Introducing my injure Roo back into the flock with other roosters

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LUVMYCHIKAS, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. LUVMYCHIKAS

    LUVMYCHIKAS Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 13, 2013
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    Ten days ago I came home from work to find my Millie fluer d'uccle Roo nearly dead in the run after fighting with one of my blue cochin bantam roosters. I've been nursing him back to health and he's doing great. I found a new home for the cochin that beat him up because he had attacked me several times and anyone else who came in the yard. It was his time to go and that sealed the deal. So what to do next? I've been allowing Roo some supervised visitation with the flock when they are free ranging in the early evening. However, there are two more roosters remaining and one of them, the other blue cochin, seems very interested in starting trouble with Roo if I wasn't there to stop it. I wanted to see what would happen and in less than 10 seconds Roo's comb was bleeding. Bad idea! So will I ever be able to allow Roo back with the flock unattended? How long will it take and how do I do it? I don't have another coop. Roo is currently in a dog crate in the garage. He's not happy there. He crows all day and when I take him out he runs to the coop toward the sounds of the flock!
    Any suggestions?
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    You will always end up needing a backup cage for one thing or another. In this case, your injured rooster doesn't stand almost any chance of reintegrating if he is kept out of sight of the others. You need a little cage where he can see the others and they can see him. You can pretty easily make a little makeshift cage out of many scrap materials.

    If your next cochin roo won't allow Roo to rejoin the flock, I'd get rid of him too. A hierarchy-determining fight is one thing, a bully attacking a victim that no longer offers a challenge is another. If you prefer the cochin to Roo, then just beware that if you remove a victim to keep a bully, you are likely to breed more bullies. A bully bird can become alpha without actually being the best bird, just by virtue of its unfair viciousness. Most birds don't want to fight to the death, so the saner bird will often cede a fight if their opponent is unreasonably violent. Unfortunately people often think this means the winning bird is the fittest to breed. But such birds tend to beget more unsociable birds which is a constant issue with a mixed flock.

    I'd supervise their interactions when your injured boy is better, and if the winner of the fight refuses to let the loser walk away in peace, get rid of the winner, since it's being a bully. If neither will stand down, then you might have to build cages to separate one permanently or pick between them and just keep one. Before they are allowed to interact again I would blunten the seethrough tips of both rooster's spurs, and possibly even trim off the seethrough edge of the upper beak, which won't hurt them but will stop them making any pecks of serious force with them.

    Another thing you can do with two cages is train some hens to bond to sleeping in the same cage as Roo, with that cage being across the yard from the other rooster/s. Given a chance different families of chickens will often share a yard without incident or interaction, remaining in tight groups and giving each other space. Different sleeping areas and nesting areas can help make peace between hens or roosters who don't get along too well.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. LUVMYCHIKAS

    LUVMYCHIKAS Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 13, 2013
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    I have been exposing Roo to the rest of the flock every day so they don't forget him. He really wants to be with them and enjoys his supervised visitations. My husband is soon going build a second coop and run so we can move all the hens to it because I have concerns of my hens being gang raped by the three roosters. (There are only 4 hens) I toyed with the idea of moving Roo with the hens. He's my favorite rooster so I won't be rehoming him at any point. However, that still doesn't fix the problem if all the birds are out in the yard free-ranging together. I can't be there every second. I just hate that everyone doesn't get along. Also, the new coop will take some time. How long can poor Roo stay in a dog crate?

    My other issue is that would leave 2 roosters with 8 guinea fowl in the coop. The guinea seem somewhat more aggressive since the ratio of chicken to guinea went from 8:8 to 8:6. If it declines even more to 8:2 are the guinea fowl going to attack the remaining 2 roosters? Anyone have experience with this scenario?
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: Since you're reminding them daily who Roo is, that should help a lot.

    As for hens being gang raped, don't worry about that. They can't get raped. Roosters don't have penises and if a hen really does not want to mate, she quite simply will not move her tail feathers out of the way.

