Deciding to Keep Another Rooster?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MesMama, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. MesMama

    MesMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Advice needed please :)

    Right now I have a BO roo, he's amazing and I love him [​IMG] I have 7 BO hens with him. I have 19 chicks, among them I have 9 Welsummers-6 roos and 3 hens and I was thinking about keeping one of the roos? They are STUNNING birds and was thinking if I wanted to have more Wellies at some point I would want to have a roo and separate the Wellies out to get 100% Welsummer chicks. I have the littles in a separate coop and run right now, so I have the ability to keep the Wellies separate.

    Here are my questions:
    -Do I just integrate all the littles when they're ready, including the roo we keep, with the bigs and let the boys figure out what's what? Do I need to be concerned about messing with my BO roo's "vibe"? I'm so nervous to change him because he is AMAZING.

    -Do I need to keep all the Wellies separate once we integrate the rest? I like the idea of having everyone together and I know that some people keep more than 1 roo and the boys figure it out. Is there a trick to that? Any advice is greatly appreciated :D
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You are dealing with living animals. They do not come with guarantees. It might work out fine for you, it might not. One big key is how much room do you have? Any integration goes better if you have a lot of space. With two roosters it’s even more important.

    You have many options. I won’t go into integration too much, but if you have lots of room and you raise the chicks side by side with the adults or keep them side by side for a while, integration even at a fairly young age usually isn’t traumatic at all. The smaller your room, the more likely you are to have problems and the older they may need to be. But remember, with living animals you don’t get guarantees. They are all individuals and there will be exceptions to what anyone says, including me.

    If you introduce two fully grown roosters they will decide who is boss. If you have plenty of room they often work out an accommodation on how to take care of the flock as team. This usually involves each getting his own harem and each having his own territory that the other sort of respects. But I once had two roosters that were best buddies. They hung together with each other more than with the hens. All the eggs were fertile and every now and then there might be a skirmish to remind one which was boss, but they really got along well. Sometimes, instead of them working it out, they fight to the death or one of them gets seriously injured. If own gets injured, the other can be ruthless in destroying him.

    If you let a cockerel grow up with the flock, it usually goes pretty well. Until he matures enough to challenge the older rooster the younger one will run from the older. Eventually the younger might or might not mature enough to challenge the older. They may fight. It may be a fight to the death, it may not be much more than a skirmish. With lots of room it usually ends peacefully with them splitting the flock between them, like above. But sometimes roosters die.

    The dominant rooster has a lot of responsibilities in taking care of his flock. Assuming those responsibilities can bring out the best in a rooster, or the worst. You will often notice this change when one goes from being just an immature cockerel to flock master. Sometimes a deposed flock master can have a change of personality. Sometimes not. No guarantees.

    Another option which you’ve obviously thought of is to keep the two flocks separate at all times. That’s probably the least stressful for you but involves enough facilities and extra work to manage to separate flocks.

    I don’t know what the right answer is for you. There are risks and advantages no matter which way you go.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    There's a far better chance of two roosters of different ages getting along than there is is if they're the same age. Most of the time, the older, established roo will make it clear to the young punk that he needs to stay in his place and not try to throw his weight around.

    However, no one can predict the future. It all depends on the individual temperaments of the two boys. If the younger one is determined to remove the older one as top gun, then you're going to have conflict on your hands. You won't know until you try it.

    Regarding integration on the younger chicks, you need to first introduce them to the flock, if you haven't been doing so. That usually requires a barrier so they can all become acquainted, and so the younger ones can begin "learning" the behavior of their elders. It tales at least a week before you can start letting them mingle, if they were strangers beforehand.

    I swear by the "panic room" system of integration where the younger ones have a safe refuge where the older birds can't get into. You can read how it works in my article linked below under "Articles". It's the second article on brooding outdoors.
     
  4. MesMama

    MesMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Excellent info thank you!! I do have plenty of room I think, so that's good :) We are using a one horse "stable" for our main chicken coop. It has the stall area with a dirt floor that we use for storage and then the other side is the old tack room, concrete floor and that is where the chickens reside :) We had the chicks in the main coop until yesterday, they were in a brooding box as to allow for the bigs and and littles to co-exist. But because of the coop set up we had to come up with another way to allow the littles outside but remain contained in a penned in area, so my mom let us borrow a coop she wasn't using and we got the littles put in there yesterday. The adult chickens are allowed to roam in the 1 acre fenced in pasture. So I'm thinking our space is good to allow two roosters to co-exist? THoughts?
     
  5. MesMama

    MesMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you!! This is good info as well :D I did have the bigs and littles in the main coop until yesterday (detailed it in my reply to Ridgerunner above) and then the pen we made for the littles is within the fenced in pasture, right up next to the main coop. I can take some pics if it helps :)
     
  6. MesMama

    MesMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, I realize that there are no guarantees when dealing with live creatures, so no worries that I will come back here and be angry at anyone for any advice given [​IMG] I guess I am more just looking for your experiences just as an idea of what "might" happen, but I realize that anything can happen.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    An acre should be plenty.
     
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  8. MesMama

    MesMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @Ridgerunner @azygous

    What do I look for in a cockerel attitude wise?  I have 6 of them to choose from ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    That depends a lot on your goals. First eliminate any that don’t suit your goals. That can be behavioral but also physical. Obviously don’t keep any with a deformity. If something about appearance is important to you then you may be able to eliminate some from that. One of my main goals is meat. Cockerels mature at different rates, I want an early maturing one with a certain body shape for that. If you can eliminate some by physical traits you are ahead of the game.

    It’s really hard to pick a cockerel on behavior because one being the dominant one will change how they all behave. It’s hard to determine how the non-dominant ones will treat the hens because the dominant one won’t let them. He’ll beat them up (or more likely run them off) if they try that. Even the behavior of the dominant one can change if his rivals are removed.

    I look for a cockerel that is not only early-maturing but is pretty near the top in dominance. It doesn’t have to be the dominant one but in my opinion the ones near the top have the self-confidence to take over the flock and be a good flock master. The later maturing ones can be wimps that the hens don’t respect so they just might be more prone to resorting to force to have their way. I don’t want a brute that resorts to force as a standard and I won’t stand a human aggressive one, but I do want one with enough spunk to really be a flock master and control his flock.

    The unfortunate thing about all this is that with another one dominant the others can’t really show how they will act. There is some guessing involved. It’s not always a clear choice.
     
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  10. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I'll tell you how I chose the cockerel to keep last summer after finding myself with three unexpected males out of two chick orders.

    Two were Marans, one Silver Cuckoo Marans and one Golden Cuckoo Marans, and one Cream Legbar. The Legbar had the most settled temperament, while the Marans were both aggressive, both toward me and toward the hens. I wasn't about to choose an aggressive cockerel to keep, and while the Legbar was very colorful, multi-colored to the Marans' monochrome, the Legbar was also docile and sweet.

    He never once acted in an aggressive manner, but stepped out of my way in a careful, graceful motion, always staying out of my reach. When he mated the hens, I noticed there was barely any fuss because he was so gentle and smooth in his technique. The Marans were anything but smooth and gentle.

    And I had two Legbar pullets I might mate the Legbar rooster to in the future. Now, he's one year old, and I know I made the right decision. He's grown into his role and keeps careful watch for predators when the flock is free ranging. He's also continued to be respectful toward me and the hens.

    I took advantage of a local radio station program called "Pet Patrol" to advertise the two Marans cockerels as being free for adoption. They each now have their very own flock of hens and are happy and well adjusted since they are the only roosters. Hopefully you will arrive at a decision that works for you.
     
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