Keeping roosters together

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by trish5909, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. trish5909

    trish5909 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 28, 2011
    Erin, Ontario, Canada
    Hi everyone, I am wondering how to organize my flock with the least amount of stress & fighting. We've only ever had hens. Last winter we hatched some eggs and got 3 roosters to add to our 22 hens. The roosters get alone fine together.

    In May, we got 60 day-old birds (unsexed) and have a number of roosters in the mix, though not as many as you would expect -- probably only about 15 or so. They also get along well, though they are only coming up on 21 weeks right now. The 2 flocks are in 2 separate coops and the outdoor run is separated by a wire fence so they can see & hear each other but not touch. We also have a 3rd coop that we use for chicks, though it's empty at the moment.

    The new birds are now about as large as the older birds. We want to keep at least 1 rooster from each type of chicken (White & Partridge Chantecler, Jersey Giant, Orpington, Rhode Island Red) to hatch our own eggs in the spring.

    We plan to keep about 60 of the birds through the winter and the rest will end up in the freezer.

    So... does anyone have any advice on how we should organize the flocks? Should we separate layers from broilers which could mean a disproportionate number of roosters to hens in one of the coops?

    Should we keep all the roosters together or will they kill each other? (With cattle, if you have more than one bull among cows, there are problems but a herd of strictly bulls seems to get along fine as long as there are no ladies present).

    Should we just open the gates between the coops and let them organize themselves?

    RIght now, they're all getting a layer ration but when it comes time to cull the birds, we want to switch to a broiler ration for the birds we're not keeping, to increase their size.

    I have no idea how to make the transition as peaceful as possible. If there is no other way, then we would cull the roosters now, although they could still get bigger if we wait another few months (the Jersey Giants are slow-growing).

    Any advice would be appreciated!
  2. trish5909

    trish5909 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 28, 2011
    Erin, Ontario, Canada
    Well, it's done now...

    I guess the decision about how to organize the flocks has now been made for me. Our children's caregiver closed up the coops last night but left the gate between the outdoor runs open. This morning my husband, trying to do me a favour, let the chickens out but didn't check the gate. When I went out a couple of hours later, the flocks were totally mixed with very little disturbance or problem. The roosters seem okay together but a few of the older hens were a bit territorial with the young'uns.

    My preference would still be to take the birds to be culled and separate them & feed them a broiler ration for a month or so but don't know if I can put that many roosters together. What do other people who raise birds for meat do?
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    You can keep several roosters together if there are no hens. If you have roos and hens, you have to limit the roos for possible fighting and probable overmating.

    Roos in a "bachelor pad" usually do quite well together.
  4. trish5909

    trish5909 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 28, 2011
    Erin, Ontario, Canada
    That's good to know. I also asked a neighbour who used to keep a lot of chickens and he said the key to keeping roosters together peacefully is to keep the entertained. He used to put a big pile of dirt/aged manure outside for them to pick through, and he would thread twine through apples and hang them from the ceiling of the coop, whcich would keep the birds busy for hours.
  5. lbaur2

    lbaur2 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 2, 2013
    Avon indiana
    Hey trish so glad to find you on here haha. Did u end up keeping roos together if so how is it going because I would like to do the same with all the roos I hatch -logan from ig
  6. LukensFarms

    LukensFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2013
    Fort Collins, CO
    Keeping them together works for the most part but watch to make sure one isn't being picked on.
  7. lmsw0422

    lmsw0422 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2014
    Can I keep my two Roos in a pen together separate from my 16 girls? There is a building between them.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    I feed a "flock raiser" or "all flock" and offer oyster shell on the side. To high of calcium in a roosters diet long term for your keepers could cause kidney problems. Come to think of it, isn't good for pullets not laying yet either. Same issue.

    It has more protein than layer feed so probably good for your meaties as well.

    Give fermented feed a try. It will probably save you a bunch with that many birds. And the poos are more solid and less sticky!

    Good luck!

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