Cohabitating Rooster and Cockrel

AsanumaGardens

Chirping
Sep 1, 2017
34
45
84
Utah
We have an amazing 2yo Rooster, Nebo. (His good behavior is what has kept him around.)

This year we raised 4 new chicks and successfully integrated them into our flock of 9 (for those of you keeping count we now have 14 chickens.)

Nebo had always been our only Roo, but this year one of the pullets turned out to be a very handsome cockrel, Mo. Mo is now 4 months old.

We don't want another rooster, so we're looking at our options. There are tons of people trying to get rid of unwanted roosters in our area, so rehoming him isn't really an possibility. I think we will ultimately have Mo for dinner, but he has several more months to grow.

So far there have been no issues, Nebo typically just ignores Mo, and Mo does the same. But Mo hasn't tried mounting any of the hens yet.

Our hen house is 4'x12', and our run is 8'x16'. We have several indoor and outdoor perches for everyone to hop up on when they are needing some space/fun. I'm hoping this is enough room for them to cohabitate until it's time to dispatch Mo, but I'm not sure.

Basically I want to know, what are the chances of Mo and Nebo getting in a fight? Should we remove Mo and place him in his own enclosure?

Thanks!!

Bonus picture of Nebo. (This was taken before he really got his spurs. They are huge now.)

IMG_20180217_105031.jpg
 
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ValerieJ

Straw parade on snow day
Premium Feather Member
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Jul 24, 2016
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Nebo is a handsome boy for sure. :love I hope they will live peacefully together until you are ready to cull. I do think you are a tad bit crowded. If you do the math, you have the minimal space required for 12 chickens right now. :oops:' The coop needs to be 4SF per chicken and the run should be 10SF per chicken. Any chance of a little expansion? :wee More space makes for happier chickens and reduces fighting.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
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You need a plan B, it needs to be set up and ready to go for immediately separating fighting birds. You need either a chicken hook or a fishing net, so that you could separate the fighting birds. Sometimes fights start with rather mild skirmishes, sometimes they can fight until death or near death. A lot of people underestimate the violence of a cock fight or a rooster attack. Maybe you will never need plan B, but you need to have it ready to go, with a container for one of the roosters.

The best chance in my experience is a father/son arrangement, but it to has been known to work until it doesn't work.

I agree with ^^ poster, roosters take a lot of space, 4 months is about the best age to get an edible carcass, and if you are going to cull, this is the time to do it. That set up really does not have enough space for two roosters.

If you can get through the next 4 months, and they don't fight, I would think it might work. But from here on to that point, I would expect trouble at any time. If your birds spend the days to themselves, while you are at work or gone, you could come home to a debacle. I know it is hard to believe, when they seem to be getting along just fine, that momentarily they could be at each others throats, but that is how chicken society is.

In looking at your run, I would add some pallets, leaned up against the side, so that you have some hideouts, and I would add a feed bowl behind one of the pallets.

Mrs K
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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Feb 2, 2009
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Basically I want to know, what are the chances of Mo and Nebo getting in a fight? Should we remove Mo and place him in his own enclosure?

I pretty much agree with what Mrs. K said. Until it happens the odds are 0%. If it happens, it immediately becomes 100%. When will that happen? Maybe never, maybe later today. There is no way to know.

How bad will a fight be if it happens? Again there is no way to know. But there is something about your set-up that really concerns me. One way chicken handle violence is that the loser runs away from the winner and often avoids them. Sometimes the winner will keep after the loser until he kills him (or she and her if female) but usually if the loser runs away and gets away it has a good chance to end without serious injury or death. But your space is really small. There isn't any room to run away or avoid. If a fight breaks out it has a lot more chance to end badly than if they had a lot more room. With multiple roosters that can approach free range conditions.

This does not mean that if they free range you wont have issues, you could. This does not mean that with your limited space you are guaranteed that one will end up dead from fighting. You said you don't want to eat him for a few more months. Typically I'd say get your Plan B ready and base what you do on what you see. But with your limited space I'd give serious consideration to moving him in there sooner rather than later.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,280
12,462
636
western South Dakota
One way chicken handle violence is that the loser runs away from the winner and often avoids them. Sometimes the winner will keep after the loser until he kills him (or she and her if female) but usually if the loser runs away and gets away it has a good chance to end without serious injury or death.

Very VERY GOOD POINT! And if they can't run away, the tension and the aggression rises, making it grow.

And while the fight will be between the two roosters, the tension will affect your hens, in fact I would imagine that there is already a bit of tension in the flock, that you might not be aware of until you remove one of the roosters.

And if you are culling, you might strongly consider culling a couple of older hens. The thing about chicken math is it has to work both ways, as the coop/run stays the same size. So if you add birds, which I highly recommend, then you need to cull birds too.

One can cheat on numbers in the spring and summer, chicks are small and take up less space. A space that will fit 10 head, + 4 chicks in May, may begin to have problems in October, when the chicks are full size.

Winter complicates crowding issues too. In December, my birds are typically on the roost by 4:00-4:30, and do not get off the roost till 7:30.... the long nights of winter, keep birds very close to each other and can develop very ugly behaviors of feather picking and tension in the flock.

Almost all of us, have been had by chicken math, once a predator really got in and caused havoc, and "culled" several birds for me. Up to that point I was unaware of the tension in the flock. But almost immediately the tension relaxed, which you would not think would happen after an predator attack. I took a head count, and come the fall, I know that is what fits into that coop.

Always solve for peace in the flock.

Mrs K
 
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AsanumaGardens

Chirping
Sep 1, 2017
34
45
84
Utah
Thank you everyone for your responses! I think with what we have learned we will dispatch him later this week.

@ValerieJ there is a much larger uncovered run in the works, but it won't be ready for several more weeks.

@chickens really that is good to know! I thought we were supposed to wait until they were full size.

@Mrs. K we have a smaller chicken tractor ready for habitation, but I figured Mo would be happier with the flock. Another question, should we wait until he is 8 months, or would the meat taste better at 4 months? Also, thank you for your lesson in chicken math!!

@Ridgerunner what great insight on roo behavior!
 

ValerieJ

Straw parade on snow day
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 24, 2016
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Washington State
@ValerieJ there is a much larger uncovered run in the works, but it won't be ready for several more weeks.

That sounds typical to me. I now have a compound of coops and runs because of adding chickens. :rolleyes: I agree with all the advice for obstacles, even when you don't have 2 roosters. Chickens need places to get away from aggressors, and we all have them.:oops:
 

chickens really

Crazy Mother of Goats
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Sep 8, 2015
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Thank you everyone for your responses! I think with what we have learned we will dispatch him later this week.

@ValerieJ there is a much larger uncovered run in the works, but it won't be ready for several more weeks.

@chickens really that is good to know! I thought we were supposed to wait until they were full size.

@Mrs. K we have a smaller chicken tractor ready for habitation, but I figured Mo would be happier with the flock. Another question, should we wait until he is 8 months, or would the meat taste better at 4 months? Also, thank you for your lesson in chicken math!!

@Ridgerunner what great insight on roo behavior!
Depends on what you plan on using his meat for? The older the bird, the tougher the meat.
 

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