Can multiple roosters co-exist within the same flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TNchickenfarmer, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. TNchickenfarmer

    TNchickenfarmer New Egg

    Jan 17, 2014
    I got my birds in May. I am down to 22 hens and 2 roosters, Big Jim and Jacques. Prior to this week, there was an established order between the two roosters but no major fights. Big Jim, the alpha would merely run off Jacques or make him wait until last to eat. This week, the tides have turned and we have had two bloody battles. Jacques is now obviously the alpha. I have several questions.

    1) Will they eventually kill each other?
    2) Should I get rid of one rooster? Can two roosters get along?
    3) Should I separate Big Jim (behind his comb there is a gash) until he is healed?
    4) Is this just a "springtime" thing?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    1) Will they eventually kill each other?

    They are living animals. No one can say with certainly what will happen. Whether they will get along or not depends on a lot of different things, their personality, how much room hey have, and things like that. The number of hens is not nearly as important as many people believe, but you are certainly OK in that aspect with 22. The more room they have the better so the loser can run away and just avoid the alpha rooster to start with.

    What normally happens is that the two reach an accommodation, much like they had until recently. They work out how to keep the flock protected with both having a part. They may split the flock with each having his own harem. With 22 hens, don’t be surprised to see some hens split off without a rooster. I’ve had two roosters that hung out with each other more than with the hens. They still knew which was alpha and the hens were all fertilized. Either rooster could be the father, thou the second-in-command had to be a bit sneaky about that. When they split the flock into their own harem either rooster could still be the father of any chick. It’s possible one could kill the other, but from what I read in your post, it’s not likely.

    2) Should I get rid of one rooster? Can two roosters get along?

    See above.

    3) Should I separate Big Jim (behind his comb there is a gash) until he is healed?

    You could, but you have an option. Get blue kote or something similar and try that. It’s possible, not guaranteed but possible, the other chickens could see a raw sore and peck at it. Blue kote might disguise the wound so they don’t peck it. Or they might leave it alone anyway. But it could be possible your hens kill that rooster by pecking at the wound.

    The problem with removing him for any length of time is that when you reintroduce him the two will probably fight again. That’s not that big a deal unless one gets hurt again. Usually they don’t get hurt when they fight but stuff happens.

    I don’t know what I’d do in your case. Either one has risks but moist of the time either one will work. Maybe select the one where you can be around to see what happens?

    4) Is this just a "springtime" thing?

    Spring could easily be a factor. Longer days tend to wake up certain hormones in roosters. Part of it could be the maturity level of your roosters. Dominance is not all that much about size. It’s about the spirit in the chicken. It’s not that unusual for smaller chickens to be dominant. Maturity plays a part too. It could easily be that your smaller chicken was slower to mature and is just now coming into full maturity. That can happen in the pecking order with your hens too. As they mature at different rates the pecking order can change.

    Multiple roosters can easily coexist in a flock. Many of us have that. But I always recommend you keep as few roosters as you can and still meet your goals. It’s not that you are guaranteed to have problems with more roosters, just that you have a little more chance of problems. But with what I envision with your set-up and room, two should be able to coexist.
    1 person likes this.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I've had a coup in the coop and the older rooster gave way gracefully and lived with the flock for another year. He was kind of on the outskirts, but still part of the flock. It's really just going to depend on your particular birds. Some will literally rather die than submit, some are okay with being beta. it's like so many things with keeping animals--no hard and fast rules, just guidelines and a lot of "try it and see how it works for you".
  4. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 24, 2009

    All depends of the individual bird and the breed.

    I have 7 roosters all living together within the same flock. Some grew up in the flock as chicks, others were bought in and introduced.

    In 6 years I have only had one rooster that would not get on with the others. He was always in fights, and would loose, but he would never give up and he kept going back to fight until he was a right mess.

    I had to re home him.

    Usually the rooster will have a quick fight, and the looser runs off. They have a pecking order like the hens.

    I think this only works when they are free range.

    I would not keep many roosters together in a run or coop.. because they don't have space to run away or avoid fights.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  5. Phoenixxx

    Phoenixxx Chillin' With My Peeps

    What Jak said. Personalities and conditions are major factors, as well as breed. I've been keeping multiple roos for almost a year now and haven't had any issues. A week ago I picked up some more chickens. I had the new roos seperated but after a couple days they busted through the chicken wire and into the main coop! The shocker is that there were no squabbles! So, I have 5 roos and 13 hens in a 6x8 coop. They do have a means of escape but with this chilly weather nobody steps foot outside, lol! I honestly don't get it - I thought for sure the two doms would've had it out, but no! And 6x8 really isn't a lot, but my coop is also 8' high with lots of vertical space for everyone to spread out in so I guess that helps.
  6. Lewischiks

    Lewischiks Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 19, 2014
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Like everyone else states, "Kind of, sort of, maybe"

    If you separate them, I would cull one, it would more than likely trigger a fight when you put him back.

    Be ready to split them, have somthing arranged so that you can, and hope you don't need it.

    Mrs K
  8. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

    Jul 11, 2014
    Orrock township, Minnesota
    I have three rooster and 27 hens, they co-exist. There are little squabbles and skirmishes but they do fine. I also have 2 Tom and 3 Male Guineas I think. Hard to tell on guineas. They are all in one pecking order kind of.

    Last night I did have a little blood on my young tom, and a rooster had a little blood on his spur. The young Tom, I think tried to push the rooster too far. It will work out.

    I have removed roosters in the past, it seems to affect the pecking order as much as bringing one in does, I free range and they all roam about 5 acres so they have lots of room to avoid each other in. They never seem to have trouble in the coop or covered runs, just when running free.

    I think whether they can co-exist is like tossing a coin, you get lucky or you don't.
  9. stacyrn

    stacyrn Just Hatched

    Jun 9, 2015
    This is truly great news! I ordered my chicks online and ended up with 3 roosters, all of which are absolutely beautiful with totally unique personalities. I was prepared to retire 2(with much regret) to my soup pot if need be but so far they are getting along and submitting to a pecking order. I have 3 roosters and 10 hens and 5 acres for them to free range. I let them out in the am and they put themselves to bed when the sun starts to descend.....all I have to do is go outside and close and lock up their coop. The flock has somewhat divided itself; some hens definitely follow a particular rooster but so far the only thing the roosters seem to fight over is treats! Hopefully everyone will learn to get along! They are awesome fun to watch and play with!
  10. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

    Jul 11, 2014
    Orrock township, Minnesota

    Not great news!


    3 roosters for 10 hens is bad news for the hens. That is too many the hens will be raped constantly and the feathers will be ripped off their backs. I keep one rooster for 6-9 hens and had some lose their feathers. I have 8 roosters in the Guinea Gulag. They do fine. I have no roosters with my hens this time of year. The birds are molting and I do not want to have the new feathers ripped off the backs of the hens this time of year. The 8 roosters are doing fine together, but I would not put a hen in there. They will stay there until breeding time. Then I will put the good roosters with the hens.

    How old are you roosters now?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by