Is it possible to keep roosters together?

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by Southcliffe1, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Southcliffe1

    Southcliffe1 New Egg

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    I have 11 chickens, that we rescued and one had had a broken leg so we ended up keeping them as pets of the eleven six of them turned out to be cock birds! They have all lived happily for last couple of years - free range over our garden and fields during the day and roost at night in an old horsebox. Unfortunately a neighbour started to complain about the cock birds crowing in the mornings so I try to shut them up at night or at least at weekends. One of the cock birds was in a tree and ever since he was seperated the others started to fight with him then more have started to fight each other. I have split up the ones that were fighting (3) of them and the rest now seem fine. Is it their age, time of year or the fact that they were shut in and one was seperated? Do you think they will get along again or do I need to keep them seperate? I didn't know whether to leave them sort it out or if they would end up killing each other as it looked quite nasty. They had blood specks on heads and on hanging bits on their heads and under the beaks but nothing too serious but they seemed to want to keep fighting, even food did not stop them so I intervened and seperated them. They are all pets with names and characters and I only want to keep them safe and happy. I can pen them in in different pens and let them out alternative days but I just wondered it anyone else could give their opinion of experiences on roosters living together as I am not sure what I should do for the best?
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I had about 18 roosters in my flock of fifty or so chickens, plus ducks and a pair of geese. They all co-existed just fine after establishing their pecking order. All fighting was either for show as challenges, or very minor.

    Then the neighbors complained, so I've had to divest myself of several of them. The large fowl RIR "packing peanuts" sent with the pair of goslings from Ideal Poultry went first, to be processed at a friend's house. Several bantams were re-homed, a BCM rooster went with some free hens to build a new flock for a new chicken owner.

    But I still have six roosters, who all get along. There IS a dominant roo over them all.
     
  3. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Of my 300 so plus chickens I have many many roosters, in-fact I often enjoy them more then the hens. Some I do have to separate... their ego is just to big for their britches, but very few.... most get along pretty well with just the occasional squabble.
     
  4. Southcliffe1

    Southcliffe1 New Egg

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    Thank you for your reply, that is very helpful. I am sorry you had to give some of yours up, neighbours are a pain! The neighbour of ours complains about everything from Christmas lights, our dogs barking (at the postman etc) to children playing in garden to hearing a radio that we left on for the horses! Now its the cockerals!!

    My thoughts were that it was because one got seperated that started the fighting but also they are quite mature now and there are only 5 females so that may also be a reason, as might be that it is spring. I will try them all out together again and see if the fighting passes.
     
  5. Southcliffe1

    Southcliffe1 New Egg

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    Gosh three hundred of them! Wow!!... Ok well thank you so much for your reply it is very helpful to me. It maybe that because one got seperated it caused the fighting as they had never done that before but it may be that they have reached maturity or that I don't have enough hens? It was the two biggest roosters that started to fight so you are probably spot on with your comment that some of them just have too bigger egos (just like men really!). I love having the roosters around though, they are just so beautiful to look at. Sometimes they all sit in a row on the gate and their feathers shine in the sunlight they all have the most amazing colours, and they are so well behaved more so than our dogs or children as they come when they are called and they always come back!
     
  6. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Yes, if one was seperated for a bit, he is like a new rooster when put back with the flock and a new pecking order has to be established.
     
  7. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't think it is their age or the time of year, they are just very sensitive to changes in hierarchy related to territory. I have 3 roosters who live together quite well, but I have found that it can be a delicate balance. When one of them was removed from the coop for only a couple of days to recuperate from an illness, I found when I returned him to the coop during the day they started fighting. I removed him immediately because I was concerned about putting him under additional stress so soon after an illness. I read about people reintroducing chickens into the coop at night when they are roosting, so that same evening at night fall I put him in the coop with the other roosters. It was just light enough for me to see outside, but it was pretty much dark in the coop, so they couldn't fight even if they wanted to. The next morning I made a point of going out early to make sure they were alright. They were already in the run acting normally, and there was no evidence of any fighting. I think this method reduces the confrontation of reintroduction, but I am not sure if it will work if they have been separated for an extended period of time. If they are enclosed in a place that is very dark they probably will not be able to fight. I also think that if they are free ranging in the garden during the day, fights may break out, but they will be able to back down and escape if the fighting gets too intense. I think fighting has more potential to get dangerous when a rooster can get cornered.
     
  8. kidcody

    kidcody Overrun With Chickens

    What happens is this time of year there testosterone rises and they become more aggressive towards each other for mating rights and territory. Real normal for roosters to get along because they have excepted each other in the pecking order but it is also normal this time of year for them to challenge each other for the higher power. They will usually continue to fight until one wins or dies doing so. Personally I would separate and try putting them together in the very cold of winter when there testosterone levels are at there lowest. I have done this and it has work. But you must remember chickens will fight each other to the death it is a gamble to put them back together. Good luck!
     
  9. qiab

    qiab Out Of The Brooder

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    just give them enough space, let them work out the pecking order. allow the weaker roosters to get shelter away from the dominant ones.

    If intervention is needed then boil water, add seasoning, and enjoy!
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  10. Southcliffe1

    Southcliffe1 New Egg

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    Thank you for your response, I will try that (putting them back in dark) as they usually go into an old horsebox to roost at night and it is quite dark in there. I will also be up early incase of any fighting. It would be nice if they were altogether again as they used to get along just fine, but if they still fight I will split them again and keep trying. It is horrid that they would fight to the death but they are free range so they do have the option to get away, however when I split them up it was because there was blood and they seemed to want to keep fighting neither looked like it was going to back down!
    Thank you again for all your comments.
     

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