Newbie Needing Advice...Shocking, I Know

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MrsCoffee, May 24, 2016.

  1. MrsCoffee

    MrsCoffee New Egg

    May 24, 2016
    So, um...2 of my "hens" have begun trying to clear their throats in earnest. Sounds a lot like crowing. I'm sure it's allergies, right?

    My ideal situation was a small flock of free range, bug destroying, egg producing, hens. It would seem as though I may have a few (at least 2) cockerels. Can I keep every single one of them? They have NAMES for God's sake!!! One of the "hens with seasonal allergies" will even come up and sit on my lap.
    I wanted to try just letting the males and females out at different times during the day and cooping the males separate from the hens. In your collective experience - will this work? Also, can more than one be penned together or will they hurt each other? I get they need to establish a hierarchy, but I'm no Michael Vic.
    Any advice? Thanks so much in advance.
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j True BYC Addict

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    It is possible to build a bachelor pen and keep them. Some will tell you it has to be out of sight of the hens, but in my experience, it hasn't really mattered. I won't keep a bunch of non-productive chickens, so mine go live in the freezer or in jars in the pantry.
  3. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Unless a local ordinance restricts possessing roosters...I don't see the problem.

    Your biggest difference will be fertilized eggs vs non-fertilized eggs. The roosters will protect the girls, and make sure that they go into the coop each night. The roosters will find food for the girls as they range about the property and the roosters will be the first to greet you each day when you come out to do chores.

    I wish, sincerely wish, that I could have roosters with my flock, but that is not to be...

    What breed do you have?
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j True BYC Addict

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    The roosters may protect the girls. Without a rooster, an alpha hen will sometimes take on the role of warning the flock if a threat is perceived. A rooster is often just a speed bump for a predator. Get the rooster first, then clean out the rest. The hens will put themselves into the coop each night with or without a rooster. Mine do. They also find food on their own. (Currently roosterless, but have about 10 cockerels to choose from - the rest will go in the freezer or into jars in my pantry) My hens will come out when I go do chores, too, but mostly just to see if I've brought them any goodies. A rooster can be an asset to the flock, but he can also be a pain. As Mrs. K says, they're a crap shoot.
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
  5. tinakevin

    tinakevin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2015
    New hampahire
    I had 2 roosters in my flock and they were fine together. One was a barred rock and the other a rir. They did establish a hierarchy and the br was the alpha. The rir had a couple hens that the br allowed him to have and it worked out perfectly
  6. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is common sense...
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    It might work, and it might not. The one that is sitting in your lap, is not afraid of you, and is thinking he is more dominant than you. Might need to watch him, often times the darling becomes the nightmare. Do you have small children? If this is your first flock, and you have children under the age of 5, I would recommend removing them from your flock. Roosters need experience. Often times newbies do not recognize the subtle signs that a rooster is getting too aggressive until they are flogging you. Roosters becoming aggressive tend to attack children first. A small child will meet this attack at eye level, not good.

    If you do decide to keep them, then (in my opinion) you need to be prepared to cull them at a moments notice, because if it doesn't work out between them or between you, you need to be able to get them separated ASAP. Rooster fights can be to the death. How many hens are you having? Two roosters - need about 20 hens. If you treat puppies and kittens nicely, they generally become nice comfortable pets, but this is not true for roosters in a flock society. A flock depends on respect (fear) to know their proper place in the hierarchy. If the rooster is not afraid of you, he will try and dominate you, even flogging you. Roosters need to move out of your way, not sit in your lap.

    Sometimes there is an alpha and a beta rooster, and they are happy with that for years, sometimes for a long time, and then one day it is over and the fighting begins. Roosters are a crap shoot. A nice adult one is a joy to have, but one must always be aware that it is an intact male animal, and that the brain is small and the hormones can be huge.

    My advice - 1st year - just hens, second year, pray for a broody, slip fertilized eggs (from someone else) or day old chick under her, let her raise them in the flock. Older hen teach chicks proper manners. 3rd year, cull your rooster chicks down to one. Next year, hatch your own chicks. This is a wonderful hobby, you don't have to do it all in one year.

    Last year, I finally got a second coop (see this hobby does grow) I did pull my roosters at about 8 weeks from the main flock. They were in hearing of the main coop, and often times there were crowing contests. I had 7 roosters in there for a couple of months, and they got along just fine.

    Mrs K
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  8. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sound advice
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    As usual, Mrs K nails it with her observations of poultry behavior and advice! The only other comment I have to add is this: If you intend to keep these 2 boys (there may be several more late bloomers), what is your reasoning? If merely because you're attached to them, how far will that attachment go at 4 AM... even at 3:30 AM when they are experiencing their allergy attacks... which can then go on all day long. And that's EVERY AM, no respect of the occasional Saturday when you have the chance to catch a few extra moments of pillow time. How attached when you have to build a separate coop for them? When they start fighting? Do you intend to ever hatch eggs? If the last answer is yes, then, I advise keeping only one. And for both of them, start dominance training immediately. No more lap time, no more cuddles, no more hand fed treats. Teach those boys to stay at arms length all the time. Even if you have no children, a rooster who doesn't respect humans can be an insurance liability with visitors. When my young roosters finally head to freezer camp, the peacefulness that follows is a blessed event. Last fall, I did allow 2 cockrels to stay with the flock. They both got along splendidly, as they did with their daddy! The issue causing their removal was their poor courtship manners of the ladies.
    1 person likes this.

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