Rooster Bachelor Pad


8 Years
Jan 11, 2014
West Coaster
I hear others talk about having a bunch of cockerels in a bachelor pad. How does that work if they are all grown up together, then you take one out to breed for a month with your flock, then try putting him back in with 4 or 5 in the bachelor pad pen? Doesn't that make him get beat up when you put him back? Mine will all be growing up together and I was hoping to take certain cockerels/cocks out to breed and then put them back.
I have kept roosters/cockerels in a bachelor pad a couple of times, but only as a grow-out situation. I think you may be right that if you take one out for a month and put it back in, it will potentially have to regain its position in the flock. Chickens have pretty short memories - they can't even remember a flock mate after a week's absence, let alone a month.
Generally I think, when people keep multiple roosters, they do so to have breeding trios or pairs for each breed. In that case (I assume) one would put out all the roosters with their chosen ladies, and then later gather all the roosters back up. So it would be more like putting a bunch of strange birds back together, which will cause pecking as they determine the order again, but the pecking will be distributed to all the roosters in the flock.

Others, like me, keep a bachelor pad more short term to grow out roosters for harvest. Most of us keep an eagle eye on those boys as a possible replacement rooster. So perhaps we don't harvest all of them at the same time. Sometimes, people even try a rooster with the flock to see if they like what they see. However if that does not work, the bird is culled, so my point is, that while one might take roosters out of the bachelor pen, you don't tend to put them back.

In your scenario, I think that if you are just going to breed one rooster, I would just leave him with the flock all the time, year round. I leave my rooster with the flock, he takes care of them, that is his job.

Mrs K
Have you ever seen a bunch of young brothers stop recognizing each other because they got wet, and all start fighting each other at once. Can't count the number of times I have come out to find 3 or 4 brothers in a pile in the rain. Rather comical, actually.
I keep a bachelor pen of adult American Dominiques. I do not generally move them out and then back again for any length of time. I will release them all to forage and they will fight a little when so treated. If I were to introduce a new male, then I would want to introduce many. When I have introduced younger males which is fairly easy, then I rearrange things in the pen. They think they are in a new location and often begin fighting. That is when the new guys are added as that makes so the new guys are not as targeted by the established males.

I have combined cocks before and it is a pain the butt. I had to keep going in to break up fights by hold combatants down or let dog in on them so he would do the same. Cocks became leary of the interventions, especially by the dog making so they invested less in the fighting. After they got a little sore the scrapping ceased. Doing such I recommend be done at start of weekend so you can make certain no one is getting seriously hurt. Feathers will be dinged up. If spurs well developed, then trim to preserve eyes of combatants.
I came here today for specifically this kind of information - would love to hear any more experiences anyone would like to share.

My 20 chicks are about 8 weeks old now, and I believe 6 of them are cockerels. A couple of them have been looking at the pullets in a particular way, and I've heard some annoyed squawking noises when I wasn't with them, so I think it's time to split them up until the lads can learn to behave themselves nicely.

They're intended for breeding and I expect to keep them until at least a year and a half of age, if not two years, to give them time to mature so I can see what I'm working with. I'm hoping that when the time comes I can put them individually with a group of hens for a few weeks and then back into the bachelor pen. The parent stock seem to be well-tempered but I want to avoid unnecessary risks also. If I understand the comments above correctly, it would be a good idea to move the unpaired roosters out of their pen also, so that when I put them back they're all on an equal footing rather than adding new ones to an existing space.

In terms of the layout, am I right in thinking that they shouldn't be able to see/hear the pullets while they're separated? Obviously that will be more tricky from a logistics point of view but it sounds like they're more likely to fight among themselves if they can see the ladies?
[QUOTE="In terms of the layout, am I right in thinking that they shouldn't be able to see/hear the pullets while they're separated? Obviously that will be more tricky from a logistics point of view but it sounds like they're more likely to fight among themselves if they can see the ladies?[/QUOTE]

I just put my guys together last night. There are two that are seven months old and one that is six months old. The older ones had been in a pen together that had a larger flock master rooster and older hens who kept them in line, however I had caught them ganging up on some of the smaller and younger hens in that flock, one would hold a girl down while the other hopped on. The younger cockerel was in with another guy and my other six month old pullets who have just started laying. He has gotten increasingly aggressive and always is on two of my hens to the point that they were bald. I had been out of town for about 10 days and apparently while I was gone is when he turned on them.

So I put them together last night, post roosting, after they had all three been isolated in cages outside all day while I built their enclosure. Chaos ensued briefly until I turned out the lights. Then they all seemed to settle in. When I checked on them this morning, a few hours after sunup, all seemed fine. They are next to a group of pullets that has a rooster with just chicken wire between them. I have plywood at the ready if needed to construct a more solid wall, but I have no way to completely keep them out of earshot of the girls. I will keep you updated on the progress of the integration.

My two flocks are much happier without those three trouble makers. It was so quiet yesterday without my hens screaming!
None of my roos have hens anymore my hens are in a different pen i just take the hen to the roo block off any other roos until i see him mate then remove the hen i have 1 roo by himself and two are together
Amanita - you will really not need 6 roosters for 20 birds. If you want to keep them that long, it is entirely up to you. A lot does depend on your location, your set up and your own personal goals. I commend you separating off your rooster chicks, they will terrorize the pullets if you don't.

It would be best to keep your pullets without any roosters until they begin to lay. At that time, I would want an older, proven rooster to be a flock master, and keep him with the girls all the time. I am not sure, but I would not recommend adding and pulling roosters multiple times a year. Chickens hate change. Anytime you add or remove a bird, there is a major power struggle and shift. It can be done, but will add a lot of tension to the flock for what purpose? This is the way I do it, and there are lots of ways to do it, just a suggestion.

If you have multiple breeds in your set up, and what to keep them pure, then you will need more roosters. However, a good active rooster should be able to cover all 14 pullets that you have. Personally, I do not like roosters that are raised with flock mates, I much prefer a rooster that is raised up in a multi- generational flock. Another idea, that you might consider is to keep those boys in a smaller area, and feed them well and harvest all of them in a couple of weeks. Roosters are cheap and easy to come by, a rooster raised in the flock, that is so nice, that they have not got quite to culling him. That is the rooster that you want. Then you would not have to wait so long to start hatching chicks.

Mrs K

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