Rooster Fighting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChickyBoy417, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. ChickyBoy417

    ChickyBoy417 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 20 hens and 5 roosters...They all grew up together and seem to do fine now...They are 16 weeks old...I have 3 Mille Fleur D'uccle Bantams, A white Black Tailed Japanese Bantam and a RIR .... I know that the d'uccles are said to be very very docile, s fighting with another rooster wont be a worry because sometimes hens are above them in the pecking order....I know that RIR roosters are very agressive but mine seems like a sweetheart...And i dont know much about the japanese bantam...My aunt and mom are from Europe and they raised chickens all their life... They told me that the roosters and hens fought at this age to establish the pecking order, even if they were raised together, after they estabished it then they stopped for life....Please help me! I dont know what to do!!
     
  2. 1655ot

    1655ot Out Of The Brooder

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    Your aunt and mom are correct. If they were raised together as chicks they have already established the pecking order. As long as they are kept together they will be fine. If they are separated and later put back together they will have to reestablish the pecking order and some could be injured. Just make sure they have enough room.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Let them fight it out under supervision. If one gets down and can not get back up as other continues battery, then separate, otherwise let pecking order reform. If to keep multiple males long-term then look into separate housing or making to housing is much larger. With my dominiques, roosters with harems are all provided with their own little territories.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You will probably get some comments from people about how you have too many roosters and will definitely have problems with over-mated hens. Don’t let them worry you too much. I usually recommend you keep the least number of roosters to still meet your goals because the more roosters you have the more likely you are to have a problem, but there are people that don’t have those problems with hen to rooster ratios much worse than yours. There are people that have those problems with only one rooster and over 20 hens. It very much depends on the individual roosters and the hens’ personalities play a part too.

    What you will probably see with yours is that they will be very active sexually when they are adolescents. You may have problems until thy mature. It is something to watch for and be aware of, but if you can get through the adolescent phase, you will probably be OK.

    As far as fighting to establish the pecking order. They have been establishing the pecking order since they were first put together in the brooder. But they mature at different rates and the pecking order changes as they mature. Usually if they are all the same age, that kind of stuff does not affect the pullets that much, but it can. You are dealing with living animals so anything can happen. But at that age and for the next few weeks, what I see in my flock is the young roosters fighting some among themselves or with mature hens for pecking order status. This pecking order fighting is usually more pecking and running away but sometimes it does involve serious fighting. It is really rare that I see any chicken harmed in this, but it can happen. I think it helps that I give them enough space so they can run away.

    Something else you will probably see is the young roosters fighting among themselves for flock dominance. You’ll probably see some of these as they mature if you are around much to watch. Most of the time with mine the young roosters flair their neck feathers, maybe jump at each other a time or two, then one runs away. That’s usually the end of it for a while. As they continue to mature they may revisit who is in charge, but these are usually not too serious. A lot of the time, unless you watch them a lot you don’t even see most of this.

    Occasionally you get a rooster that does not accept victory. He’ll keep after the defeated rooster to try to kill him. Some breeds have those tendencies but it really depends on the individual rooster. I’ve never had that problem but there are people on this forum I trust to know what they are looking at say they have.

    The size of the rooster is not hugely important. It’s not that unusual for bantams to dominate full sized chickens. Dominance is more about the spirit of the chicken than about size. Don’t go into shock if you see one of your D’Uccles square off with a larger chicken and maybe even win. The hormones that cause them to fight for flock dominance can be pretty strong. Also don’t put blind faith into the personality the roosters are supposed to have. Each is an individual. They don’t all read from the same book.

    In summary, what should you do? Not much. Have a plan if one gets hurt and then observe. Have patience as long as none start bleeding or show real signs of being hurt. Chickens have been sorting this kind of stuff out for thousands of years. They usually sort out the pecking order and flock dominance better without human interference. But you are dealing with living animals so anything can happen. There are no guarantees. Good luck!
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Most of the problems with fighting are over rated in part because it is being witnessed for first time. An issue that makes so fighting impacts are worse is the housing arrangements. Many of us keep birds in what amount to boxes where lower ranking individuals can not break line of sight. Most of the damage I am concerned with is not coming from actual combat, rather the onesided attacks launched by dominant bird against subordinates that cannot get away like they would in a more spaceous and complex environment.

    With mixed gender flocks housing multiple adult males, the rule of thumb concerning square footage per bird is too low, unless flock size is large. Larger flock size makes so environment is effectively more complex owing to more social interactions.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Centrarchid, the way I look at it is that if you provide 4 square feet per chicken and assume each chicken occupies 1 square foot of space (just to make the math easy) and you have 4 chickens, you have 4 x 4 = 16 square feet. 4 of those are occupied so 12 square feet are available to explore. If you have 40 chickens with the same per chicken space, you have 40 x 4 = 160 square feet available with 40 occupied and 120 available for exploration. Even with flocks of the same age and gender, I think you need more space per chicken with the smaller flocks than larger flocks. I realize this is a bit different than what you are saying, but I think it is relevant.

    I agree with what you are saying about multiple adult males in a flock needing more space than a flock with all the same sex or even just one adult male. I'll also argue that if you are integrating chickens you need more individual space with small flocks than large flocks. With social interaction, they need room to get away from the aggressors or more dominant ones. I think most of the flock dominance and integration issues we read about on this forum are caused by lack of space.

    It's things like this that cause me to say that there is no magic number for how much space chickens need. How much they need depends on each individual flock make-up as well as our management practices.
     
  7. Melabella

    Melabella Overrun With Chickens

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    "What you will probably see with yours is that they will be very active sexually when they are adolescents."

    When is a rooster not considered an adolescent any more?

    Thanks,
    MB
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    With my birds adolescents ends about time first set of adult feathers start to come in. Adulthood realized when the first set of full adult feathers are fully in place.
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I've had a rooster that acted pretty mature and was accepted by the adult hens at 4 months. That is really rare. I've had roosters over 10 months old that were still pretty immature. I see so much variation with my roosters I'm uncomfortable giving hard and fast numbers.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I see a change in behavior marking transition to adulthood that can when no other adult roosters are present occur before adult feathers are fully in. Biggest, readily apparent difference is with tid-bitting where adult-minded birds tidbit for hens and actually let them have food.
     

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