Is this a normal rooster power struggle?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Wrooster, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. Wrooster

    Wrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2013
    Northern Florida
    Rooster "Pop" is about 4 years old, has been the only rooster or clearly dominant his whole life. For the last year or so he's been the only one and currently has about 8 hens. A Sussex, he free-ranged until we got tired of having to fight him off and he's tough and street-wise.

    Rooster "LP" is almost 1 year old. A beautiful Sussex-Buff Orpington cross. Was not part of the plan but we gave a kids' program some fertilized eggs and we got him back uninvited as a pullet when they couldn't raise him. We tried to put him in with the others a couple of months ago when he was smaller but he was getting beat up on by all the rest and was in a place where he couldn't get away, so he's been in a separate coop.

    A couple of days ago I left a door open and Pop got out. He and LP had been fighting through LP's chicken wire for an hour or more before I noticed. Pop's head & comb were bloodied and he was huddled on the ground. We took him to the house for a couple of days of R&R and Neosporin while we gave Pop's coop and hens to LP.

    Today we tried to put Pop back in the coop. I thought he'd clearly lost the fight the first time and would get over it. Wrong!!! They went at it for over half an hour out in their yard. Pop was beaten into the ground every time he came back for more, but he kept coming back. LP was bigger, stronger and faster and repeatedly had Pop on the ground, pecking at his neck but Pop wouldn't quit. When Pop got chased into their small feeding pen I grabbed LP and separated them because that's too small a place for a fair fight - and I'd had enough.

    Now LP is strutting alone in his private coop, Pop is back with his hens (and looking like a dishrag) and I guess we're back where we started. I should have let them work this out much earlier but since I didn't:

    Is this what it takes for 2 roosters to work it out or should I get rid of one before I lose him anyway? I'm OK with putting one in the freezer but each of them came from a source I feel some responsibility to and it would be hard to explain. I'll do it if I have to but would rather not.

    Here's LP waiting for Pop to get back up and get knocked down again:
    ][​IMG]



    This is Pop hiding in a corner of the pen after I separated them.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    It is normal. The old bird going down so quickly may indicate health issue. How does he feel? If fight allowed to progress with one going down to quickly you risk serious injury.
     
  3. Wrooster

    Wrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2013
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    Pop was not in shape for a fight. He was still recovering from the battle through the chicken wire and I think he was looking tired already. He's overdue for worming - that could be part of it. He had a really bad day and looks like it. The other one is fine.

    That's how it looked but what's my alternative? Maybe he got the message this time but it really looked like he wasn't going to quit until he was dead. What do you think about putting them together every few hours long enough for one (Pop) to go down and then breaking it up for a while?
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Allowing access to fight it out generally works but ideally looser has the option to run and winner has no reason to press issue. Pop going down without conceding increases odds the other will cause real damage. Isolate Pop, clean him up which includes worm treatment, then reconsider what your intent is with him. I am not all that familiar with his breed but as a four year old he may simply not have it in him owing to age. I would retire him.
     
  5. Wrooster

    Wrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2013
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    That's looking like the most reasonable solution. Thanks for the advice.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Sounds like Pop would rather die than be dethroned. I think you should arrange that for him. I had red flags when you talked about having to fight him off--he wouldn't have lived that long here.

    A 4 year old rooster is perfectly edible, btw. I just processed my 4 year old guy a few months ago. Pressure cooked, meat pulled and made into enchiladas.
     

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