I think my adult rooster is killing our adolescent roosters... is this normal?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by anthriel, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. anthriel

    anthriel Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2013
    We "inherited" our chickens by buying a foreclosed and abandoned home... there were 5 chickens roaming around, three hens and two roosters. We started feeding them, and have learned to enjoy them. They are still very much free range, though.

    About three months ago, the roosters got in a huge brawl, and our dominant rooster killed the subordinate one. He knew he had him on the ropes (the other bird had given up), but he deliberately killed him. Fairly upsetting to watch, by the way, but nothing I did, from brooms to water from the hose seemed to matter.

    We have had 4 clutches of babies since we've lived here, and I have now found two adolescent roosters killed on our property... not by a predator, they were not eaten. This last time the young one must have put up a fight, because several of our adult rooster's feathers were about, including his very long tail feathers. It was obviously him.

    So.. is this normal? Our babies are all less than 4 months old. The pet store won't take them so young. I have considered giving away our adult rooster, but if this is common behavior, will the adolescents kill each other, too?
  2. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    I don't have the complete answer.

    I had two roosters for about a year. They fought on rare occasions, but never any blood or disabling injuries. The same one dominated every time. I re-homed one of them.

    I am not sure that I would want a rooster as apparently vicious as he seems. There is always the chance that he may decide do flog a child or you when your back is turned.

    Freezer camp may be an option.

    1 person likes this.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I run multiple roosters of different ages and have never had a rooster kill another bird. I depend on my roosters to acclimate my broody hen and her babies to the flock, he is their protector. Once they start looking at the ladies he puts them in their place, but usually without bloodshed. I'd cull any bird that killed another bird.
    2 people like this.
  4. mtnviewfarms

    mtnviewfarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    IMHO this is definitely not normal rooster behavior. I've been keeping poultry for almost 5 years and have had over 50 roos during these years and have NEVER had one kill another chicken, pullet/hen or cockerel/rooster.

    I would cull him - as has been said - if he is that agressive - especially when the opponent 'says uncle' and he STILL KILLS HIM - he could very easily hurt a child or an adult.

    There are so many wonderful protective but not overly agressive Roos out there there is
    no reason to put up with one that is not.

    My 'boys' have a pecking order and their own 'ladies' within the flocks but blood is not

    I did add a rooster to a flock that already had a rooster in it and there was some serious fighting for a while - minor blood was shed on combs and wattles but as soon as the one roo became the dominant one they have learnd to 'tolerate' one another.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    My guess is that they are descended from a breed used for cock fighting. If that is the case, then the behavior is likely to be innate to them and hard to stop without separation.
    1 person likes this.
  6. anthriel

    anthriel Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2013
    This is all good information!

    "Daddy" is very laid back with people, and has even been patient with our idiot Corgi, when she (very occasionally) runs at him... he simply stands his ground, and she backs off in confusion (aren't birds supposed to run?). He is protective of his girls, and has stood between them and the Harris hawks who live in a nearby tree, more than once. I saw him "call the alarm" one time when the hawk was nearby, and it was amazing how all those chickens disappeared in just a heartbeat.


    I inherited these birds, so I have no real idea as to their lineage. I have googled chicken breeds, though, and he looks very much like an American Gamecock. I think Den is right; I think this guy is bred to fight to the death. As are all his cute little babies, probably.

    So he's good as a free-range protector, bad for baby chickens. And maybe people, from what you guys have said.

    So how do I safely catch him?
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j True BYC Addict

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    You can wait until he's on the roost at night and grab him, or use a long-handled fish net during the day or at night.
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Most breeds meet this criteria.

    OP, please show a picture of your remaining birds.
  9. Loghousemom

    Loghousemom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2012
    Up North
    If you are not supplying a coop for them to roost in at night, look for where he is roosting to sleep and catch him then. That is the easiest.

    I once helped catch chickens at a ranch where they were really wild and not people friendly.... There they used a fishing net!
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Game fowl tend to be people friendly or neutral but very aggressive between roosters. It's who they are! You probably can only have ONE rooster at a time; rehome the cockrels before they are injured or killed. You could try keeping the mellowist cockrel every generation, or remove all the males and substitute a rooster of another breed into the flock. Or eliminate all the males so no more birds are produced. Mary

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