Please help me! Roosters who stays, who goes?????

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by krabed2007, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. krabed2007

    krabed2007 Out Of The Brooder

    34
    2
    29
    Oct 4, 2016
    I'm looking for advice on a few different things but I believe they all tie into maintaining my flock and believe it's all pecking order related.

    I'm so sorry this is pretty long. I tried really hard to make it short, little confusion. I'm so stumped and lost. I'm really hoping that some of you experts here at least someone will read it and help me through this and give me advice on what to do. Thank you so much to anyone and everyone who does!

    A short version of my situation, we moved to a farm, our neighbor a strictly business farm owners residing elsewhere

    The owners and their employees are great, allowing us use of an old barn in between us for our animals. I don't know what exactly these barns are called but I would guess that they're about 60'x100' and a gazillion feet tall! They're two stories with huge lofts on both sides as big and high as the bottom levels. After a lot of work it's usable now which I've set up for our chickens with feed, dust bathing, nesting boxes areas etc and they're allowed to free range.

    Hard thing for us is the go to auctions and will purchase different animals with intentions of releasing them at the farm to be free-range. Bunnies, hens and roosters now. Lots of acreage plenty of room with buildings and barns, and I know it's what's best for animals. None of these buildings are proper housing or safe from predators especially at night. We boarded up broken windows, holes and put doors on the barn we're using and I still built a coop for secured protection.

    We've taken on caring for all these animals as much as possible because we're so close they migrate over. Plus my kiddos always like petting, playing and feeding them.

    There used to be 3 hens, two were killed by coyotes a few months apart. First disappeared and a 3 day period +/- before the 2nd disappearing nightly we heard coyotes very close to our home. One morning found tons of feathers all over and her remains, carcass and legs in the opposite of the barn.

    Scooped up the remaining hen put her in our run and she's been with us ever since. Told me neighbors what happened and where the last hen was, didn't seemed bothered by the death or even care, completely shunned a coyote attack saying the won't come around cattle apparently. Huge coincidence for coyote activity and a killed hen to me.

    The hen was traumatized whatever happened. She stopped laying eggs when before both hens were laying daily.

    Now they're onto rooster who are here now too. Well we ended up with 4 roosters from our 6 chicks! Increasing the rooster count to 8!

    Problem we have to many roosters and I am at a complete loss at what to do and how to go about managing them until I can rehome some.

    I need help with

    1. Who do I keep? Who will be good roosters? Protecting? Leading? Not harassing a lot? Etc.

    I've been told that you can't have standards and bantams flocked together, which I have both, hens and roosters and only roosters raised together from hatch will get along. I'd prefer to not have to segregate, however I want to keep my bantams and standards.

    Can bantams protect a flock as well as standards can? I'm concerned about that.

    So far my standards don't seem to mind the bantams. Only once I think a pecking fight happened when I found my splash silkie in a corner bloodied from a really torn up comb and pecked eye. Nothing more since except the challenges between the standards. Two bigger tiffs with a lot of bloodied combs have happened recently.

    Anaconda, Chicken Little and Jr are my neighbors although we did name them, lol. The information on them might not be accurate just what I was told.

    Anaconda, doesn't have yellow shanks but is supposed to be a barred rock unknown age.

    Immediately he took on my flock a lot smaller then with 2 standard hens and 6 silkies in a coop/run combo. I was to scared to allow free range then, still am actually. But day and night he would sit outside or on top the run. Even to sleep!

    Anaconda is seems like a good rooster, skiddish but friendly. Protective and generally refuses to coop up if anyone is missing, except he's left, forgotten or maybe doesn't consider them flock? the silkies hens, a couple other hens and roosters a few times.

    He's not usually fighting even when challenged. But he strongly dislikes my Rosco which concerns me.

    The last fight we don't know what happened, he was covered with blood on his head, face and comb with it down his feathers and his feet. None of the roosters had blood anywhere or evidence of fighting but one hen, who is definitely part of his ladies had some on her.

    Chicken Little an amerucana cross RIR age unknown but very unpredictable. I want to rehome him because of his aggressive behaviors, he's pecked my son in the face and tries to attack my sons a lot, like a challenge.

    Jr, RIR 1yr maybe younger seems fine and very friendly but challenges a lot even Anaconda. Othink he's trying to climb the pecking order. One of those fights was between Jr and Little.

