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How to keep 2 roosters in small flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by junglebird, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    How do I manage 2 roosters, with 5 hens, till my spring chickens grow up enough to balance out the flock? Should I give each roo a couple of hens and make 2 separate flocks? Will simply providing more ranging space keep the peace? Should I separate the roos (everyone ranges together in the day, but roos sleep separately?)?

    Advice would be helpful, as would hearing how you manage your roos!

    Background:
    I have 2 roosters who grew up with, and are still living with only 5 hens. There's been a little over-mating and a little squabbling, but not too bad. The worst part of it is that the Jr. rooster is just kind of diminished by being low guy. I think if there were less competition he'd be fatter. He is sneaking more mating lately. I have separated the coop in two, but 1/2 the time the Jr roo roosts with the Senior roo, rather than staking out his own claim in the other 1/2. Should I force the separation? [​IMG]

    These are my first chickens. They have names, I'm not eating or culling them! [​IMG]

    I'm getting 25 chicks this spring, both for meat production, and to select a few more hens for breeding and to balance out the flock. What age can I expect to be able to integrate them? Could I sneak some of these chicks under a broody hen? [​IMG]

    I considered getting mature pullets to hurry up the flock balancing, but that leaves me at the mercy of the winds of Craigslist. I'd rather wait it out till my new group matures. - So, how should I house/manage them so that everyone has the best chance of thriving? [​IMG]
     
  2. missjillie

    missjillie Out Of The Brooder

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    Everson, WA
    Hi:) I integrated my youngsters with the older flock at 13 weeks and they did just fine! Even the establishment of the pecking order was bloodless, for which I was very thankful!

    I experienced much of the same as what you are going through with Jr Roo LOL Fortunately, Rudy, the elder, is a BO cross and a very laidback kinda guy so he didn't harass young Rocky (yes Rocky lol) too much. He DID of course assert his right as Alpha Rooster and first dibs on mating [​IMG] Such a cool dude, don't ya know! If there's not really any major conflict, why not let the buck-bucks work it out amongst themselves?

    Enjoy!
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I suggest you read these three threads. There are a lot of different opinions and some good information. I think they will help you.

    Breeders managing roosters
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=250327

    Number of roosters thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=219443

    Managing multiple roosters
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=229968

    Never separate the roosters and expect to be able to put them back together later and it be anywhere near peaceful. When you put them back together, there will be some serious fighting for flock dominance. If you ever separate them it needs to be permanent.

    The more space they have, the more likely it is to be peaceful. It sounds like they are not doing badly.

    If you have a broody hen when you get the chicks, you can try to give some to her. It usually works but not always. There are severa threads on here about people's experiences doing that. If you are in that situation when the time comes, start a thread on that topic.

    So, how should I house/manage them so that everyone has the best chance of thriving

    Not sure what this question is? Is it about mixing in the Craigslist pullets or your chicks?
     
  4. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Greeneville, Tn
    Free range cuts back on problems with fighting. I have 2 roos but with 11 hens. One is dominate so the other gets chased a bit when he tries to mate. No fighting though as they were raised together.

    Both roos sleep with hens in coop. They are out all day free ranging hens follow one or the other or the go as whole flock. Just let chickens be chickens and do not worry too much about it.
     
  5. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Thanks for the swift feedback everyone! I'm reading through your links, now, Rigerunner.

    Quote:... about any interventions I might make until the new chicks mature enough to join my little unbalanced flock.

    My biggest concern is that the junior rooster, a Buff Orpington, isn't thriving as well as the Senior roo, a Black Australorp. The BO is about 2 lbs lighter than the BA. I'd like to let him gain some weight, but when he's in with the other chickens he doesn't get much to eat. Should I just get him alone once a day for some extra chow? Just let him be skinny?

    (I also speculate that he remains thin to be less threatening, he is all about being less threatening ... doesn't challenge the Senior roo, except when sneak mating. Maybe that's why he roosts with the Senior, to show he's not interested in setting up his own shop?). Ok, maybe now I'm being neurotic. [​IMG]

    Cybercat ... ya, I'm probably over-thinking it all. [​IMG]

    I had read about bachelor pens, but I can't see how they're compatible with ranging flocks.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'd provide two separate eating areas for them, then let them work it out. I do that anyway since I usually have different aged chickens in my flock. Until they all really mature, the young ones are intimidated by the old ones, male or female.

    The rest of it, yeah, you may be overthinking it. I really don't think they have an attention span long enough to be that devious.

    Bachelor pens are not compatible with ranging flocks. The only way I know it will work is to keep all the roosters penned but allow one to roam with the flock. You can alternate them as long as only one is with the flock at any one time.
     
  7. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Quote:[​IMG]

    Thanks, Ridgerunner. I'll try what you all have suggested - let them be chickens. Also, thanks for the affirmation to provide more range space, and as far as the feeding, I have two feeding stations, but they are very close together. I'll move them apart and see how that goes.

    missjillie, 13 weeks, that sounds good. Thanks, and ... "The Middle-Age Spread" [​IMG]
     

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