cockerel not interested in hens and is agressive

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mangobees, Dec 25, 2016.

  1. mangobees

    mangobees Chirping

    Nov 8, 2015
    Central TX
    I have 2 rooster brothers who are now 4 months old. they get along very well and spend all day together foraging, the main rooster will treat the other roo like a hen and call him over to get food. im glad they get along but the problem is they hate the pullets i introduced to them 3 weeks ago! ive even had to separate them at night!
    the alpha roo of the pair is slightly less aggressive, unlike the other who bullies the pullets and pulls their feathers out. what could be causing this and what can i do to fix this?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    4 months is very young.

    Give them a few more months and they'll figure out what hens are for.
  3. ejcrist

    ejcrist Songster

    Oct 16, 2015
    Desert Hills, AZ
    Personally I'd invite the biggest aggressor to supper. That way the one left alone should warm up to the pullets since he'd be a lone outcast. The only other option is to leave them alone and see if they work it out.
  4. Hi. [​IMG]

    Neither of those are roosters yet or will be for a long time.

    They are still very young, and you should count your lucky starts. Once the switch flips and hormones kick in you will see both of those boys chasing a girl and grabbing her neck feathers while she screams and they mount her taking turns pecking her and other things. They will get the most docile pullet first and work their way up. They will not take no for an answer and you will hear screaming most the day long. Right now they are probably practicing with each other.

    After they start to mature a little they will drop their wing and dance for the lady before trying to mount, at which point they also usually know how to accept NO for an answer. Shortly there after they will call the ladies to treats as often as possible. And it will be much later than that before the male starts to defend his harem.

    Before that though, you can be assure that when a boy hears a pullet screaming, he will run as fast as he can to try and get in on the action. When they hear the commotion they know the girl is already caught. My very youngest who recently is at that stage tries to go into the egg box and pull the most docile pullet out to mate.

    I am building a stag pen for a reason. We won't be butchering before 16 weeks and some much later. By 16 weeks my BFCM are trying hard to mate, while my SF aren't even thinking about it yet. So some breeds and individuals mature faster and act more aggressive.

    So in reality, you might be thinking attempts at mating are bullying! They also tend to focus on the girls that are actually at or close to laying age as well. It's kinda like a young girl may start ovulating but isn't quite ready for those advances. The boys are ready a little sooner than the girls.

    My version of aggressive would be pecking me or starting fights with everyone in the flock. Also, whoever seems to be your top cock, can and probably will change through out time. The pecking order is a very fluid thing.

    Incidentally, are you planning on keeping both of these boys and for what reason? How many girls have you got?

    Happy Christmas!
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    EggSighted, how many cockerels do you have in with how many pullets?
  6. Well, before my stag pen was complete and we started culling... I had 7 cockerels I was growing out to choose breeders. And they suddenly hit maturity before I realized how bad it would be and our pen was delayed (as so many people discover things come up). About 21 pullets at that time. But the boys would all gang up on the weaker girls as some of the older girls would beat them up. Some were from different broods and the boys matured faster than the girls. Right now I am down to 3 of those cockerels. But I have 1 more set starting to hit that point which I will be growing out 3 more boys and that group will add 6 pullets. My end result will be 2 or 3 roosters and 30-40 pullet/hens. Right now my bird total is 42, we already butchered 6 boys. And my youngest group has 6 boys we will be butchering when they are the right size. My pen should be complete this week, finally.

    I know my set up was part of the problem. But it was a great learning experience that I won't have to repeat again. I am definitely open to any helpful advice. [​IMG]
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I too don't have a dedicated stag pen, and that time between adolescence and butchering/ rehoming of excess cockerels get pretty 'dramatic'. I also will keep an extra cockerel or two over winter, in case of disaster, and the loss of a male for a breeding group. I do free range whenever possible (not in 12" of snow!) which minimizes difficulties. Right now I have two cocks, three cockerels, and forty-three pullets/ hens. All is calm, but probably won't be so nice in spring, when it's likely that two of the boys will be leaving. Because I have both standards and bantams, I probably would need two stag pens, and I'm not that motivated... Mary
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    A few years ago, I hatched out 25 chicks, and ordered 25 straight run. I ended up with about a 50/50 split of cockerels to pullets. Once those boys hit that hormonal stage, the pullets didn't stand a chance. It was pretty much as you described - if one was chasing/ mounting a pullet, more would want in on the action. I finally penned them up in my extra coop/run and used it as a grow-out pen. Peace and harmony reigned once again. I decided right then and there that that will be my method for raising cockerels from then on out. Let them range until they get to "that point", then pen 'em up! I may even start penning them up younger, to hopefully put more meat on them before butchering day. Haven't really thought too much about it yet.
  9. I free range sun up to sun down. But they would come running from across one acre when they saw a particular pullet, all of them. Poor girl, she is on pet status right now!

    I can not wait for peace to return to the point I have considered not keeping boys at all. But we still want to eat chicken and refuse to support the industry. And without having to buy chicks all the time. Plus I would like to have them broody raised outside. It's coming soon! We actually spend time cock blocking before sun down so the girls can eat and dust bath peacefully. Morning and evening when they gather near the feed is the most active times right now.

    I will do the same, put all the boys in the grow out stag pen before they start chasing the ladies.

    It is quite amazing to see the transformation of maturity and how they just learn to do certain things like the dancing without even being taught.

    Another issue for me is one of the cockerels is starting to go after my frisbee dog. So even though my dogs may be well behaved, I can see for the cocks' sake they need to not be in our play area. My oldest is 8 months and the behavior keeps changing. He is finally starting to after the 2 (8 week) younger boys. And had never looked at me cross eyed, but I think he might have tried to step up to me the other day. In truth, only reason that one lives is because my cone was too small so he got lucky! He is not one of my intended breeders though, so he better mind himself. He is pretty good to the girls who give it up. But will peck down and not let past on the roost to the girls who don't!

    So interesting to see their natural behaviors.

    I also have a few bantams and am considering a completely separate pen because my full sized boys are definitely mating them...

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