Breeding plans-->cock:hen ratios-->fighting

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by countrygoddess, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have SG Dorkings that I plan to breed using the spiral method in the spring. This requires having 3 trios, which I have, plus one extra cockerel as a back-up. I also have 3 Cuckoo Marans pullets strictly for eggs, not for breeding. That makes 9 pullets and 4 cockerels. We have a Cochin cockerel but he's still sexually immature and doesn't really figure in at this moment in time. My Marans girls started laying about 3 weeks ago and the Dorking girls are imminent. In fact, I saw two spending a lot of time in the nesting boxes just this morning, so I'm wondering if I might get my first Dorking egg or two today.

    A few days ago, the cockerels began fighting in earnest. Their white feathers are stained pink and their combs are a mess. My question is this: what do people who plan to breed using a method where they need to keep many cockerels do to prevent fights like this? I have one 8x8 hoop coop out in a field with doors on both ends that are always open, a huge run area for them, and I also let them out to forage frequently. I let them out this morning to give them something to do besides fight and it worked--they got busy just doing their own things (and got busy mounting as many pullets as possible!). Oh, and as far as the females getting lots of attention, they are, but they don't seem to be suffering any ill consequences, such as lost feathers or bloody combs or anything. The boys are quick and efficient.

    I'm starting to think about winter, though, when I'll close one coop door, drop a tarp over that end, and they'll spend more time in there and less out in the great wide open where they have room to run away from each other. Do I have to build a new hoop coop to keep the boys in?? I've kept a flock in which there were two boys and 6 girls and the boys never fought... Oh, jeez, and I just remembered: our "yardbirds" are one bantam cock and 3 hens. In the winter they're going to have to go live with the rest. I smell a new boys' dorm on the horizon. Is it really necessary, do you think?? Anyone else found themselves in this predicament??
    [​IMG]

    P.S., they're all 26 weeks old (except the "yardbirds", which are 3 years old)
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Given the situation described, I feel that a 'rooster pen' separated from the hens is a good idea - sooner rather than later. Quarreling over the hens is likely to escalate, and roosters attacking other roosters while they are breeding hens can lead to injuries to the hens.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I house off duty birds in pens like below. In some instances hens are kept in them as well so I know which eggs are from which hen.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    How do you plan to seperate them into trios for breeding? At that point you'll have to have seperate enclosures.

    For now I agree you need a bachelor pad. You can leave a roo in with the girls and the rest go to the boys only pen. No females usually equals no fighting.
     
  5. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh, this is wonderful! So far, whenever I've asked how people keep the eggs straight during breeding season, no one has had any ideas for me. I'll do this in the spring...
     
  6. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Bachelor pad. Hehe. Well, my husband said, "They'll work it out." Gosh, I hope so. I'm going to keep a very close eye on them, and if it's looking critical I'll do something. In the spring, I plan to put together mini pens like the one posted above. And I think I'll separate out a portion of the yard and then rotate which trio can go wander and do their "thang".
     
  7. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Just an update. The boys haven't fought since the day I posted that. I guess my husband was right! [​IMG]
     
  8. Marg12

    Marg12 New Egg

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    I am in the same predicament. I had 3 roosters in a bachelors pen. I had to turn one into soup as two of them started fighting (looked as if they would go to the death). The 2 roosters left, (1 Rhode Island red 1 black Australorpe) I would like to breed. The main pen has a Rhode Island Red who won't tolerate any other roosters. He takes care of 10 hens. I free range this group and would like to free range the breeding roosters with a couple of selected hens. I also have 2 hens with new chickens and need to protect them. Looking at a mobile pen for the hens and chicks through the day but need to house them together at night. There has already been a fight between the mother hen and another hen so I had to separate them from the main bunch.
    SO 1 Managing multiple roosters.
    2 Mother hen fighting another hen and chickens at risk.
    3 Moving toward breeding selected roosters and hens.
    4 Hope to free range them all over time. I can organise separate pens but not separate free range areas. I thought of a free range roster but that will limit their free range time by 1/3rd.
    Any ideas?
     

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