Cockerels are beating the living heck out of each other

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Aumlet, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Aumlet

    Aumlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have four 3 1/2 month old bantam cockerels. Until this week I thought I had 2 cockerels and 2 pullets, but over the past few days we noticed chest-bumping among all four and thought uh-oh ...

    Well today they were all four going at each other, hard. Each of the four has had blood drawn. I separated them for a short bit this afternoon because it was just ugly. This was during the time the flock free ranges in the yard, so it's not an issue of crowding. They were flaying at each other, feet in the air, grabbing combs and twisting each other, pecking each other fiercely, and so on. :(

    As far as I could tell they are all eager to fight with each other. There's no one bully or one victim. They are 1/4 modern game bantam and I wonder if this is playing a part? I've had cockerels from the same hatch before, and there was never any fighting like this.

    Clearly its time to find them somewhere else to roost (or broil) but am I going to have to separate them until I can find somewhere? Are they likely to chill out a little, or is this going to keep being bloody and worrisome?
     
  2. rollkeeg877

    rollkeeg877 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sell the extra cock birds
     
  3. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

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    If they're going at it like that I say it's unlikely they'll chill out....more apt to kill each other.
     
  4. mrsbrcant

    mrsbrcant Out Of The Brooder

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    They are establishing dominance, it's an age thing and it may be related to their breed. They may calm down as they get older and establish a dominance hierarchy. I separate males by size and age mainly but mostly I let them run free range all day and they get along fine. I have several distinct miniflocks in my larger flock. Within each miniflock there is very little fighting but sometimes members of one flock will fight with members of another but mostly they just stay away from each other. They will spar now and then and sometimes get a little bloody but rarely any serious damage is done.

    I have about 12 bantam cockerels, 2 large cockerels and a royal palm tom that have the run of about a half acre. the turkey and a cochin cockerel were beating up on the little guys and were separated into a separate pen, now the little guys fly in with them all the time. My Delaware roo is a wimp and backs down from any other male, he has plenty of room to run away and hide. I have a sebright cock with a harem of hens that hang out together along with one of his sons and then I have six of his mongrel sons that run around everywhere. These are the only ones that seriously fight now but even they spend more time chasing hens and looking for food. They get scabby combs sometimes but it looks much worse than it really is. If a pair seem to be going at it too long I might turn a hose on them but mostly I just leave them alone to work it out. I also have 4 old English brothers that run around together. All in all it seems like if there is enough space and lots of chickens they eventually work out. Outside of breeding sets, I only separate ones that seem to be bullied more that most or ones that extra mean (i.e. turkey that attacks ducklings).
     
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  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    We have rooster fights every spring. Your boys are trying to establish who's the boss rooster. They'll fight until they figure it out, and then be fine until next year, when one of the subordinates will try to be top roo again.

    I find that my yard works most smoothly when the boss roo is much bigger than the others. Then the fights don't last long because he wins quickly. :)

    You have three choices--separate them for their whole lives, sell all but one, or let them work it out. I, too, turn the hose on fights that are getting too intense. Either that or I'll chase them off and stop the fight. I'M the biggest baddest roo on the farm. :)
     
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  6. Aumlet

    Aumlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I understand that they're sparring for dominance; my concern is how far they'll go. I've had a few batches of young cockerels before and I know a certain level of fighting goes on. I'd feel more comfortable if there was a clear pecking order being established. We'll see what they do today while I'm at work. Yesterday, it was everyone on everyone.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Unfortunately there's no way to predict how far they'll go. If they're all evenly matched and no one's wanting to back down it can get fatal. Usually won't go that far, but those hormones get going and each wants to be the boss and no one wants to yield, they just keep tearing each other up.
     
  8. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

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    My mom had an rooster and someone gave her two pullets..yep, you guessed it...two more boys. When the younger ones got a bit older they decided to take on the oldster. He won...the first time.
    The second time he didn't fare well. He was almost killed. My mom spent beaucoup bucks trying to save him but he died.

    The remaining two were raised together, housed together, had 3/4 of an acre to roam on and did fine . . . . for a while. Then the fighting began. They were NOT going to work it out, so they now live in two separate yards. They see each other through the fence and are fine, but without that fence they would fight 'til the death. Oh, and there aren't even any hens in with them.

    I have two roos, raised together, that are doing great here. I raised a couple of bantams and those boys did okay. I guess you just never know. I personally don't need to doctor up any more chickens in hospital cages so I always err on the side of caution.
     
  9. Aumlet

    Aumlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So today they did a little sparring but there wasn't anything really alarming going on. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
     
  10. tadpole98

    tadpole98 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sell and/or eat the extra cocks. or somebody (or all) is gonna end up dying a very painful slow death.
     

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