Layers, meat birds an dealing with groups of unruly cockerels (input / feedback requested).

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tankerman, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. tankerman

    tankerman Out Of The Brooder

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    Here's the situation;
    We raise meat birds (order chicks) and we keep a flock of layers that's a mix of birds we hatch and the occasional new blood we introduce by purchasing a few chicks.


    Not much of an issue dealing with the meat birds since they all arrive and depart at the same time. Problem we have is with the birds that come from the eggs we incubate/hatch.

    We've been averaging about 40%-50% roosters from just about every batch of eggs we hatch and a few months later end up with another gang of unruly cockerels.

    We always start with the intention of letting them fatten up before butchering, but they end up creating so much mayhem they never make it to full meaty-ness before I end up culling them.

    Biggest problems with the cockerels are them ganging up/abusing hens (one died two night ago from their abuse) and the other problem is the crowing contests that go on all day long.

    Typically I try to identify the ringleader / biggest troublemaker and cull him first, which usually quiets things down for a few days, but they never calm down long enough, to make it to meat maturity. Cockerels taste OK, but I just don't feel like the return (time/effort/feed) is very good when the birds are butchered at so young an age.

    Part of this problem comes from our breeding program (so it's self inflicted). Our breeding rooster in a beautiful Fayoumi who's great with the hens, however, Fayoumi's are they fastest to mature of any breed. When crossed with RR, Australorps, EE, Jersey Giants etc....the offspring mature quicker than they normal and egg production starts sooner too, another benefit is the birds also grow bigger than either of the parents. The two drawbacks are; cockerels get their voice at a very young age and their sexual drive seems to have doubled.


    Not really interested in culling newly hatched chicks just because they're roosters.


    Only options I see are caponizing (which doesn't sound like a very enjoyable task) or maybe creating a cockerel pen so they can be isolated (but that still doesn't cure he crowing/noise issue).


    Would appreciate flock management input/feedback).


    Thank you.
     
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    Cockerel pen. Then you can fatten them up nicely.
     
  3. Fly Fisher

    Fly Fisher Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 31, 2011
    Upstate New York
    You should separate the cockerels into their own housing. Instead of a pen think about a shed or part of a barn where light can be controlled.
    Dim light will keep the noise down quite a bit

    fly
     
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also a separate pen with no hens to crow for there will be less crowing competition. Not being able to see the hens should help as well.
     
  5. tankerman

    tankerman Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 7, 2012
    Sonoma county
    My Coop
    Not sure how to keep them from seeing the hens, unless I confine them inside.

    The crowing seems to be one upsmsnship between cockerels and the roo.
     
  6. Fly Fisher

    Fly Fisher Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 31, 2011
    Upstate New York
    Since your issue with the unruly cockerels is ongoing and becomes an issue every few months a permanent solution needs to be considered.

    If you were to build or acquire an additional shed you can separate all of your cockerels to this area to fatten up before processing. Use red light inside and limit the amount of daylight to a few hours per day when you feed them.

    This set up has worked well for me. I keep a shed with 20 breeder roosters in this type of environment. Because there are no hens and the light is dim they are fairly quiet. They are also fairly docile.

    Fly
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree that a separate pen would be your best option. Do you live in an area where the crowing is bothering your neighbors? Or do you just not like hearing it?
     
  8. tankerman

    tankerman Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 7, 2012
    Sonoma county
    My Coop
    I work out of my house and having a large group of roosters letting loose outside my window while on conference calls attracts unfavorable attention. Also, it's not just the noise, but the abuse the cockerels dish-out to the hens.


    My neighbor hasn't complained, yet.
    He plays with race cars in his garage, so I'm pretty sure he knows that complaining about our roosters will not work out well for his enjoyment of extremely loud cars.
     
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree that too many roosters is hard on your hens. That's why I suggested the separate coop. I didn't know why the crowing would be a problem. I actually missed it when we butchered our spares last fall [​IMG]. Is there any way you could build them a separate pen farther away from the house so the crowing doesn't bother your calls? Just throwing ideas out there. It worked really well for us to have a grow-out pen for our cockerels before butchering. Kept them away from the hens and the fighting to a minimum.
     

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