Rooster adjustment time?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by GingersHuman, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. GingersHuman

    GingersHuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This past spring I hatched out a couple chicks, both ended up being cockerels. One an OEGB and one a WLH/Wyandotte. The WLH was very loving toward the bantam, putting his wing over him at night on the roost. Then the bantam was killed by a hawk. I bought bird netting and covered the run. Then I got another OEGB cockerel. He has been in a small pen inside the large run, so everyone can get acquainted. When I let him out the big cockerel chases the bantam mercilessly. When I pen up the big cockerel, all the hens get along with the bantam.

    This morning the big cockerel started chasing an OEGB pullet. So I penned him back up and let the bantam cockerel out. How long should I give them before finding a new home for the big cockerel? He's definitely not people aggressive, and is generally okay with the hens (mating clumsily, but not mean). I have 2 young LF cockerels that I can replace the older one with btw.
     
  2. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At most another week but since you already have replacements and he's not people aggressive it doesn't seem there's a need for him anymore.
     
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    How many hens do you have (or are they pullets - females under one year)? Why are you keeping cockerels? Are you wanting to breed and raise your own chicks? That's really the only reason one would need a rooster. For "flock protection", a rooster is often running away from the threat while sounding the alarm. A dominant hen would do the same thing. Roosters that confront a predator don't last long, so unless you have an unlimited supply of them, that's not very effective, either. They're usually a speed bump for the predator to get past while on its way to the rest of the flock.

    If you're keeping a rooster for breeding, what are you breeding for? If it's eggs or meat, you're going to want the larger one. OEGB don't have much meat on them, nor do they lay very big eggs. Personally, I'd keep the one you have now and get rid of the two younger ones (and maybe the OEGB unless you have a specific need for him) since he's a known factor. You know he's not human aggressive (so far) and he is OK with the hens. The reason he's chasing the OEGB you brought in is because he sees him as a rival. You're seeing normal cockerel/rooster behavior. Cockerels/roosters that aren't raised together generally don't get along, and even those who have been don't always stay "friends" as they grow up. Hormones kick in, and they are only thinking of breeding and protecting that right to do so.

    I see you have OEGB pullets, too. Are you wanting to breed OEGBs specifically? If so, you are going to have to have two different flocks - LF, and OEGB.
     
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  4. GingersHuman

    GingersHuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 3 LF pullets and 6 LF hens. 1 bantam hen and 1 bantam pullet.

    I started this spring letting my bantam hen hatch a couple chicks. She's broody all the time it seems, and its easier to let her raise chicks 2x per year. I want to have a couple new pullets a year to replace the older ones I have now, as I really only have 2 hens that are still young enough to lay regularly (my oldest is 6 1/2 years). I keep hens for eggs, we are vegetarians.

    The bantams are pets, they have the sweetest personalities. I understand my big cockerel chasing the bantam cockerel, but him chasing the bantam pullet was uncalled for. I plan on rehoming the big cockerel if he just won't get along.
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Really, he's just showing normal behavior. Your two younger ones will likely do the same as they get older. Do you have a plan for the cockerels you are going to hatch out in the future? Since you are vegetarians, eating them won't be an option for you (that's what we do with ours - I actually hope for extra cockerels). Maybe give them away to someone who can use the meat? Keep them as pets from year to year? The reality is, if you keep them all as pets you're going to have to have a bachelor pen sooner or later. Too many roosters will be hard on your hens, causing stress from being constantly chased and mated by multiple males. If you are planning on rehoming them, you'll most likely be giving them away or selling them for very little. At least that would be my reality - cockerels are hard to find homes for. One option you might want to consider is - when your bantam goes broody, let her set on some fake eggs for about 3 weeks, then get some day-old pullets from the feed store and put under her at night, removing the fake eggs, and let her raise those.

    I used to have OEGB. They are great little birds. I had one that used to ride around on my shoulder - I named her Polly (As in, "Polly want a cracker") Your cockerel went after her because he's a boy, she's a girl, and he's doing what his hormones are telling him to do. He doesn't know that you don't want him breeding her.
     
  6. GingersHuman

    GingersHuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any roosters/cockerels I can't find a home for (only plan on keeping 1 LF, 1 bantam) go to my cousin's freezer camp.

    I know testosterone is higher in the AM so I'm sure that's why he was chasing the bantam pullet.

    On a better note, things are improving a little. I let the big cockerel out of "prison" while I had some time to supervise. Out of about 5 encounters when he and the bantam cockerel were in closer proximity, he only chased once, and it wasn't as aggressively. I chased the big cockerel myself until he went into the house and I closed him in there for about a minute. He gets very upset when he's alone. I let him back out and watched again for a while.

    I do keep them separated when I'm not around, just in case. At least til I can be there for a half hour or so with no chasing incidents.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Managing multiple males is tricky.....and a PITA.
    You've got a cluster tangle of competition going on, best to get rid of the extras sooner rather than later.
    Then the 2 males you plan to keep can get things worked out and everyone involved will be 'happier'.
     
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  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Good post!

    Good post!
     
  9. GingersHuman

    GingersHuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A solution presented itself today, a friend of my dads is looking for a rooster, so my older cockerel will go there. I'll let the 9 1/2 week old cockerels grow more before I decide which of those to keep.
     

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