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Can roosters live separate until breeding time?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by HSMomma3, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. HSMomma3

    HSMomma3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi everyone!
    Sorry if I'm repeating another thread... I've tried to search and can't find the answers I need. Any advice is appreciated!!

    My questions is about whether roosters can live separate from the hens most of the year and then be reunited for breeding time in spring -- without stress or fighting/hurting the hens? We aren't "new" to chickens, but have moved to a new farm and are building our new coop. We will have 12 hens and 2 roosters, (6 and 1 of two different breeds). In the past, I have learned that I am not good at "handling" an aggressive rooster, so I don't want the boys to be free range out in the yard along with our girls. Our last roo went to freezer camp after attacking everyone in our family except my 6'6" husband. This time, we plan to breed our own chicks in the future, so we want to definitely keep the roosters (one Orpington and one Wyandotte). So... Can I build a separate coop and run for the boys and keep them contained while we let the girls free-range? I've read here that if they can see the hens, they will still fight each other. But it also seems like the roosters should be "acquainted" with the girls if I expect them to mate without injury. How can this work?

    Thanks so much to anyone who can help.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    If you make a spacious pen where the roosters can get away from each other you certainly can keep them separately, I would let them see the hens so they are familiar with each other.

    I do want to add that the best way to have respectful roosters is to never handle them except to pick them up and move them, they grow up with a natural wariness of their keeper. Mine go the other way when they see me. When they reach sexual maturity and start making the hens scream they get chased off by me either by have something tossed in their direction like a plastic scoop or I get out my chicken catching net and they get harassed a bit, just like an older rooster would do to them. I don't think anyone should live in fear of their chickens, it's mostly being confident and becoming familiar with rooster behavior.

    I'm not sure how you plan to manage the breeding of the hens, you will at some point need to handle or know how to catch and move the roosters in and out of the pens than round them up again.
     
  3. HSMomma3

    HSMomma3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, it was a long road to freezer camp with our roos last time. My husband was completely confident alpha around him and never had trouble. I just couldn't get past my fear. I tried the "hit him with a feed bucket" approach, tried being loud and kicking him when he came at me (thought I was going to kill him I kicked him so hard...) but somehow he still sensed my fear and I was losing the battle. My husband will definitely be the one working with the boys for breeding time, and maybe just maybe we'll have better luck with a kind and gentle rooster this time around. Thanks so much for the advice!!
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Once a rooster is coming at you like that no amount of trying to stop him will work, some younger roosters try out their attack skills on humans and they can be quickly reminded, but what you had was a hopeless case. I had one rooster like that, he wished me dead, I had handled him and his brother a lot because they were frizzles, his brother remained nice but he became Satan. Eventually I couldn't take him no more an my husband culled him, he said he went out cussing and swearing.

    Chicks come into this world wary of everything, I use that to my advantage by keeping the roosters slightly afraid of me, never any petting or directly giving them treats. I was terrorized by roosters as a kid so I know that fear. Hopefully you can get some better roosters and some of your fear can dissipate. I wish you luck. What breeds of roosters are you keeping? Some can definitely be better than others.
     
  5. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    There are some lovely roosters out there, I think I'd be more inclined to keep searching till I found some with lovely temperaments. Even seperate you are going to have to go in there to feed and clean etc. mind you it could be a way to palm those jobs of on hubby lol
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There really are some sweet roosters out there. First I would make sure that is what I had, especially if you want to breed from them, you would really not want to breed an aggressive rooster as there can be a genetic component to behavior. Then I would let him/them with the girls, especially if you are free ranging them. A good rooster will offer some protection to the flock or at least be a warning system so the hens can hide or get away in case of trouble, often why a rooster is lost instead of a hen.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    i used a water pistol with my roo as a preventative measure - he soon got the idea that seeing me coming with that in my hand meant a lap of the garden for him while i was around.

    CT
     
  8. HSMomma3

    HSMomma3 Out Of The Brooder

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    At our last farm we had a nice variety of breeds, but this time we are sticking with just two - Buff Orpingtons and Silver-laced Wyandottes. Those are the two breeds that were the best out of our last flock - affectionate, calm, good layers - so we'll have 6 hens and one rooster of each. I will definitely try the approach of NOT being "lovey" on the roosters... I always thought it would be better if I was his buddy. Never thought of keeping him cautious of me, that's a great idea thanks! My husband tells me (and I know he's right) that it's a mind game and that these animals are so good at sensing MY frame of mind, so I've just gotta pull myself together and keep these boys in line. LOL! We will give it a go with everyone together and see how things ride. Sure appreciate the advice! :)
     
  9. HSMomma3

    HSMomma3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for this! I guess I knew that already, just wasn't keeping it in mind. You're so right, that we shouldn't breed him anyway if he's aggressive. Our first flock was a terrible experience with roosters, largely because we purchased from a local farm who "told us" that he could sex the chicks. Instead of just a few roosters, we ended up with 12!, with only 6 girls... we had so much fighting and competing that we even ended up with a rooster that was blinded by another's pecking. We culled them down to one, but he never calmed down. So I guess it's hard for me to remember that some roosters are actually NOT aggressive. ;) But thank you for the advice, it's much appreciated!
     
  10. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    A squirt bottle will become your best friend and your rooster's worst enemy.....
     

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