    Despite the complaints, they put up with a lot of rough treatment and still choose to mate; a rooster will mate just the same if a hen is inclined to mount him, complaints and all, squatting and moving his tail feathers out of the way. It really doesn't matter who's on top, if the animal underneath understands mating is being attempted and acquiesces, it will cooperate and successful mating occurs. I had a hen who liked to be on top.

    Females have internal mechanisms which sort sperm and even destroy unfit sperm, so if a hen mates with multiple roosters only the most genetically dissimilar and healthy rooster's sperm will get a chance. There's been a lot of interesting research and studies coming out about this lately, confirming a lot of things I had suspected from observing how my breeding experiments have worked out.

    If your roosters are mistreating your hens and causing damage, they're not good roosters, because a good rooster won't harm a hen and is very careful while mating. Getting more hens might help but quite often a rooster who is rough and removes feathers, pecks, scratches, spurs, etc a hen, and pushes for mating when she responds negatively, is going to continue to pick on his favorite even if you give him 100 hens.

    It's a mentality which is heritable, and it's not caused by nor alleviated by the ratio of hens to roosters.

    In this area it comes down to what you're willing to tolerate from your males. I only allow respectful behavior, so if any of my hens rejects a rooster's advance, he will back off instantly. This means no hen has a rooster jumping on her when she's not ready to mate because she's injured, or ill, or brooding, or whatever her reason for being unwilling is. It's not natural for a male to disregard the female's wellbeing, as this cripples or destroys his chances of passing on his genes. Taking every care of the female is the natural instinct but we've bred that out of many of them through unnatural keeping practices sustained for generations.
    Quote: From my limited experience with Guineas, they are terrible bullies, and I had to get rid of mine while they were still chicks because they were trying to disembowel turkey chicks the same size as them. I think your best bet is to get a few more hens so separate flocks can be established. Possibly getting rid of any nasty roosters is another option, but building another cage will help, and possibly putting up more perches can help too. I put perches at a few inches off the ground and every few inches above that at the corners of the cages, so babies can learn to perch, sick or hurt birds can still perch, bullied birds can duck under and behind the perches to escape bullies, and less able birds can climb onto the higher perches bit by bit. Obstacle courses discourage bullies. I cull bullies but breaking the pattern of behavior can help for those who are more tolerant than myself.

    Your solution may be nothing like what I've recommended/suggested but I hope you find it soon. Should mention, I guess... Short term solution for preventing bullying is shackling. Get a soft thick shoelace of rope and tie around each ankle of the bully bird's feet; not so loose it goes over either foot or knee; no weak knots that can slip or tighten; leave enough length between the feet so the bird can walk normally, but not run. This way the bully can dust bathe, walk, scratch, jump up on perches, etc normally but can't run after another bird to bully it. I wouldn't do this around guinea fowl lest they kill the shackled bird, but it might work on them too. I've used that on hyperaggressive turkeys bent on killing other birds. They charge after their intended victim only to fall on their faces. Discourages them so much they stop automatically lunging at their victim. But of course tying up a bird's ankles comes with risks of getting caught in things, and if you've tied bad knots they might tighten and cut off circulation, so if you try this method, be careful.

    All the best.
     
  5. LUVMYCHIKAS

    LUVMYCHIKAS Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for all the great information. Apparently I've gotten some conflicting information in the past regarding gang raping hens. I was informed they could even be killed by the roosters because I had too many. Glad to hear my hens are going to be ok! So the new plan as of today...I placed Roo free ranging today with the entire flock minus the cochin who has taken over as the new bully. Roo and the other d'uccle rooster had a few minutes of pecking order dancing and then all was fine in the flock for the rest of the day. I think I should rehome the cochin and all will be right in my yard again. Then my husband won't be under so much pressure to get the new coop done.

