Bully Roo

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Avrilon, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. Avrilon

    Avrilon Out Of The Brooder

    53
    1
    41
    Aug 2, 2007
    Georgia Mountains
    I have seven 8-week old Black Copper Marans. While we are finishing up the chicken coop, they are staying inside with us in a big dog cage and seem happy and comfortable. They have quite a bit of room though have been outside in a 10 x 10 run during the day for the last few days. It rained with a lot of wind today so had to stay inside. Could one of my cockerels have cabin fever or something? For the past hour or so he has been attacking different birds - both male and female. And then a big fight ensues. The fights went on long enough that it looked like someone was going to get hurt. I pulled him out twice and put him in a large pet carrier just to make sure I knew who the bully was. Once removed, the rest get along fine. These are my first chickens and I don't know if this is normal behavior. It sure doesn't seem like acceptable behavior! Big ol' bully...

    Should I take him out of solitary confinement and just watch for awhile? What if he keeps pushing others around?

    Any advice would be most appreciated. Out of the seven birds, it appears I have 4 - maybe 5 - cockerels. [​IMG]

    Avrilon
     
  2. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    4,996
    200
    311
    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Yes it is boredom and overcrowding. If you have another dog cage or pen or something, split them up into two groups and see if that helps.
     
  3. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    4,996
    200
    311
    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Also if you have that many cockerels you are either going to have to get some
    more pullets, or get rid of some cockerels, because when they get a bit
    older they will severely stress the pullets, as they will all be trying to mate
    with those two girls! And yes, there will be a lot MORE fighting in close quarters.
    We have a bigger flock and we have several roos but it only works b/c they free
    range over a few acres, and we have a decent sized barn where they roost at night.
    They can spread out and have their own space and a few hens apiece. And we are still
    getting ready to rehome a couple of our roos. It just doesn't work well otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011
  4. Avrilon

    Avrilon Out Of The Brooder

    53
    1
    41
    Aug 2, 2007
    Georgia Mountains
    Thanks Chickmania [​IMG] Yes, we plan to get rid of all but one of the cockerels, but haven't decided which one to keep. Plus, I've read here that it's not so easy to sex them... some who look like a cockerels at this age might not be. ??? All I know is that the two pullets have tan looking small combs and the rest have pink, much larger ones. One is in-between comb-wise. I don't think we're going to breed them, so I might just keep the two for-sure pullets and give the rest to an acquaintance who breeds them.

    I put the aggressive cockerel in a very large dog carrier and he's gone to sleep. The rest seem very happy together. We need to decide what to do soon though; I hate to see an unhappy bird all alone. I tried putting a buddy in, but the buddy chirped and chirped and when I opened the door he ran out and back into the other larger cage with the rest.

    Thanks for your help!

    Avrilon
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011
  5. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    4,996
    200
    311
    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    You're welcome, maybe try putting two in with him, idk. Or hurry and get the coop done. [​IMG] I don't like them to be alone either b/c once they're alone, they tend to kind of stay that way. And you're right, you never know for sure until they crow, or until they're five or six months old, anyway, when you can usually tell by the tail and the way they're built. But just b/c they have big combs doesnt necessarily mean they're male. Anyway, good luck, maybe he's one of the ones you should get rid of.
     
  6. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,100
    58
    231
    May 25, 2008
    Idaho/Utah
    Here are tips to help foster peace & safety among chickens in small spaces.

    Put some obstacles in the coop that less dominant chickens can hide behind, jump onto and run around while evading attacks from the other chickens.

    ***Always be sure no blocked-off or dead-end areas are created where chickens could get cornered.***

    Sacks of feed, buckets, additional perches, trash cans, etc. can be useful.

    **Window frames** (with either glass or wire in the middle) leaned against things can also be excellent for a flee-er to run behind and be protected yet be able to keep track of aggressor's travels. Window frames are even better if you can nail them so they are stand vertically and are at 90 degree angle to the wall. Then a fleeing chicken can also have the option to jump up and perch on the top edge to escape, plus the pursuer can't immediately chase him if he jumps down on the opposite side.

    Lower-ranking chickens also appreciate shadowy, cluttered areas where they can hang out and not be noticed as much.

    It helps to put food & water in some of these areas so less-dominant chickens still get plenty to eat and drink.

    Also, you can try sprinkling greens or scratch around to keep chickens busy spending the day searching the food out. Or fresh vegetables or fruit such as cabbage or apples that the chickens have to vigorously peck at a while to eat.
    ------------------------------------------------------
    If the fighting doesn't mellow out in a couple days, you might try this method to get a chicken (usually a roo) to quit bullying. It might help your chickens out. Be careful not to overdo, though.

    You can use tape or a strip of leather or something to hobble your over-aggressive rooster's lower legs together (MAKE SURE that the hobble is sturdy, though--Otherwise the roo will manage to wriggle free and your efforts will do no good at all in curing the problem) with just enough length that he can walk but not jump up & spur or run really fast. When you put him down, the other chickens will sense he is handicapped and generally dive at him (**You MUST stay there to supervise and make sure things don't get TOO rough on him**). LESS THAN A MINUTE of this may get a rooster humbled enough that he never bullies again.
    It can take rooster that was hobbled 2-3 weeks to feel confident enough to hang out comfortably with the other chickens again.
    BE CAREFUL WITH THIS TECHNIQUE! Even a little too much time at other chickens' mercy can be very detrimental to thrashee's self-confidence (and possibly result in too much physical damage, too). I think it would be better to do TOO SHORT of a hobbling session, if in doubt, and then do a second session if needed a couple weeks later.

    Best wishes!
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011
  7. Avrilon

    Avrilon Out Of The Brooder

    53
    1
    41
    Aug 2, 2007
    Georgia Mountains
    Thanks, SpeckledHills. That is some helpful information for sure and I'll keep it in mind. Right now everyone seems okay. I've connected a very large dog crate to their existing cage that almost doubles their space - and they're checking it out and not as bored - yet. It's supposed to rain again today and their current temporary run isn't covered, so they're stuck inside. Why did hubby bring home older birds before the coop was done?!? [​IMG] The plan was to get babies so we'd have time to get the coop finished. Well, the babies have since arrived too so we have them in our living room as well! (in a different brooder of course). Plus, this chicken math thing is crazy. I was never good at math to begin with, but I'm even worse at chicken math.

    Thanks for the advice, guys! So far so good today and I'm out to work on the coop! [​IMG]

    Avrilon
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by