Fighting roosters and hens !

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hasaanzia, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. hasaanzia

    hasaanzia Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 6 older birds and 3 younger birds. Older hens/roasters are always beating and pecking on younger birds and running after them , beating them all day long. I want to know if there is any solution to this and what should be done as its been more than a month like this now and they are not settling down. Younger ones are quite shy and insecure and run like hell all the time so its really hectic for me too. Any advice /help greatly appreciated, Thanks :)
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    What you describe isn’t all that unusual in certain conditions. More mature chickens outrank immature chickens in the pecking order and will sometimes be pretty brutal when the immature ones invade their personal space. I don’t know if you have those conditions or if something else is going on.

    Before anyone can give realistic advice based on your reality instead of assumptions we need some basic information. How old are you chickens? Do you know the sex of the various chickens, especially the younger ones? Is it all the adults chasing all the young ones? Do you just have one older rooster? How much room (in feet or meters) do you have in the coop, in the run, or do you free range them? Room is really important, we need this information. How do you manage them, mainly when are they locked in the coop by itself and locked out of the run?

    I could make all kinds of assumptions that might or might not apply to your specific situation. In general, immature birds normally form a separate flock when they can and avoid the older birds. That’s how they deal with that difference in pecking order rank. If yours have gone a month with no one injured it doesn’t sound that bad but there could be something going on that needs to be addressed. Or we might have an easy fix.
     
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  3. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    If possible? Start over with a look no touch pen...Not sure how you first introduced the birds? First their will be chasing and pecking..A month seems to long for the aggression to be continuing....I suggest start as if this is day one...Confine new members or old members for a week and reintroduce...You could also just remove the aggressors and see how it goes after a week? Reintroduce while free ranging for a couple of hours?

    Lots of ways to establish a flock..

    Cheers!
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    OP - Ridgerunner has asked very valid questions. It won't be of much help to separate and reintroduce if you don't have enough space for them. Can you provide dimensions for coop/run space? It would help us to help you better. Hiding places are a good thing, As well as separate feeding and watering stations.
     
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  5. hasaanzia

    hasaanzia Out Of The Brooder

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    Well the older ones are 7-8 months old , and there are 2 roosters in them but 1 is the most dominant in them who crows all the time , whereas younger ones are 4 months old with only 1 rooster among them but he is very shy. Anyways they all free range and sometimes i hear younger ones shout alot , i go out and see older ones chasing them or pecking on them. Coop wise , they got a whole room, barm type .
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    You do not have roosters and hens, you have cockerels and pullets, unsupervised teenagers with hormones running wild and no self-control. They are at varying stages of maturity so the older ones outrank the younger in the pecking order. There is a big difference in the behavior of mature hens and roosters versus pullets and cockerels. Normally mature birds live pretty peacefully in a flock but getting there can be hard to watch.

    The cockerels’ hormones are telling them to dominate the flock, which often includes violence. The pullets may or may not know their role to play in the flock. I doubt the pullets are causing you most of the problems but I can’t be sure. Sometimes one can be quite aggressive. Even if they were all the same age this immature stage can be hard to watch but you also have an age difference in the mix to make it even more complicated.

    I suspect most of what you are seeing is one or both of the older cockerels chasing the younger cockerel, trying to keep him subordinate. The younger one is probably not fighting back, just running away. If the older ones catch him they do pose a danger to him, likely trying to peck his head so they can injure or even kill him. It’s not that the younger cockerel is shy, he’s scared to death of the older cockerels because they could kill him.

    I don’t know how much those pullets are being chased, especially the younger ones. They are right at the age where they are not yet sexually mature but may be attractive to those cockerels. They won’t know to squat so the older cockerels could be chasing them and forcing them. In those circumstances it has more to do with dominance than sex. The sex act is about dominance, the one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. It’s unlikely you’d be seeing that with older roosters and those 4 month old pullets but you have cockerels instead of older roosters.

    So what can you do? One option is nothing. With them free ranging this type of thing usually works itself out with no interference by you. The pullets are not likely to be harmed permanently, although the cockerels forcing them can be pretty rough. Even your younger cockerel is likely to survive but he is in some danger.

    Another option is to house them separately until they all mature. This could mean locking up the younger ones, the younger cockerel only, or the two older cockerels. I’m assuming the vast amount of the violence is directed toward the younger cockerel. The older cockerels are not likely to injure the pullets but you are dealing with living animals, no one can give you guarantees. I did ask which older chickens are chasing which younger chickens but you did not answer.

    You have another issue, three males and six females. Since they free range it is possible they could all mature into responsible adults and work out how to get along. This normally involves each mature rooster, once they mature, carving out his own territory and keeping his own harem out of sight of the other roosters to lessen potential conflict. Getting there could be extremely rough but since you are dealing with living animals, practically anything is possible. You will often have people give you magic numbers of how many hens are required for each rooster to solve all problems. Some people with one rooster and over 20 hens, even mature ones not adolescents, have problems with over-mating and barebacked hens. Breeders and others often keep one or two hens with one rooster and don’t have these problems. There are no magic numbers that solve these problems for everyone.

    My usual suggestion is that you keep as few males as you can and still meet your goals. Having more cockerels does not guarantee problems but it does increase the likelihood of you having problems. With your three males and six females I think it is pretty likely you will have problems. Getting a lot more females is not the answer right now but if you need an excuse to try this you can. Once they mature it will help, but getting them to maturity can really be rough. I don’t know what your goals are or how many chickens you really want or why, but my strongest suggestion is to remove two of those cockerels from your flock. You can keep them locked up in a bachelor’s pad, eat them, or get someone else to take them. In your circumstances that’s what I’d do, but I don’t know your goals.
     
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