I can't advise you Kris. I'm dealing with a similar problem and I don't know how it's going to pan out.@Shadrach, maybe you can advise me a bit here. I’m such a sucker for the roosters. So, I know this isn’t exactly ideal, but I’ve got the Chickens I moved into the barn with the bad winter weather out and in the meat tractors again, pending more coop builds. I plan on free ranging Sammy and his lot again at the very least. At least they have headroom again, light, fresh air, and grass... not the best for the wet weather, but better than the barn brooder.
My issues arise from the two cockerels that didn’t make it in with the last batch for processing. I’ve got Sammy, the three rehab production red girls, 6 pullets and the two boys. They do ok in the tractor mostly, but when they get out one boy does the teenage idiot cockerel stuff to his sisters then Sammy will knock him off, and a chase ensues. No actual fighting behavior towards or from Sammy, though occasionally he will flare at his brother. What worries me is Sammy’s weak lungs, or why-ever he wheezes. And when they are doing the chase about, nobody is watching for “bad big birds” above. I don’t want poor Sammy straining himself to death I’ve this one little jerk.
Do you think I’m going to be needing to build out three more coops now instead of just the one? Sammy is far more tolerant of the boy who looks more like him (his nephew), at least right now.
Before it's been relatively simple. Dads and sons have managed to come to some arrangement, or none at all, and the dad won't even let the younger rooster in the coop. As you mention, it seems looks have some role in it. Treacle doesn't look much like his dad at all while Tyle does. Tyle is still too young to know if this is what the problem is. I suspect not, or at least it hasn't been with other families. I'm at the close my eyes and walk away with my fingers crossed at the moment.
What I think is if they were for processing then that is what you should do.
Brutal though it may seem I know when a hen sits that probability is only one of her male offspring is going to remain in the tribe. While it is possible to keep more roosters they need housing and I don't have that option. There are 7 hens in Tribe 1 that's 3 for each rooster and none for the cockerel or whoever ends up most junior.
I've found 1:3 works best.
1:1 works well if housed separately, or allowed to roost in the trees. A problem arises if that hen dies and when she sits. When she sits the rooster will actively seek another hen.
If the rooster dies the hen just joins another tribe or a junior rooster from another tribe sets up with her.
1:2 is good but it doesn't leave much margin for error and predation.
1:3 works very well and allows for a hen to be sitting and one predation.
1:4 can work but the most junior hen is likely to look for another single rooster and become his senior hen.
All the ratios upwards from here are keepable but noone is exactly happy about it. Junior roosters end up as what are called satellite roosters and hang around the edges of the group hoping to mate when they can get away with it. The junior hens don't get the same level of protection and attention from the senior rooster, plus the more senior hens will make their mating difficult.