Cockerel trouble.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LindseyHouser86, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. LindseyHouser86

    LindseyHouser86 New Egg

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    This is my first time owning chickens, I mistakenly bought straight run silkies. I ended up with two cockerels which I don't mind because they are both very loving birds. My two male silkies are starting to fight and they are not even fully feathered yet. Do they need to be separated? Or will they just work this out on their own. They are not injuring each other but it scares the other birds.
     
  2. peaceisgreen

    peaceisgreen Out Of The Brooder

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    michigan
    sounds like teenage angst to me how many hens do you have?
     
  3. PirocaKeeper

    PirocaKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As sadly as it is, you need to carefully let them duke it out, there is a pecking order in the chicken world and only one can be at the top. Sorry to say, I have 6 weeks old chicks are have a few males and they are going through the same thing. The key is not to let many gang up on one, but in your case you only have 2, so one of them will be #1 and the other one will be #2 in rank, although they will test those ranks every now and then and the order can change a couple of times. Good luck!
     
  4. peaceisgreen

    peaceisgreen Out Of The Brooder

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    michigan
    ^^well stated
     
  5. LindseyHouser86

    LindseyHouser86 New Egg

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    I only have 2 cockerels and 2 hen silkies, in the same brooder as 15 other hens (mixed breeds) They are all young and do not adult feathers yet. I'm not to worried because they are not hurting each other but at the same time was worried
     
  6. Sneebsey

    Sneebsey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They oughtn't hurt each other. As they are all quite young, you'll probably see a little bit of scrapping and hen-pecking even in the hens just as they sort themselves out and figure out who goes where in the pecking order. Silkies are generally pretty docile, and since they're still young, any full-blown dominance battles shouldn't be too much of a worry; they'll have sorted themselves out by the time they are big enough to do any damage to one another. [​IMG]
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    That is extremely normal behavior. Each chicken in the flock needs to know its social rank so they know who has to defer to whom. That’s a way they’ve developed to live together peacefully in a flock. Other social animals do the same thing, a herd of cattle or horses, or a pack of dogs for example. Sometimes determining that social order isn’t very peaceful, however.

    I don’t know how old yours are, I’ve seen two week old chicks do things like that. They sometimes start sorting out that pecking order pretty early.

    With cockerels there is something other than pecking order going on. They are working out which will be the flock master, the dominant rooster. While females will also fight to determine pecking order, the cockerels are usually a lot more serious about flock dominance. Usually they work this out between themselves and come to an accommodation to work together to protect the flock. The more room you can give them the better. When the fighting gets serious it often involves some running away. It helps if they have room to run.

    I don’t want to frighten you because it usually does work out fine but you need to know what’s possible so you can protect against it. Occasionally cockerels or roosters will fight to the death. Due to personality one just won’t quit until either it is dead or the other one is. As mentioned, Silkies usually don’t fall into this category. Most other cockerels and roosters usually don’t. But with living animals you don’t get guarantees.

    Sometimes one gets injured in these fights. Chickens can become cannibals. If one starts bleeding any of them can start pecking that wound and make it worse to the point it gets killed. It doesn’t have to be the other cockerel, it could be any of the pullets pecking at a wound. If you see blood drawn it’s a good idea to separate the injured one until it heals up a bit. From what I’ve seen the others in the flock don’t always attack and kill a bleeding bird, usually mine don’t. But it’s possible so I consider it a reasonable precaution to remove a bleeding bird or one with a raw wound.

    I’m going to emphasize space. When two chickens fight, male or female, usually one decides it is better off running away instead of fighting. There may be some chasing involved, but usually if it can run away and get away things are settled. There may be a repeat performance, but if it can get away things work out peacefully. It has to have enough room to get away. If it can’t run away the winner doesn’t know it won. It keeps attacking. When these fights get serious, the loser typically hunkers down and tries to protect its head, the winner keeps going for the head which is where it can do the most damage.

    I don’t know how old yours are or what stage of development they are in. Usually this dangerous behavior doesn’t kick in until the chicks hit puberty and the hormones really start flowing. Often with mine that’s somewhere around 3-1/2 months of age for cockerels and a little older for pullets, though it can wait until a couple of months later. That’s when they really need all the room you can give them.

    I know I’ve made this sound horrible. Most of the time it’s really not. What you are probably seeing is just the normal scuffling that goes on in a brood of chicks. No real danger in it. It usually helps minimize the fighting and such later when those hormones really hit, they’ve already sorted a lot of this stuff out. That’s one reason cockerels raised together usually are able to live together better than two males that are total strangers. They’ve worked a lot of this stuff out while they are just little kids. But if you see blood, you should act.

    Good luck!
     

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