Boys are starting to be boys! What to do with these cockerels?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Kris5902, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

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    Ok, so I may have gotten a little burned on a “chicken deal” for Sapphires. I told the breeder we have a farm, and think that equated “they can take a bunch of cockerels”. My “blue laying” group of 10 chicken has 7 cockerels (not going to be seeing many eggs from them, eh?) They were “about 5 days old” when I got them, and started showing combs and wattles within the first week I had them.

    They are now about 9 weeks old. I’m moving them out to their new tractor today which is 6x12 feet, and out of the 4x4 (now fully mesh covered cause those little suckers FLY!) brooder. I’m a little worried because everytime I go in to feed and water them now I’ve got 8 or 9 chicks jumping out and then a bunch of mini cockfights trying to start! I broke up three yesterday morning while I was feeding. Yes, of course the ones I wanted to keep (nicest combs and feathers) are the worst bullies. I broke them up by speaking sharply to them and walking directly at them, “I am the dominant rooster, not you little boys!” Idea from some other Rooster handling threads (it seemed to work quite well).

    Is this breed usually aggressive, or are they just feeling cramped and that’s their way of expressing happiness when they come out and get extra space? My other chickens, 14 weeks now (I think), 6 cockerels (3 Barnvelders, 1 BCM, 1 Olive egger, 1 ‘WheatBar’ blue layer) and 6 pullets are behaving much less aggressively toward each other, and Mr. Marans is even starting to display some mating behavior (today he tried to mount a hen and grab her neck feathers!)

    Suggestions? Opinions? Should I be starting another ‘bachelor’ tractor ASAP? Will they settle a bit? I only plan on keeping two of the Sapphire boys, but they are so small, I wanted to grow them out for a while before they go for processing... $15/chick + feed is darn expensive for a future dinner, so I’d like them to get a bit bigger first!
     
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  2. Thejperez

    Thejperez Crowing

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    In my experience chicks just like to play fight. Male, female, big, small, they all have play fights.

    When they start to be aggressive towards you, you should grap the little buggers who are giving a problem and press them to the ground. Your hand on their back and hold them there until they stop struggling, then a while longer after that. That should keep them from getting too cocky with you.

    Cockerels go through a Roller coaster. Starting out nice, then becoming aggressive because they're trying to settle a pecking order, then calming down again, then the hormones start kicking in and trying to fight and breed everything.

    I would start a Batchelor coop. I've had great success with mine. The aggressive cockerels wouldn't really be good candidates for flock cockerel or as a breeder, so take that into consideration.
     
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  3. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    I advertise free Cockerels. All go quickly.
     
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  4. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

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    I wish... we are on an island, there’s only two other people here, maybe three, who keep any roosters, and no one does meat chickens for sale (yet!;)) chances of someone paying $40 or more for a ferry to come get free cockerels is unlikely. Most people who keep chickens here buy point of lay pullets for $15-20 for their laying flock and aren’t really looking for pretty eggs
     
    chickens really likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    The extra space might help.
    I slaughter cockerels at 14-16 weeks.
    But I don't have a separate enclosure for them.
     
  6. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

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    My heavier boys that are behaving less like hormonal teenagers would be almost big enough at that age... but these boys are very light, I don’t know that it would be worth it to send them in, and I was hoping to ship them with my first batch of meaties in about 3 or 4 more months.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I slaughter my own....so no processing fee.
    Yes, light on meat but it's tender enough to put on the grill for that crispy skinned deliciousness....and the grilled bones make excellent stock.
    I don't have to space to keep them to grow bigger...and want them out of the mix before they start creating too much havoc.
     
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  8. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

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    Yes, the havoc avoidance is big on my to-do list! If it comes down to it I will probably buy a cone and process them myself for personal use. I will most likely be on my own though, because the other people here have very strong (negative) opinions on slaughtering chickens, and pigs for that matter as well. Just me and the you-tube tutorials...

    I’ll probably get flack for it though, as there’s also very strong negative opinions on “D” and “E” class licenses for abattoirs as well (E covers home slaughter for personal use and farm gate sales, D allows more sales to direct users, neither of which a Meat Inspector is present for the slaughter, and basically no Sanitation requirements. We have an “A” class plant, and there are very good arguments against the “D” & “E” ‘s.

    I fall into the you should be allowed to do what you want with your own livestock and your own land, so long as you’re not endangering others camp. So although I feel personal use is fine, when people start selling un-inspected meat that may not have been properly handled to the general public... not fine.
     
  9. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

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    I got my first crow this morning! From my 9 week old Sapphire boys when I went to let the chickens out! And it was a real “croak-a-croakel-koo”, and then I got about 5 more from him... but I couldn’t see who was doing it as they were still in their roost-box. They are still hiding in there... not too sure about this “outside” business. I have all their food and water out, I pulled some out and showed them breakfast. I’m sure they will get hungry and come out eventually.

    The Sapphire crow also set my dominant cockerel in the other pen, Mr. Marans off... and he almost crowed as well!
     
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  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I have no assistance either, but only do 4 at a time.
     
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