    My silkies, 4 of them 5 months old are like teenagers filled with sex crazed hormones always chasing hens for mounting. 2, Matty and Andy are mostly docile and 2, Roo-Roo and, Fluffy Butt (he was supposed to be a girl! ) are more like leaders, watching over the hens and stay out longer at coop up until mostly everyone is in. Sometimes they're all the last ones staying out until Anaconda is ready.

    Rosco, serema 1 yr or so maybe a little younger. Sweetest little thing ever but very protective over his flock, 14 of my hens. They belonged to a friend whose circumstances changed and needed to rehome them several weeks ago. Weighing a pound tops he will fight for them which makes me really worry about his safety. But he's very gentleman like with the girls and is really the only one who doesn't harass the hens and loves affection and attention from us.

    With all these roosters I feel like my hens are being harassed to much. I was told humpy roosters make hens unhappy and stressed out and to add hens which I did, 34 of them, not enough probably but I really don't want this many roosters. I was thinking a couple is enough.

    I don't know if they're really bothered or not, I think they must be alittler happy because they weren't laying but after I finished building the big coop they started laying eggs a few days after on Dec 22nd, our egg count increases a little more each day, we're at a steady 11 a day minimum.

    It's been a very bad winter for us too though. Worst one we've seen in many years, extremely cold weather with rain, snow, below freezing temps for about a month now and several big wind storms of 50mph and higher winds and they're still increasing in laying.

    Currently, what I've tried is separating the roosters from the flock. But a few hens wouldn't go in the big coop and kept trying to get into the coops with the roosters at coop up. So I tried keep Rosco's flock separated but it restricts access for them to go out or anyone in. My other two coops are to small to accommodate 15 chickens though.

    Right now, I've separated the roosters, except Rosco and Matty in the coop/run. I know it might not have been the best decision and interferes with their pecking order but I don't want anyone seriously hurt, it wouldn't take much for Rosco to get badly hurt either.

    Actually, it seems to relieve the hens giving them a break, I need to video them and send it in for a hens gone wild! I love it :)

    They can forage and eat in piece.The two boys did great together today, there was one with each group of girls and didn't seem very mount crazy either. The only thing was coop up, Matty cooped up before all the hens were in but that's normally how it goes and Rosco only maintained his hens.

    Was this a bad decision?
    Can I rehome one at a time until I find their happy medium?
    Does it seem like Anaconda is the boss? Will my others learn from him how to be so I can eventually rehome him?
    Who do I keep?
    Someone told me they only keep a roosters for no more then 2 years. Is that a good thing to do?
    Does a rooster become more protective once they reach maturity?
    Does their humpiness go away with maturity?

    I'm so lost, like I'm not doing good. I just want to do right by my babes and make them all happy :(
     
  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Chicken Obsessed

    5,593
    6,664
    416
    May 4, 2016
    Somewhere in the Universe
    They calm down as they get older. How many hens do you have?
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. minihorse927

    minihorse927 Whipper snapper Premium Member

    10,620
    965
    376
    Nov 3, 2010
    You have done the best thing, separate put the extra boys. Bachelors do ok together generally as long ad they can not see/hear the hens. I would re home your extras. 34 hens needs 2 to 3 roosters. 1 rooster for 10 hens is a pretty good rule of thumb if your concerned about keeping eggs fertile. If you just want them got protectors, 2 is plenty.

    I've seen some pretty fierce bantams but of course, pound for pound, a large fowl rooster will cause more damage.

    As for the age old question of who to keep. Keep your favorites. The one who pecks your boy in the face, honestly, he'd be in the freezer already if he was here. Pick for personality first and then looks second. Roosters tend to mate more aggressively and frequently if there are more around. They will get better as they age. You can keep roosters as long as you want. If you're going to breed and hatch chicks you may want to change out roosters every few years.

    You're not failing with them. You sound like you are doing what is beat for them.

    Also, you're neighbors are dead wrong about coyote not bothering cattle. They will kill young, small, and weak cattle if they are hungry. See it all the time around here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017
  4. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,626
    613
    181
    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts
    Sometimes distilling the story down to just the essentials helps. As things are fleshed out and possible solutions suggested, further details can be added.

    How many hens do you have now? Please list them by breed and age.

    How many roosters? List them by breed and age.

    What birds belong to your neighbor?

    What are your coop sizes? Run sizes?

