Cockerel behavior questions

Jun 20, 2019
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Mississippi
I have some questions. Here’s the background. We have 7 pullets and 2 cockerels that all grew up together. 12 weeks old. I realize that’s not enough girls per boy but they grew up together and have way more than recommended space in the run so I’m hoping to keep both but prepared to to cull one or both if necessary. One cockerel is a BLR Wyandotte and the other is a Lavender Orpington.

1. The cockerels get along great so far. BLRW is dominant and the only one who crows. When will I know whether or not they will continue to get along?
2. When will I know whether or not they are good to the pullets?
3. When should I expect behavior to change with me? Right now both are tame. the Orpington doesn’t want to be pet but will eat out of your hand. The Wyandotte will jump up in my lap and even lie down—he likes to be pet. He pecks at my blue jeans and my ring and sometimes gets some skin but he will stop if I bump him or tell him no. I’m 99 percent sure they are curiousity pecks and not aggressive pecks but at 12 weeks old I’m not sure how I would tell a difference.
This is my first time with cockerels so I’m looking for advice. I’m assuming I’m getting pretty close to time to be watching for behavior?
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
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I would keep an eye on the curious one as he gers older. Make sure that throne in charge isn't constantly harassing the other male.

My silkie male started to get testy with other males at about 23 weeks, but they developed slower too, and he calmed once the males dwindled in number (it was about 1:1 ratio at that time)
Also, even if you plan on keeping both, it is best to decide now, and keep deciding, which you want to keep if you must cull one
 

Folly's place

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It's about watching behaviors and having that separate place available on short notice if things go badly. I'm not impressed with your 'curious' and 'friendly' bird; that's really pushy behavior that could get much worse. And I have zero tolerance for any human aggressive behaviors, if that's how either of these cockerels develop.
These cockerels will be maturing sooner than the pullets, so they are likely to turn into obnoxious adolescents soon, and harass their flockmates. Any actual injuries would be a cull factor here! Also any bad thoughts towards any humans, not acceptable. Both boys might turn out well, or neither, it's just too soon to know.
And having both may be too much stress for your pullets, who need to be considered first.
Mary
 
Jun 20, 2019
219
398
156
Mississippi
It's about watching behaviors and having that separate place available on short notice if things go badly. I'm not impressed with your 'curious' and 'friendly' bird; that's really pushy behavior that could get much worse. And I have zero tolerance for any human aggressive behaviors, if that's how either of these cockerels develop.
These cockerels will be maturing sooner than the pullets, so they are likely to turn into obnoxious adolescents soon, and harass their flockmates. Any actual injuries would be a cull factor here! Also any bad thoughts towards any humans, not acceptable. Both boys might turn out well, or neither, it's just too soon to know.
And having both may be too much stress for your pullets, who need to be considered first.
Mary
Yeah I have a big cage and I actually have another small coop that could be ready in 24-36 hours so that part shouldn’t be an issue.

Im fascinated by the Wyandotte who comes and sits on my lap. He is the alpha between the two of them right now. And like I said, he pecks at my jeans and stuff but he is totally relaxed—he does it while lying down so it doesn’t seem aggressive . Just seems weird. I really want to keep both but I’ll get rid of them if I need to
 

Tonyroo

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Mar 29, 2020
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Well if you do want to keep both cockerels, you will need a separate pen for them. There hormonal impulse will lean aggressively, so you don't want the hens near them during that time.

The hormonal stage takes about 2 to 4 months to get through. The period varies with breed. But once they finally calm down that's when to judge if they fit your priorities in a rooster.
 

BigBlueHen53

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Mar 5, 2019
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My advice is to get your separate coop ready now. You say it can be made ready in 24-36 hours. Don't wait until one or both of your cockerels start hurting your hens to start getting it ready, or until the cockerels are fighting each other. Those particular 24-36 hours may not happen to be convenient for dedicating time for working on the coop, and meanwhile your flock could be suffering stress and possibly injuries.

When my cockerels were 12 weeks old (there are 6 of them), I pulled them from the flock and now have them in a separate, smaller run and coop alsong with a mature rooster. I've had a mixed flock before and it's not pretty, what hormonal juvenile males do to the young pullets! Time enough to put the rooster back in when the pullets start to lay. And at that point the cockerels are off to camp.
 
Jun 20, 2019
219
398
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Mississippi
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They are 20-21 weeks old now. Still no serious problems but the Orpington did stand up tall and puff out his feathers at my 10 year old the other day. He didn’t jump on him or bite him so we are keeping an eye on that. So far they still don’t fight one another and they aren’t rough on the same aged pullets other than biting them behind the head every once in while. That seems to be pretty rare and they let go quick.


I’m probably giving too much info but this is our first time with boys so just trying to be careful.
 

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