Need to make decision soon

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
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Western Ohio
Should I get rid of the 3 DBL pullets, and get rid of the BA rooster?

We have 12 pullets, 2 cockerels - all the same age of eight months old. Additionally have 7 chicks that are 7 weeks old. Plenty of room. Head boy is the BA rooster, other cockerel is a BJG of the same age. The BA is a protector, but also is a bully and has been coming after us, especially if our back is turned - but not always, not even every day. He does pick on some of the hens pretty consistently - as in picking a fight (or putting them in their place) for no apparent reason. A good example is when I will be in the garden area by the run, I'll allow 3-5 pullets out to graze grass for a bit. He would like to come out too (and sometimes gets this opportunity), but if he is not allowed out then he will go after certain pullets (often the DBLs that are too timid to leave the run) and kind of attack them and chase them....no real reason. I've seen this occur other times too, not related to grazing. Adolescent jerkiness? The BJG is more docile, so far.

We have a tween that does a lot to care for the chickens, and is getting to be leary of the BA, and wants us to get rid of him. We can take him to a livestock auction in the area - occurs on a regular (every month) basis, or advertise to get rid of him.

The DBLs seem to be lowest in pecking order (although one might not be), but none ....I mean none...are laying (should be white eggs and these are the only white layers). But all the rest of the pullets are laying.
 

HenHouse4Life

GrandmaOnDuty
Mar 22, 2016
1,374
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Mid Michigan
At that age your boys are just now trying to figure out their own personalities and attitudes. I would, however, try to nip the unwanted behavior in the bud. Sometimes this can be accomplished, sometimes it cannot. I like to give my cockerels a year to adjust and grow into themselves.
If you choose to rehome you can offer him here on BYC or post on your state's thread.
Good luck to you!
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,532
20,841
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Southeast Louisiana
What are your goals with chickens, why do you have them? What do you expect out of those leghorns, what do you expect out of your cockerels? I could use my goals to answer your questions but would rather use yours.

At eight months those leghorns should be laying, at least a couple of them. Are you sure they are not hiding a nest somewhere in the coop and run. That's a common cause of a pullet or hen that should be laying to not be. They can be really creative about hiding a nest. The other reason they may not be laying is the molt. While many pullets skip the molt their first fall/winter and lay throughout the winter some don't. Are you seeing a lot of their feathers flying around? It's also a little strange that they won't leave the run. Leghorns are usually good foragers. I don't know why you chose leghorns to start with but if you are not happy with them and are happy with the others you might want to get rid of them before you feed them through a winter.

The only reason you need a male is if you want fertile eggs. Any other reason is personal preference. Personal preference is pretty strong but that's for you to decide. I always try to recommend that you keep as few males as you can and meet your goals. That's not because you are guaranteed more problems with multiple males, but that problems are more likely. For some people the correct number is zero.

Those two are still cockerels, the Jersey Giant is a breed known to be slow to mature. As cockerels the hormones are still in control but by 8 months that Australorp should be acting more like a man than a bratty boy. Different cockerels of the same breed mature at different rates, I've had some that pretty well matures before 6 months, one took 11. I'll cut the Jersey Giant some slack because he is a slower maturing breed but in general I find that the cockerels that are slower to mature tend to be a bit more violent toward the pullets and hens than one that matures early and is full of self-confidence. Also the dominant male suppresses the roosterly behaviors of the non-dominant. By beating up the girls when you don't let him out he loses some points with me.

Then you have your 'tween scared of him. There are all kinds of theories and opinions about why a male becomes human aggressive and what you can do about it. I have my own opinions but all that is my is opinion. Sometimes what people suggest works, sometimes it doesn't. I do think the attitude of the human involved has an effect on the males behavior. If your 'tween is scared of him he can sense that and chickens, male and female, can be bullies. I don't know how your Jersey Giant cockerel will behave as he matures and after you take that dominant Australorp away but if it were me the Australorp would be at the next auction. It's possible that cockerel will straighten out when he actually matures but unless your goals call for him there are too many good cockerels and roosters out there to put up with a bad one.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,275
18,870
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Western Ohio
@Ridgerunner
Goals include a rooster for the experience. Tween wants the chickens, and has been enjoying the 4-H experience with them. As a parent, I see part of the experience as being learning to care for and deal with the chickens. The person installing the electric in the coop and run over the past few days likes chickens, and grew up around them. He indicated the cockerel was pretty well behaved for a rooster in his experience. He found that walking around the run and coop with an extended measuring tape he was holding in his hand was enough to get the rooster to keep moving away from him, and rooster was not otherwise aggressive. I think roosters goal was to block his path, but gave up when this person continued to walk towards him with an extended tape measure, and didn’t follow up with any escalation. For us, we walk with the fishing net and he clears out far away. I find that if this BA cockerel is standing guard and I enter coop (no fishing net in hand), he thinks about standing in my way, but does not move towards me, however, if I extend my foot towards him (not fast, not kicking...just to get him to move farther away) he actually seems to become more aggressive..wanting to move towards me, or might come towards me if I turn my back. Interestingly, I can come into the run a couple of feet, check for eggs at the nest box, just inside the run entrance, and leave....no interaction with BA, but as I walk along the fence (outside the run) I’ll find he has run at me and has an aggressive stance as I’m walking past the fence, not every time, but many times. One thing that mitigates his aggressiveness is the fact that the coop is elevated 2.5 feet, so he can’t get the height of attack unless he’s in the open part of the run. So far, if we are in the open part he hasn’t come after us, but he is attentive and stands “guard”.

The DBLs - one goal is to have eggs. White eggs in addition to our brown and green. So, I do think we will get rid of them. It will be interesting to see whose at bottom of pecking order when they are gone. Of the 7 chicks, picked out of the “extra” bin at a hatchery, 2 look to possibly be male (which are poor odds as the hatchery told me they only sell females in the extra bin and these were 5 days post hatch and certainly above the 10pct error that supposedly occurs). Then again, they also told me none in the extra bin were bantams, but when we were paying I mentioned this to cashier and she looked up, startled, and said “you picked out all bantams!” She nicely took us back over to bin and helped us select non-bantams (except for very cute one that my daughter had to have).
 

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