) and comes back around when the coast is clear to eat.. well, I used multiple feeding stations because they can't very well dominate two at the same time!

As one poster stated.. enough cannot be said about two things specifically.. 1) a good mature head cock and 2) selection for fitting in with no bully or victim demeanor birds being kept in the stock.

When I kept a bachelor pen.. I would remove the stag over night and place with the ladies where he would spend the day. I return said stag back to the dark roost before the following (2nd) day so he wakes up again with his comrades. There isn't enough time for the bachelor pad to have starting going through any changes yet and order is maintained, drama is minimal. Since fertility is viable often for 14+ days and I have no need for long term conjugal visits. Arranging a day or two weekly during breeding season like this has been sufficient for both fertility and manageability of flock antics..

I even kept different egg color breeds.. so I could swap in the correct rooster and collect all but set from only the hens I wish to hatch.. keep 4 or 5 breeds in only 2 pastures/coops and this way. Several hens of each breed, plenty of hens to go around when needed. When space and resources are limited but goals and expectations are high.. gotta get creative. :)

The thing is, I don't need these two d'Uccles, they are the wrong color for breeding
So uhm.. compost them. :oops:

Sorry, I know that every life is valuable. But so is my sanity and the peace of my flock! It took a long time to accept that sometimes the humane thing to do for everyone involved might be euthanasia/culling for the trouble maker.. noting with COCKERELS you might just be opening the door for the next trouble maker. I liked the Biels at first.. every single one of them eventually tested me. They were tasty.

I agree separation is pretty much the end here and does not improve things IF created by ME. But if the fleeing bird can get away and stay out of sight well enough to show his defeat and submission without being cornered.. they usually slowly work their way back in and get tolerated at a distance. Stag pens.. more bachelors means smoother running as antics bounce around more like billiards table reaction and less focused on fewer individuals..

My chickens don't respond much to mirrors.. but enrichment definitely helps.. hanging corn on the cobs, visual barriers that block direct line of sight, extra roost.. anything new or even the same things moved to a different location so they have to explore to see what just happened type stuff.

Many fights look pretty bloody but are often superficial as you saw. Some are missing comb and wattle chunks here. EE aren't my favorite roosters though I love the hens. They bring no breeding value to my stock, though many are beautiful.

Hope you get some useful tips and things settle down quickly for your fella's! :fl
 

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