    As for the guineas they seem to pick mostly at the bully cochin who just happens to chase them around a lot. Then they get tired of it and turn the tables on him. Otherwise, they seem to ignore everyone else.
     
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    All roosters ignore a defeated rooster. Roosters know when a rival has surrendered, or raised the white feather, we humans do not. So the idea of one rooster bulling another is a human idea that originates from our poor understanding of chicken society plus our human desire to make chickens behave like we think proper little ladies and gentlemen behave even though we know in our hearts our poultry is not human. Chickens are chickens and as chickens they understand chicken body language better than humans do.

    Like chooks4life said a small extra pen or two will pay dividends if the two combatants can see each other from it but can't get close enough mix it up. This way they don't forget their little tussle. Also be sure that the roosters can't get within about 3 feet of each other or they may begin fighting again and cut off their toes, blind or lame themselves by fighting through chicken wire or cracks in the pen. I have seen two roosters fight through a nail hole in a piece of used corrugated roofing tin. After their blood cools they may get along like bosom buddies. Everything works if you'll let it.

     
  7. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: That's good to hear, it sounds like your Guineas are just putting him in his place, not being rampaging bullies. Hope all continues to be peaceful.

    As for the 'gang raping hens' info, it's entirely true that roosters can kill hens if they're aberrant mentally, and spur, scratch and peck her while mating, or trample her once she's notified them of her lack of interest in mating. This attitude, of ignoring the female's protests, leads to a greater likelihood that serious injury will be sustained by the hen, since if she tries to get away the males may keep stomping on her and ripping pieces off. Hence broken bones and wounds occur. This is why it's important to breed only males who respect females. Any other sorry excuse for a rooster can cost you your best hens.

    Quite obviously, a male who harms or kills a female isn't going to obtain any offspring in the wild, and would fail to pass on his genes and with them his violent mentality. This is why only respectful males pass on their genes and their mentalities --- unless humans intervene and make sure an inferior male breeds, as some folks unfortunately do.

    It's natural for a rooster to be well behaved and careful with hens. This mentality protects his chances of passing on his genes and therefore this mentality is the one that is passed on under natural circumstances. Some people believe male = harmful, so they breed bad males. Best to avoid such breeders; their worldview and personal philosophy is not something I associate with, as it is harmful and incorrect, and their animals are violent products of their owner's mentalities. You probably wouldn't buy a dog from someone who breeds dogs known and bred for mauling people, and the same should be true of someone known to breed roosters who attack humans, hens, or chicks, and also those roosters that try to kill others even when the other has conceded the fight.

    Any animal breeder knows you breed for what you want in the offspring. Unfortunately some people seem to think bad stock produce good offspring based on genetics alone, as though behavior isn't something that's passed on. They may produce good descendants many generations of careful breeding down the line, but behavioral traits are strongly heritable.

    Part of good animal husbandry is ensuring peace in your flock, and part of that is reliant on removing violent and harmful animals. This practice is done no matter the species by the majority of commercial animal breeders because a violent animal is waste of your money and time. Some people manage to breed violent stock, despite the extra stress and damage of keeping vicious animals, but I don't recommend this, and would never buy from someone who breeds that sort of mentality and behavioral trait on. I don't consider it responsible breeding. Roosters who are aberrant enough to be violent to a female are also far more likely to also be violent to a human.

    Quote: Even a precursory look around this forum will show you that is not correct; bullying behavior exists, it's not just a figment of human imagination. Even a human can see when a subordinate chicken is attempting to leave the fight and submit. But many roosters just won't allow that, because the breeders of these roosters kept males who would not leave a subordinate animal alone, and bred on this trait. The quickest way to eradicate a bad trait from a breed is to cull it out, not breed it.

    Many roosters will not ignore a defeated rooster, but will bully and even kill him, despite him showing submission. The only 'cure' for such a rooster is death. The same is true of hens who brutalize subordinates who have shown they are not challenging the dominant ones for status.

