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Pecking-Order Upheaval

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by drdoolittle, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. drdoolittle

    drdoolittle Songster

    Jul 30, 2010
    NE Indiana
    I have 5 roos, 4 of whom I keep in the same coop and pen. One is 1 1/2 yrs. old, one 10 mos. old, one 8 mos. old and one 6 mos. old. The oldest has always been king of the barnyard-----chasing the others, pecking them, and some minor skirmishes with no noticeable bloodshed. Today, something changed. My 10 mos. old was chasing the 1 1/2 yr. old around the community pen (100' X 100') and then chased him into the barn. By the time I got there, the older roo was cowering in a small doghouse, with the younger practically sitting on top of him, pecking away (this time there was blood drawn). I'm hoping that once the younger roo is acknowledged as the alpha, this behavior will go away, and things will settle down. (I also noticed a he n who had a bloodied comb-----I suspect the 10 mos. old roo also did that.) I don't have a way to separate the agressor right now, other than perhaps keeping him locked up in a dog crate, or rabbit cage inside the coop-----but I really don't want to do that. I also don't want to find a dead rooster one of these mornings--------what suggestions or experiences do others have? Is this normal behavior that will pass once the pecking order is re-established?

    By the way, my kids hate the older roo, as he tends to "attack" them or Hubby if they enter the pen or coop. My 16-yr. old son and I dealt with it by giving him a slight kick whenever he attempted anything, and he has been behaving with us. I sort of feel bad for him losing his position---he's very good with the hens, but so are the other roos (except maybe for the one that was bloodied today).
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010

  2. drdoolittle

    drdoolittle Songster

    Jul 30, 2010
    NE Indiana
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    It will be difficult if not impossible to integrate the once dominant rooster back into the flock. The greatest danger is that all 4 roosters will attack and kill him. A deposed king gets no respect at all. Skirmishes will probably break out among the remaining four roosters as they jostle for position. Some peoople have success maintaining multiple roosters in an enclosed situation. It never worked for me. Free range is a different situation in that the vanquished has the opportunity to run away and hide.
  4. powerline

    powerline In the Brooder

    Nov 16, 2008
    If you can place the dethroned cock in a small pen inside the larger pen for a few days, things should settle down.
  5. drdoolittle

    drdoolittle Songster

    Jul 30, 2010
    NE Indiana
    Well, they kind of free-range during the day, as our pen is 100' x 100'. I thought I would probably have to pen someone up. One of my roos is already separated from the rest----he and his 3 BO hens are in a large dog kennel with a doghouse. I am hoping to get some large rabbit hutches this spring to use for breeding pens, and that way I'll only have my oldest roo in the main coop.

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