    Do these birds free range? Over how large an area?

    What are your personal goals for your flock? Eggs, meat, sustainable flock, hatching eggs, pets/entertainment?
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. krabed2007

    krabed2007 Out Of The Brooder

    34
    2
    29
    Oct 4, 2016
    Thank you for replying, I currently have 34 hens, 2 are currently inside though. They're silkie hens and one is trying to overcome wry neck
     
  6. krabed2007

    krabed2007 Out Of The Brooder

    34
    2
    29
    Oct 4, 2016

    Thank you for replying, I currently have 34 hens, 2 are currently inside though. They're silkie hens and one is trying to overcome wry neck
     
  7. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Chicken Obsessed

    5,593
    6,664
    416
    May 4, 2016
    Somewhere in the Universe
    You can have at least four good roos with that amount of hens. I would have five or more, unless they fought a lot. Depends on the roosters.

    I'd get rid of Chicken Little and maybe Jr. You could keep the others separate in a bachelor pad, get rid of them, or rotate roosters. Your choice.
     
  8. krabed2007

    krabed2007 Out Of The Brooder

    34
    2
    29
    Oct 4, 2016

    First I want to say thank you so much for your response. It's so appreciated and really put me at ease and allowing me to breathe. Thank you for answering my questions and providing advice and direction.

    I already know what roosters I would like to keep except it would be standards and bantams. But that still leaves me questioning will that work? Will my younger roosters learn from Anaconda?

    My intent for my flock is more for the enjoyment of them and eggs. Not so much to breed them, maybe at one point I could. I would really need to educate myself and prepare first. That would be my only reasoning to rehome Anaconda one day because he's a cross mix and keeping Jr, Rosco (is show quality) and a silkie or two who are pure breds.

    Mainly I want ones that will protect them, another reason why I'm questioning do they need training by watching and being around a mature rooster like Anaconda or is it something they're either born with or not?

    Also, do I continue the separation of the ones I would like to keep? Is there a time period for this process? How do I reintroduce them again? I'd love to minimize the blood shed as possible.

    Yes, we pretty much figured they were wrong about the coyotes, if they're desperate enough they'll get what they can and is available is what we were thinking. Exactly why I built my coop, I need to know my babes are safe.
     
  9. krabed2007

    krabed2007 Out Of The Brooder

    34
    2
    29
    Oct 4, 2016

    Thank you so much!

    Being that my intentions are more eggs and pets but leaving open the possibility of breeding one day i was thinking of keeping Jr, Rosco whose also show quality and the silkies at least a couple of them because they are all pure bred. They are all however young roos, mostly under a year. Should i keep Anaconda until they're all over a year? I read they reach maturity then.

    If I do rotate them out I don't think Rosco would necessarily be safe even in a bachelor pad with the other roosters. He's so tiny.
     
  10. krabed2007

    krabed2007 Out Of The Brooder

    34
    2
    29
    Oct 4, 2016

    Honestly, I did try my best to make it short. I went back and cut a lot out. I feel my situation is a bit convoluted, and I was trying to explain it as clearly as possible, what I'm concerned about, wanting in my flock, the roosters we have and their behaviors and help and direction because I'm new and lost!

    I did include a lot of the information you're asking though except the coop and run sizes but I'll answer them again.

    1. My hens, are a variety in age and breeds that include wyandottes, welsumners, amerucanas, cochins, marans, red stars, australorps, orpingtons, light sussexs, delawares, leghorns, barred rocks, silkies a free I'm not sure of their breeds.

    2 & 3. My roosters include serema, silkies, a RIR, barred rock cross with I don't know and an amerucana cross RIR. They range from 5 months to very mature being their spurs are very long. The last 3 are my neighbors

    4. One is 5x3x4 with a run 4x6x4, next almost 8x4x3 including the run with a nesting box on the side and the big one and coop up is 8x8x8 and no run. Yes they free range and have access to the huge barn, my yard which is huge as well as several very large cow fields. The property is over 50 acres but so far they only venture in my yard, barn, one cow fields and the edge of another one.

    5. My intentions are mainly pets and eggs with leaving open the possibility of breeding one day which is a huge maybe. But is a reason of wanting to keep the pure breds, serema, RIR and silkies. I'd like to keep both standards and bantams together, both hens and roosters. I'd love for the roosters I keep to get along and work together to keep my flock safe.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by