    Any bird that does not let the loser leave the fight in peace is a bully, and it's a matter of how long you're willing to put up with them, and whether or not it's a trait you want to breed on and deal with in every future generation. So it's also really a matter of how much time you have on your hands.

    In the wild, there are rules of engagement which govern animal interactions. A dominant animal wasting precious energy, risking life, and making itself vulnerable to predators in order to kill an opponent who has already shown submission is not natural and the majority of species have body language to avoid this; the same is true of males mistreating females. It's not natural. These are behavioral traits bred into them by humans and do not exist in the wild chickens; these are not imaginary faults due to humans wanting chickens to "behave like proper little lades and gentlemen". They are very real faults bred into them by human mismanagement.

    This notion, that by valuing positive social behaviors we are projecting human societal values onto poultry, is incorrect. The behavioral traits are divided into two groups: those natural to the species and those abnormal ones caused by unnatural keeping practices and developed through the generations into heritable breed character traits by human intervention.

    Some of these are positive traits, like tolerance of living within a large flock and remaining socially peaceful. Others are negative ones, like bullying and killing. Continuing to attack an animal which has shown submission is bullying, because in the wild once it's beaten and has acknowledged defeat, it is left to go its own way, and that's exactly what it does. In domesticity though some animals continue to chase and try to harm the animal showing submission. (Bullying).
    Quote: That's not what I said. That's what you say, and I disagree with it. Nobody is trying to treat chickens as humans. That's an idea you persist with despite the reasons for it not being true having been explained before, in this thread and that "normal rooster behavior" thread. Other people also disagree with that idea, from their experiences with both good roosters who do not mistreat hens, and bad roosters who do. I'll include a link to that discussion, for the thread starter to view other's experiences of what normal rooster behavior is. Again, I can only conclude that you only have experience with bad roosters.
    Quote: Quote: I didn't say that either. Whether or not they forget their "little tussle" won't change the other rooster's desire to keep attacking the subordinate despite him showing submission. That's a deeper seated issue, symptomatic not causative.

    I have never found that having two roosters who have not been able to make peace live within sight of each other solves anything. Having a mesh wall between them will allow the injured one to heal while retaining flock bonds with the females, and it won't let another male continue his attacks on the injured rooster, but it's not a solution for a male who attacks a subordinate who has shown submission.

    Even if they never get the chance to fight again, the aggressor will breed on his mentality anyway. Animals inherit behavioral patterns of methods both parents used to cope with the world around them, so it pays to make sure these are positive and peaceful methods, not psychotic or neurotic violent ones.

    Keeping two roosters who cannot get along within sight of each other for the long term doesn't change anything. They will fight whenever they get the chance, since either the social status order has not been determined, or the dominant one will not allow the subordinate one to live despite the social order having been sorted out.

    If you were introducing a new rooster to the flock, letting them see him for a week or so first, without fighting the resident males, can help a peaceful introduction occur, since in the days before he is released into the general population he can size up the other males, and they can size him up, and if a clear dominant is spotted then submissive body language ensues from the clear subordinate. It is also beneficial to remind a flock of a member who has had to be separated for a while.

    Having said all this and provided my reasons and experiences for believing what I do, I will add that everyone's flock is different and everyone's choices and rules are different. What works for one may not work for another, and what's true for one is often untrue for another. So each to their own and best wishes to all.
     
  8. LUVMYCHIKAS

    LUVMYCHIKAS Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 13, 2013
    Eastern Shore of Md
    Here's an update. My Roo has made a full recovery. I rehomed my second Cochin rooster to someone in need of a rooster. Roo is peacefully back in the coop with the rest of the chickens and the other d'uccle rooster who is very much the submissive of the pair. Everyone is happy and getting along very well. Thank you to everyone for your help and knowledge.
     
  9. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    That's great to hear, and thanks for the update. Best wishes.
     

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