Free ranging chickens and lots of roosters...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by That other guy, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. That other guy

    That other guy In the Brooder

    Jun 18, 2015
    Hey everyone!

    So a few questions, we have two groups of birds that we have successfully integrated, one group is 16 weeks old the other is 13 weeks. The first group is 16 Delaware chickens and 6 black Australorp chickens. The younger group is 6 lavender guineas and 6 cinnamon queen chickens. The first issue is we have 6-7 roosters. Starting there we have 5/6 Delaware Roos and one BA roo. The BA roo crowed the other day first and walks around like he owns the place until i enter the coop and then he's quiet and just eyes me the whole time and he's also 2/3 the size of some of the biggest Delawares I have which surprised me.

    So the first question is does the first roo to crow make him the head rooster?
    Will the other roos crow too and the one that crows the most is that one the head roo?
    We are looking to cull some of the roos out of the flock but we hesitate because we don't know which one is the head roo yet, so what should we look for in the roo's that we do keep (we have a total of 21 pullets with 6 guineas)? Theyre all good roos, two of the delawares are big birds, Big mac and Rocky, but Big mac is very skittish around people, rocky not so much. Although lately he hasnt like us trying to pick him up XD.

    I've heard that roos that grow up together are less likely to beat the stuffing out of each other and all these roos grew up from day one in the brooder box and they havent been too agressive except for when they were establishing who's who after the younger birds got in there.

    Second question is we want to free range them but there are alot of foxes, red tails and coyotes in the area and the occasional coon. We are going to be getting 2 livestock guardian dogs soon to help deal with predators but what should we do when we first let the go free consistently. I let the older birds out twice so far for a few hours then shoved them all back in because of a red tail flying nearby (our neighbors have doves and quail running around).

    Thoughts on how to effectively deal with them as well?
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    You're going to want to go down to 2-3 roosters, I like three as two becomes a one on one, your roosters won't do too much fighting between themselves as the pecking order is usually determined by crowing time, though any reshuffling of it will generally happen in spring.

    It does seem like more dominant roosters start crowing first, though the others will start shortly as well, when there is mature roosters in a flock younger roosters don't crow as early.

    I like roosters that take good care of the hens and also move away from me, so it's just a matter of picking your best, remove the rest and wait to see how the dynamics change, I would personally not butcher the extras right away because your choices might not work and you got rid of the others, I would rotate them until I find the ones I like and that seem to work best.

    I free range, you need a place for them to get away, cover for hawks like bushes, but a clear line of sight in the field, mine move from cover to cover and occasionally go out in the open with a rooster watching. We wait until we lose some from predators than go after the predators, we have donkeys which helps some, your dog's should work as well, we are left alone most years with an occasional problem predator.
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Re: roos growing up together not being as aggressive as ones that did not - last thursday my two 4.5 month old roos beat the living daylights out of each other. After i cleaned and treated their respective wounds they were extremely listless and feeling sorry for themselves for the rest of the day. I don't know if that was a one-off scrap, as i rehomed both of them the same day (which i had planned to do prior to the Mike Tyson stuff).


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