Beta Rooster Habits and Quality of Life

angelinagreena

In the Brooder
Oct 26, 2020
24
73
43
Tennessee
Really? Why do you say that? He doesn't seem to have health issues (maybe stress?), just waaaay more docile. I figured it was more of a breed issue. I really don't want to get rid of him, especially with his temperament, that's why I'm thinking of building him his own bachelor pad ;-)
Also, I failed to mention, he does roost with everyone at the end of the night, and is located with some of the females (not off by himself). He's definitely beneath our wyandottes and other rose comb brown leghorn females, but above our buff cochin and buff laced polish girls.
 

LaFleche

Free Ranging
Sep 22, 2012
3,069
10,622
512
Germany
Also, I failed to mention, he does roost with everyone at the end of the night, and is located with some of the females (not off by himself). He's definitely beneath our wyandottes and other rose comb brown leghorn females, but above our buff cochin and buff laced polish girls.
Well, that paints a different picture then. Maybe separate him with the more docile hens.
 

Silkielee

Songster
Aug 18, 2019
355
682
161
Australia
I like your idea to give him his own ladies in another coop :) especially since you like him. I wonder how he will go with the ladies, if he will become more of an outgoing and dominant roo? .. I didn't want to part with either of my 2 boys so I have a coop with a roo and his ladies and a separate coop with 10month old cockerel and 2 pullets (but I have an issue with not enough girls I think).
 

HiEverybirdy

Songster
May 5, 2020
166
440
116
East TN
I would say that if you do handle your birds and are established as what I call an "other benefactor" you might be able to show them where Ezra stands by giving individual attention to the roosters in front of one another (e.g. petting, hand feeding, etc), while continuing to give preference to Barry (i.e. feeding him first, allowing him interrupt you briefly when you are feeding Ezra). Hopefully, and there's no guarantee, this would reinforce with them that Barry is number one (in case he was worried) and maybe establish that Ezra is special and welcome. I have no science behind this, but I've observed that my dogs, cats and even birds study how I interact with animals they consider a threat or a meal. They always seem to change their attitudes when they see us feeding and handling.
It's cool how you point out the "other benefactor." It seems like people's impact on flock politics, especially with roosters, isn't very well understood. I've been thinking about keeping a behavioral journal for a better handle on how my actions affect our flock (as well as weather, health, new layers, etc.).

Anywho, I second @Silkielee - I like the idea to give him his own docile flock. OP, I do wonder if there's something else you could tweak about the space that would let Ezra shine as beta rooster. Or if spending more time with Ezra could elevate his status enough for Barry to let him out of the coop. It's so hard to know. Roosters sure don't make it easy!

Thanks for sharing your situation because the responses are enlightening. We also have 11 chickens and 2 cockerels: an 8-month Brahma and a 6.5-month Easter Egger.

The EE cockerel was a sexed-pullet accident. Everything I'd read said he'd have to go unless we got more pullets. I've met a 50-year chicken keeper with perfectly happy 1:4 rooster-to-hen ratios but didn't think I had enough experience to pull that off. However, currently we have a good alpha-beta balance happening.

In our case, I think the space helped. We have 3 coops in a 2K-square-foot protected yard with tons of places to hide, dustbathe, eat, and drink. It's been awesome to watch the guys function together. As long as they continue to be sweet to the pullets, I feel safer for having 2 roosters with the flock. The little cockerel gets a lot less "tread time," but he's great at watching for predators (he'll chase down squirrels!) and despite the fact that he doesn't have his own harem, he still ends up with plenty of attention. For istance, there's an EE pullet who loves to groom, and she'll stand between the cockerels and alternate pecking schmutz off each one.

I bet Barry's a fantastic protector, but Ezra deserves lovin', too :) Sending good vibes to help you figure it all out!
 

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