Question about roosters.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Glenmar, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. Glenmar

    Glenmar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am getting together a grow out coop for some chicks. At what age do I need to worry about seperating out roosters before they will fight. I am planning on keeping most until early fall to see how they develop. Will I need to divide the coop down the middle, pullets on one side and roosters on the other??
     
  2. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm tempted for some reason to be a smart-aleck and answer your question by saying "at the age when they start fighting" [​IMG]. Seriously, though, it can depend on the individual cockerels and how they develop, and some are just more aggressive than others, while some hardly ever spar. Maybe 3 to 3 1/2 months or so, and they usually start out with some harmless jousting, which only much later on becomes dangerous, although it can be disturbing and a nuisance. Just dividing the coop won't keep them from fighting, because they will still fight if the hens/pullets are in the vicinity. Much better is a separate coop or a chicken tractor that is isolated from the rest of the flock. I relocate my young cockerels into the "bachelor pad," a tractor in my garden or orchard, when/if the sparring gets to be too much. I also have a general policy of eating the particularly aggressive cockerels before any of the others... I have a pretty low tolerance in general for aggressive roosters in my flock--anyone who attacks people or is overly bullying to the other birds gets the chop. [​IMG] I select heavily against aggression in the roosters, you might say... and now I have two charming young roosters as the result, who will hopefully pass those good manners on to their descendants...

    Anyway, hope this helps.
    Good luck!
     
  3. Glenmar

    Glenmar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I don't have any experience with roosters. I just wanted to keep some of the chicks that I incubated for a few months. Some of
    the boys will likely be dinner. [​IMG]
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I can't tell you what will happen with yours. Each chicken has its own individual personality and each flock has its own dynamics. Your results will probably be different than mine in some ways.

    I don't separate mine out. I raise them all together, then eat the excess as I feel the need. Instead of putting a bunch in the freezer, I only process a few at a time and let the others stay fresh on the claw. The roosters I hatch out usually are gone by the time they are 6 to 7 months old, then I start on the next batch. Mine normally free range so they have room.

    I don't see a lot of serious fighting. They do establish a pecking order and a dominance heirarchy, but I find that roosters raised together in the flock usually work this out when they are pretty young and without a lot of serious violence. It does occasionally flare up again as they mature, but this usually involves a quick squaring off and going at each other, followed by more running away and chasing. Sometimes the fighting does get heavy for a little bit, but it usualluy does not last long. The mature flock master will usually break up these skirmishes if he is around. Mine don't stay around long enough to seriously challenge the mature flock master for flock dominance, but would if I left them around much longer. Sometimes I take out the old flock master and replace him with one of the young ones when the challenges to him starts to get serious. The young ones that are left usually sort out who is the boss pretty quickly.

    I think a big key to this is that mine have a lot of room so the one that decides he has fought long enough and it is time to leave can really leave the area. If they can't really get away so the winner clearly knows he has won, I think the fighting would be a lot more serious. I think breed is also iimportant. Game roosters are more likely to take this seriously compared to a lot of big dual purpose roosters. But each does have his own personality.

    I tend to remove the less dominant ones first. I think this has less disruption to the pecking order/dominance structure. We all do it differently, we all have different set-ups and goals, we all have different tolerance levels for their behavior, and we all get different results.

    Good luck!
     
  5. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hatched 30 chicks & 14 turned out being cockerels. I only wanted pullets for my egg sales. Here's what I noticed & I think RR summed it up the cocks did fine because they were all raised together but they were also establishing a pecking order so I found alot of feathers. Since, I got rid of all the cocks I'm finding less feathers & the pullets seem alot calmer. The girls have also become really friendly & accept me more. I do give them boss but in my mind they now think I'm the roo. I'll probably find another roo for the flock but not right now.
     
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I don't separate my Roos. And I have quite a few of 'em. The flock does range freely, so the roosters and cockerels have plenty of space to get away with not too much loss of grace (or feathers) if any of 'em do square off.

    I have nine filly mature roosters and goodness knows how many cockerels growing up, but still part of the flock. My dominant roo, Carl, keeps everybody in line. After chicks have lived in their grow out pens for two weeks (or until they are large enough after two weeks to mix with the main flock) I will open their pen and let them join the rest. Usually the hens barge into their pen and go check out the coop, as they like to use it as a good laying space.[​IMG]

    So the juveniles skedaddle and learn where they fit in the flock dynamics.

    Some roosters have favorite companions and will meander together with "their" ladies - always aware Carl can have his way with them if he so chooses). Some of my roosters - fully grown roosters- have rooster buddies with which they roost at night, like BFFs, next to each other on a roost.

    As so completely explained by RidgeRunner, everybody's experience with roosters is individual.

    But the common idea that roosters will always fight and you cannot have more than one or two of them or they'll kill each other, is simply not true. Or so I've found, anyway.
     
  7. Glenmar

    Glenmar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone. I am constructing a grow out coop out of a 12 x 12 horse stall. I have 24 eggs in the Brinsea now and 7 other chicks ranging from 2 weeks to just hatched.
    I was planning on putting them together in the grow out coop once the 24 new ones outgrow the brooder. I wanted to keep them until at least September. I was also planning on selecting a rooster or two for my flock of laying hens.
     
  8. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have managed to raise some without separating to in the past, but like others said it's a total judgment call depending on the roosters' personalities, the nature of the breed, the amount of space, the number of roosters and hens, etc. So I would always recommend to someone new to this that raising them together with the rest of the flock can work, but because of these unknowns it's a good idea to have a back up plan--especially if you have limited space--at least until you get a better feel for things. Either have a separate accomodation ready in case things get a little crazy, or be prepared to possibly cull some early to keep the peace. Sometimes I move to separate them not because I absolutely have to, but because I have the facility (a tractor) and it can make life a little easier for the flock as a whole--and me. All the hyperactivity of those little guys running around crowing and trying to mate can be a bit of hassle for my layers.

    But all that said, just use your judgment, know your options, and see how it goes. I'm sure you'll be fine... [​IMG]
     
  9. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    I've got five all getting along pretty good right now. They're all mature, 6-18 months old. One barred Rock, one bantam Cochin, one Cornish Cross, one Old English Game, one American Game. In my experience, roosters that are not game breeds are fairly mellow (most of them) and don't fight too much. They'll squabble a little, but so do hens, and they don't usually hurt each other. But that's just my experience, I know sometimes it doesn't work out that way!
     

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