cock fight - now what

RodneyRooster

Chirping
Mar 3, 2015
240
43
98
SA
Hi guys,

My 2 roosters fought badly tonight - first time. I wasnt home apparently they fought for about an hr, both are bleeding but its only their combs, both are moving around ok still. Soon as fight was over if wastime for bed so winner took all the girls to bed. My husband shut them in leaving the beaten rooster seperated to make sure he wouldnt be attacked again. Now Ive come home ive put him inside but on the other side. I can put the divider down and seperate them but im not sure if this will cause more harm than good having to reintroduce him. Theyve grown up together and ive never had a problem before, love them both so dont want to get rid of either. My immediate question is should i seperate them for a while and let them both recover for a few days or should i leave them as is and hope they dont pick up where they left off in the morning?

TIA!
 

TalkALittle

Songster
5 Years
Dec 15, 2014
1,661
725
191
Massachusetts
I've heard that very many times environment has a lot to do with whether multiple roosters can coexist peacefully. How many hens do you have? How big is your coop and run? Are your birds confined or free ranged? If free ranged, in how large an area?
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,902
678
296
Australia
Hard call. I would myself leave them together and see how quickly they can sort this out rather than separating them and letting them recharge both on strength and intensity of intolerance; the less they have to deal with one another the more intolerant of one another they will become. It can reach dangerous levels in 24 hours flat sometimes.

That said it's not a good sign that they were raised together but have now begun having serious scraps and it's possible they may not work it out. I didn't see the fight so don't know what level of seriousness it reached.

I've never seen good come from separating combatants and then reintroducing them, if anything it appears to be akin to baiting them, inciting them to greater aggression the more times they're separated then reintroduced. Works the same with every social species I've seen it done with.

I supervise when I introduce new roosters, or find that some of my boys are having 'serious words', and if they have had a rather serious battle and can't sort it out in the first day my experience is that they most likely will not, and one of them has to go. I used to have issues with some roosters suddenly taking passionate dislikes to others at a certain age but after selecting against those mentalities they all get along. There's a strong genetic component to the behavior.

Sometimes you get one or two that just 'snap' and that's it, they will never tolerate another rooster.

That creates ongoing issues because they tend to breed more like themselves, genetically bottleneck your flock, and if you like the rooster but want to breed other genetic lines as well, you're stuck with the choice of caging him or culling him (whether that means you rehome or eat him). I prefer mine all free range and all getting along, so that makes my decisions for me. If any chooks are detracting from the quality of life of others and the productivity of my flock, they have to go.

Personally I would supervise your boys and let them fight it out as long as they are only booting and shoving and pecking, not actually stabbing and slashing with the spurs. Most roosters will have rather civilized fights where they choose to not use their spurs on one another but merely kick with the soles of the feet. It's fighting over status not fighting to kill. Might help to blunt their spur tips if they have any, but even then they can do fatal damage if they're trying to.

Do all your hens remain in one big group? Do they flock to one rooster only? If you have anything like that going on, it could pay to introduce more hens. New hens would likely split off into another group and avoid the former lot of hens, and that would keep both roosters occupied and at a distance.

If that's not enough, and they just have to fight and are obsessed with eliminating the competition, what you do is up to you but it's worth bearing in mind that if you solve the issue by getting rid of one male, or caging him, you're setting the stage to breed intolerant attitudes on. If you want to grow out some cockerels to eat their lives will be at risk. If you want to introduce new genetic lines you may not be able to free range them due to the predominant attitude. The female offspring will also tend to be intolerant and you're likely to end up with a high-stress, vicious flock if you're not careful about the temperaments you enable to breed on. I'm anti that, but some people don't mind. It's up to you and what you're willing to put up with.

Best wishes.
 

RodneyRooster

Chirping
Mar 3, 2015
240
43
98
SA
Thank u both! Having now read that my situation is blatently obvious! They have always freeranged on a few acres. Recently they found the neighours crops (one neighbour up the rd has a big veggie patch and orchid and one up the other end has a paddock full of seeds sown) so the second i let them out they took off to feast. Obviously i couldnt let this happen so we built a fence. Or run as such. Now they are in a much more enclosed area which is why they wouldnt be as tolerant. Which i guess also means it will probably keep happening since they dont have that space. Thanks very much for your responses, they should be waking up any time now and i will see what happens..!
 

MrsBrooke

Songster
5 Years
Aug 11, 2014
2,658
308
246
Magnolia, Texas
The same thing happened in our area. We had too few hens for them at the time, and our Big Papa got fed up with our Little Mister's antics... We ended up having to build Little Mister his own bachelor pad. :)

MrsB
 

RodneyRooster

Chirping
Mar 3, 2015
240
43
98
SA
Yeah id love to do the same, have 2 seperate flocks for them but we plan on moving in 6-9 months and are only renting so cant really build much extra. And id love to get more hens but not knowing where well move I dont want to have to get rid of them in 6 months time due to lack of space! Bit of a catch 22. Theyve been on and off fighting today, think im going to supervise for a while longer as i offered the most beaten up refuge elsewhere this morning and he didnt want to leave so ill trust his judgement and let him stay for now. Cheers :)
 

sdm111

Crossing the Road
7 Years
May 21, 2013
13,209
23,586
776
S. louisiana
When u put them in the closed in area they fought for the "territory" keeping them apart and then putting them back together will make it worse they were used to their space (free range) can't put them in an enclosure.
 
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chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,902
678
296
Australia
Good luck to you and your chooks. Mine have traveled many hundreds of miles with me and lived on many different properties. They can adjust very well to traveling, though certainly it's not ideal. ;)

I only began traveling mine years after I first started selecting for nice and tolerant temperaments so I didn't have issues with my previously free ranged roosters and hens suddenly finding themselves caged nonstop. During temperament selection I used to periodically not let them out for a day or three, just take away free ranging rights, to see which chooks would take out their frustration on their cage mates under that circumstance. Those I weeded out.

But it's hard when you first start selecting for temperament, most people are more attached to their first few chooks. Gets easier once you've started and been at it for a while, by which I mean your chooks are no longer producing so many temperamentally troublesome individuals to get attached to only to have to weed them out or cage them permanently.

Best wishes.
 

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