Introducing Roosters who Freerange Together(ish) but do not Roost Together

froggieogreen

In the Brooder
6 Years
Jan 3, 2014
18
0
22
Nova Scotia
The short version: The neighbour and I both have chickens, and she's had to replace her roo (as of last night). My roo has never dared step a toe out of line with her old roo, but this morning he and the new roo had a scuffle. There was damage done to both (doesn't appear serious, but both were wounded in their combs and wattles) and we're not sure how to proceed. Both flocks are free ranging, our houses are close but the yards are quite large and there is ample visual barrier between the two coops (houses, forest, blackberry thicket...).

Fair warning: fencing them in permanently is not an option for us right now. We're looking for ways to make their chicken brains realize that they have more than enough space to coexist without competition. Should we continue to let them "meet" and hope they don't really hurt each other, or is there a better way? It's odd because it's not at all like they're in an enclosed or small area together... They have at least 6 acres to mess around in, we expected them to be curious or maybe alarmed by each other, but not threatened.

(Background info) We let them suss each other out and jump around a bit, hoping that one would back down or they'd fight a bit and then realize that they have more than enough room and ladies to go around. They didn't appear overly aggressive (it took them a good three-four hours to get close to each other after watching each other through the trees for a while) and they weren't going for killing blows, they just wouldn't stop and we decided to step in when blood was visible from a distance. Since we were on her property, I took my guy and have him locked up. I don't know if this makes sense to chicken-brains, but I was hoping it would teach him that he is not dominant in her yard, whether it is to another rooster or a human. If it makes any difference, even though I stepped in mid-fight (maybe not the smartest thing to do...) he was very docile and didn't struggle at all when I picked him up (nor did the other roo make any aggressive moves towards either of us). The other roo took the opportunity to book it to the other end of the yard. It was the most passive fight I've ever seen, with both sides backing down instantly once a human stepped in. It's a bit confusing, since they backed down so easily - why were they fighting in the first place anyway...? Silly boys.

Anyway, does anyone have experience in this area? Right now, my roo is more tame than hers (since he's so new) so I'm willing to do stupid things to get him to respect the boundaries of our properties! :) Thanks for any help!
 

foreverlearning

Songster
6 Years
Aug 4, 2013
2,421
326
198
Because it is a new rooster your rooster is trying to make sure the new one knows its place. If you could I would put them together separated by plastic see threw fencing or wire door (like on dog crates) so they can see each other and talk to each other but not touch for a couple of days that might help. I have a grow out pen that newbies stay in for their first week outside so the flock gets to know them before ranging with them. Another thing you can do is let them battle it out but if you see blood again put them both in a "time out". By time out I mean a dog create for 20 minutes or longer if needed. They will soon figure it out. Many roosters together are able to get along, I have 4 outside right now with no fighting after the pecking order was figured out.
 

froggieogreen

In the Brooder
6 Years
Jan 3, 2014
18
0
22
Nova Scotia
Do you think the location would matter? I don't want my roo thinking that the neighbour's yard is "his." They don't seem the types to outright fight like this, yet... they have. I'm thinking we might have to jury-rig a little cage for my guy and set him out near where he and his girls usually hang out for the day. He's the one who went over to the neighbour's yard... her guy hasn't even come near my place.
 

foreverlearning

Songster
6 Years
Aug 4, 2013
2,421
326
198
That would be a great time out for him. The other rooster will at some point come in your yard to range if he has access, hopefully they have their issues out of the way before then. If you cage both of them near each other you would want to do it near the property line so they know their area. If you are putting one of them in time out it should be near where his flock spends most of their day at. Roosters learn quickly when it comes to shame and not being able to mate their hens.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
3,899
581
Southern Oregon
You'll pretty much need to let them sort it out. Usually one rooster backs down pretty quick, runs away and it's done. Interrupting the fight is just delaying the inevitable. If you're able to keep an eye on them do so, as it's rare but occasionally they'll decide they'd rather die than run away. If that's the case with your guys, I'm not sure what the solution would be.....they don't understand property lines.
 

centrarchid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
24,256
13,971
696
Holts Summit, Missouri
You can get flocks to separate by placing feeding stations for each flock well away from their common boundary. Ideally each feeding station will be adjacent to heavy cover. Potential problem is where common boundary provide the best loafing and cover area in the 6 acres. Another complicating issue can be hen to rooster ratio as when it is too far off for one or both flocks then birds will be motivated to interact with more birds. The ideal for productivity generally favors hens more than what is ideal for what chickens want.

I currently have two free-ranging males that have a small stream with heavy vegetation demarking the boundary between territories. Fights do occur and I have mechanisms to suppress that you likely do not have. Now that boundaries are recognized by both flocks, hens as well, fighting is minimal but both males are a little dinged up.
 

froggieogreen

In the Brooder
6 Years
Jan 3, 2014
18
0
22
Nova Scotia
So far, things have gone well, I think. Thanks for the advice, everybody! This morning, they had another "meeting" and it turns out my roo was more interested in the neighbour's hens than in her rooster... no fighting, but I still brought him back home because really, no need to be greedy, he has plenty of his own hens here. Her roo took off, and my guy followed only until he saw one of the other hens, then he abruptly changed course. They've been crowing at each other all morning, but not going near each other. Hopefully, their first bloody encounter was enough to teach them that the other one will fight back, so it's not worth it to be all macho. :)
 
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