Cockerel Aggression.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by psychemy, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. psychemy

    psychemy Chirping

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    So I have two cockerels. They have grown up together along with two other chickens (which I'm pretty sure are pullets). They were always well behaved and lovable. But lately, and especially today when I let them into the yard, I've noticed that they're getting very aggressive towards each other and the pullets. They are not aggressive towards me however. Melon (named because he likes watermelon) is below Roos (the other one) on the pecking order but he is always instigating the fights. I've noticed that this doesn't really happen as much or on this level when they are inside their run. Is there something about the open space that makes them more prone to aggression? What should I do about this, and if I were to re-home the two cockerels, would the other two be alright on their own?
     
  2. Butterscotchbitesfinger

    Butterscotchbitesfinger Free Ranging

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    Yeah, the other two will be fine if you choose to re-home, you should get rid of one if you want a rooster with your flock. And a few more hens with him, unless your prepared to build separate coops for each rooster and buy more hens for each rooster...
     
  3. psychemy

    psychemy Chirping

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    Thank you :). Yeah I was thinking of leaving one but I'm not sure which one to keep. One keeps starting the fight, but the other one is more aggressive. :hmm
     
  4. Butterscotchbitesfinger

    Butterscotchbitesfinger Free Ranging

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    Well, roosters that are agressive towards hens I would avoid but human aggression is easy enough to deal with you just have to be prepared for hard work
     
  5. Butterscotchbitesfinger

    Butterscotchbitesfinger Free Ranging

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    Rooster fights are natural
     
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  6. Notaneggspurt

    Notaneggspurt Songster

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    How old are they? If they are just now starting to reach maturity than that's fairly normal behavior. I take it your pullets aren't laying yet? With only two possible pullets it might be best to rehome one of the cockerels. I'd say try to wait long enough to see which one your pullets like more. First criteria though should be no aggression towards people. I'm really hoping it works out, even if it means rehoming both cockerels. They two pullets would be ok. Though chicken math 2 pullets now + chick days around the corner equals two hens plus more pullets and maybe cockerels next year :jumpy

    Most of the successful stories I've seen with people that have two cockerels usually have enough girls that each basically has their own flock. One lady I knew had a mixed flock where one rooster had 4 girls that favored him and the other had 6. It was rather hilarious to watch as I'd never seen a bantam rooster make the moves on a lf hen!
     
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  7. psychemy

    psychemy Chirping

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    They're about 15 weeks. And no, the pullets aren't laying yet. I'll try to keep an eye out to see which one they prefer. One of them is right scared of me but the other one less so. Could that be a factor in deciding? Oh wow it would be great to work out like that but we just haven't got enough room for so many! Also bantams are so cute! Thanks for all your help :)
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    I've noticed that also. Cockerels tend to not fight nearly as much in closed spaces as they do in more open spaces. I don't know why. Good observation. Welcome to the forum, by the way.

    As others have said the two pullets will do fine on their own. I prefer a minimum or three though. They are social animals and really like company. If you just have two something can happen to one and you have a lonely chicken.

    Right now your cockerels are going through puberty. They have been setting up the pecking order/dominance positions in the flock for a while but they are maturing at different rates. As the less dominant matures he has hormonal urges that tell him to take over so he may instigate fights. Sometimes those are not much but sometimes they can become serious. From what you are saying it doesn't sound too bad but it is hard to predict the future.

    The boys will notice the girls, that's part of the hormones too. At that age it's more about dominance than sex. The one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. At that age it is usually by force. Sometimes it is not too bad, sometimes it can be hard for the faint of heart to watch.

    Because of the social structure in a flock it is hard to determine which cockerel to keep because of behaviors. The dominant one is the flock leader and has certain duties, responsibilities, and privileges. For some of those duties he has to be dominant. How can he break up fights between hens if they turn around and beat the crap out of him for example? When you have two or more males the dominant one suppresses the behaviors of the other males. You don't know how the non-dominant one will behave once that controlling one is gone and he is left in charge. On the other hand the competition from the underlings can sometimes make the dominant one more aggressive or assertive than he would naturally be. Once the pullets and cockerels mature the flock usually becomes really peaceful but with them all going through puberty and especially the boys' hormones being so strong a pullet/cockerel flock can be really messy.

    I tend to choose the more dominant male on the theory that he has more self-confidence so he can win over the hens more with personality instead of having to rely on force, especially once they all mature. You can never tell when a male will become human aggressive, which I don't tolerate. I think the more dominant are less nervous about their position so may be a bit better about this but I don't know. With yours I don't know which will be the more dominant in a couple of weeks as they go through puberty.

    Now my standard disclaimer. The only reason you need a male is it you want fertile eggs. Everything else is personal preference. There is nothing wrong with personal preferences, they can be a really strong motivator. I typically suggest you keep as few males as you can and still meet your goals, whatever those are. That's not because you are guaranteed problems with more males, but that the more males you have the more likely you are to have issues. I don't know your goals so I don't know if 0, 1 or 2 is the right answer for you but I'd discourage trying two from what little I know.

    Good luck!
     
  9. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    If this is your first flock, remove both roosters, and replace with two hens. Roosters are a crap shoot, and IMO need an experienced keeper. Create an all hen flock, and keep that for a year or two, and then if you want branch out into a rooster. Most people seriously under estimate how violent roosters can get. Inexperienced people often times miss the signs of the building aggression (sometimes experienced people do too.)

    Contact your local feed store for possible people that have chickens near you. Or your extension agent, or a local 4-H club... all people that might have some point of lay pullets to replace your roosters with.

    In a small set up, two roosters is too many.

    Mrs K
     
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  10. psychemy

    psychemy Chirping

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    Wow thank for all your help. At what age do they typically mature? Honestly I don't need fertile eggs, it's just that I've gotten a bit attached to everybody! :bow
     
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