Roos working together?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Arztwolf, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. Arztwolf

    Arztwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    474
    17
    116
    Aug 5, 2014
    SW Texas
    I have two roos that appear to work together. They are always together and appear to "split" the 13 hens evenly between them. These did not hatch together nor where they raised together. One was born a full two months before I got the other delivered to me (he was supposed to be a she). I have never seen them fight or even puff up. Anyone else experienced this?

    Picasso
    [​IMG]

    Peregrine
    [​IMG]

    In this picture they are three feet apart.
     
  2. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,401
    171
    143
    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    I got 3 young roosters that work together to run my layer flock. They were hatched & raised together, never fight or fuzz up at each other but they are clearly 1, 2 & 3 in status. They came from random eggs somebody gave me so I don't know if they're related or not. They remind me of The 3 Stooges with their goofyness.
     
  3. Sydney Acres

    Sydney Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,363
    376
    201
    Jun 24, 2012
    Western WA
    While it is true that most roosters compete, and some out and out fight to the death, many others get along and become best friends.

    I inherited 7 Croad Langshan LF chickens from my father-in-law about 7 years ago. They were 1-2 years old at the time, 5 hens and 2 roosters. They had lived in a 20X20 ft cage shared with 50 pigeons and 30 bantams, plus at least 15 other LF chickens. It was a hellhole! These 7 were the only ones left after raccoons spent months reaching through the wire and pulling the heads off their cagemates. They were never tamed down, and it took over an hour for my husband and niece to capture these 7 to put into carriers for transport. It took 3 days for my husband to drive them up from Los Angeles to (north of) Seattle. They were traumatized and exhausted when they arrived. They had never touched grass, had never seen snow, had never enjoyed the comforts of clean shavings in their house or clean straw in their run, and had never known the safety of a truly predator-proof enclosure. They arrived an hour before sunset on a day that the yard was covered with snow. I took their carriers into their run and let them out. They were terrified of everything -- the straw under their feet, the snow outside, the shavings, their house, and me. I finally got them to go through the pop door of their house, and the hens jumped up onto the top perch. But the thing that impressed me was the behavior of the roosters. Instead of perching, the two roosters partnered up to guard the door. (In this setup, the covered run is 6X12 feet, and a 3X4 foot house is inside the predator proof run. The pop door of the house is 8X11 inches and is left open at all times.) Each rooster laid down on the shavings, angled in such a way that he could see anything approaching the house along the distant wall, each bird responsible for the opposite direction to provide full coverage between the two of them. Four or five days later the snow had melted and I decided to let them free range in a 1/2 acre fenced yard. It took a while to convince them to come out of the run, but finally the dominant rooster ventured out. He walked around for about 30 minutes while talking to the others still in the pen. Eventually he gave them what I can only describe as the "all clear" signal and the hens came out single file, with the other rooster bringing up the rear. They had a busy day foraging all over the yard, but the dominant rooster remained in the front of the group, and the subordinate rooster remained in the back at all times. When it was time to go back into the run, the dominant rooster stayed with the hens, and the subordinate rooster went into the run, then into the house to check for any problems. He then signaled the "all clear," and the hens came in followed by the rooster. The subordinate rooster guarded the door while the hens and dominant rooster ate, and the dominant rooster watched the door while the hens perched and the subordinate rooster ate. Then they returned to their positions inside the house in front of the pop door.

    This went on for 3-4 months, until the dominate rooster felt the situation was secure enough that he could join the hens up on the roost. The subordinate rooster began roosting after another 6 months or so. But when outside the run, the dominant rooster always was in the lead, and the subordinate rooster was always bringing up the rear, with the hens protected in the middle. It was impressive military precision coordinated between the two boys, always working together. Sometimes they fought, but it was minor and just to re-establish the chain of command. After a year, I would occasionally see the flock split into two small groups, a rooster together with a few hens, the two groups separated but always within sight of each other.

    A few years ago a rat got into the pen. The two roosters returned to their coordinated guard duty for at least a month after the rat was killed by the cat.

    Last year I opened the gate between their yard and my Dorking's yard so the flocks could join. The Dorking rooster was only one year old at the time. The dominant Langshan rooster and the young Dorking rooster has a "long talk." No actual bloodshed, but massive intimidation, with the Langshan staring down the youngster, circling him, making the oddest sounds and finally walking up to him and calmly plucking a neck feather. The young Dorking rooster ran away, and is now very respectful of the Langshans, both the roosters and hens. (He only flirted with a Langshan hen once, then learned his lesson!) Now all three of them share a one acre yard cooperatively. When a hawk or eagle flies over, the dominant Langshan rooster escorts all the Langshan hens under cover, the Dorking rooster escorts all the Dorking hens undercover, and the submissive Langshan rooster stands in the middle of the yard acting as bait until all the hens are safe, then runs for cover himself. He has lost a few fistfuls of feathers to eagles, but he's still agile enough to avoid serious injury.

    My favorite pictures of the two Langshan roosters were taken by a game camera. Something was getting into the chicken food at night , so I set up a game camera to find out if it was anything to worry about. The submissive rooster is the bigger, more aggressive, but dumber one, and the dominant rooster is the smaller, less aggressive except when really necessary, but really smart one. The submissive rooster came out of the house first, looked around the pen, then saw the camera. His posture changed to an aggressive nature, and he immediately went over to hammer it with his beak. When nothing happened after several pecks, he stood back, stared at it a moment, then flogged it. The intruder still didn't leave his territory! He flogged it again, then went back into the house. A moment later he came out with the dominant rooster in tow. The dominant rooster looked at it, cocked his head, walked around to a different angle, cocked his head again, stepped back, cocked his head again, then stood there beak to beak with the submissive rooster, appearing to have a conversation. A few moments later the submissive rooster gave it one last hard peck, the dominant rooster stepped between him and the camera, and they both walked away together. It was like the big aggressive dumb guy going to get the smart calm guy for a consult, and the smart guy telling the dumb guy not to worry about it. Too funny!!

    Despite the common wisdom, many roosters can become close friends. With the right leader, they can work cooperatively towards a common social goal. I think that sometimes we forget that these are animals that still have complex social systems and good survival instincts, if we just give them the room and environment to behave normally. Too often birds are kept in overcrowded pens with nothing to do, so of course they fight. They're frustrated. When we let them free range in an interesting environment they get the opportunity to act normally, which is much more enjoyable to watch.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  4. Arztwolf

    Arztwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    474
    17
    116
    Aug 5, 2014
    SW Texas
    That's amazing about the two you inherited.
    Mine roam over 3 acres during the day and only go in the coop at night, so that probably keeps the tension down.
    I know so many people who keep a large amount of birds in smallish coops and they can't figure out why they constantly fight. Its like keeping a horse in a stall all day, it most likely won't be happy.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,706
    2,332
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Harem Master and Satellite. When in close proximity you should be able to ID who is who. Dominant is the Harem Master. Both benefit from the arrangement..
     
  6. myfarm4579

    myfarm4579 Chillin' With My Peeps

    257
    10
    83
    Jun 28, 2014
    I have 4roos total among 5hens. Two wyandotte supposed to be hens:( 1 polish-silkie,and a bantam roo. All have been together since last June when added the wyandotte. Thought winter may have lead to some fighting but all is well so far:) I just have to keep a eye on the hens too make sure they are not harmed also. I have 4 more chicks coming Tuesday. Hope they are all pullets:)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by