Rooster fights

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Niss, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. Niss

    Niss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 4 roos who, until today, got along. My top roo, an OEGB, and my young bantam brahma are both sad looking tonight. With the young looser scaring me a little--his eyes seem swollen shut (I seperated him--let me know what treatment could be in order, I'm thinking I'll fry him an egg and give his a vitimine pack in the am).

    The real question, the reason I'm posting here, is will this happen again? I know I have more roos than I should, but they were getting along fine--they will run each other off the feed pile or a hen, but there was never any harm done, and since they free range there's always room to run away or aviod each other. I worry now I am deluding myself to think I can keep them all (I have less than 30 hens), and the two young uns where just to immature to challange the order in the past (the top two came to me as adluts from the same place, so presumably figured eachother out before I met them and this is going to be the first spring for the other 2).
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    As long as they are with the hens, or in sight of the hens it will continue.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I can keep multilple non-game roosters with a flock of hens under free-range conditions. Key is that group needs to be able to separate with roosters being able to go with their own groups of hens. To keep groups more separate, each is provided with it its own feeding station and preferably some some sort of structures between the groups home ranges.

    If birds are confined, then more roosters tends to actually be better. Breed selection should also be revisted.
     
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I have more than eleven rooster in my flock of 50 birds or so; they range freely over just under two-thirds of an acre. And they all get along. There's a dominant rooster and a few "second lieutenants" plus the younger "staff sergeants." :D

    There is occasional stare-offs and raising of hackles at each other, and the lowest ranking boys scuffle now and then, but nothing more than show. Once a cockerel challenged the dominant rooster and there was quite a screaming, kicking match until the cockerel - who had ambushed the dominant roo in a corner - just suddenly backed down and went away to another part of the yard. He kept away from the Flock Master for quite some time. Although they kicked at each other, there was only feather loss, no injury.

    Nobody challenges Carl now. I watched one young fella sidle up to him when he was resting under a tree, once. Carl was actually napping, not standing. He merely half-raised his hackles, still sitting, no other movement, and the silly little boy thought better of being right there, right then, and found somewhere else to be. Go, Carl - you da Man!
     
  5. Smiles-N-Sunshine

    Smiles-N-Sunshine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My roo is named Karl, too! [​IMG]
     
  6. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    Ya know what I do with roosters that don't get along?

    Stuff 'em with celery and garlic slow roast 'em till they're uber tender.
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. Niss

    Niss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This one episode aside they haven't even made feathers fly, some hens had more small cuts on their combs than the boys ever did...just a little jumping and flapping, or maybe putting heads down and shaking their hackles until one backs off. The fight wasn't even as bad as I thought when I first saw the aftermath. Odds they were sorting out who's on top and can get along again for a period? Seems like many of you have boys that tolerate each other.

    edit to ask: are infertile roos common? I've had chicks from my top 2 boys, but if I end up eating them can I trust the cockerels to do the job?

    This is Feisty, who was my top roo, but I've seen his run from old #2 in the last few days. I got him because I think he is very handsome, he was cheap, and (most important to me) he had made it to adulthood without any signs of aggression toward a human.
    [​IMG]

    The old number 2, who may be tops now...
    [​IMG] He may be on the way to the pot though...my son has said twice "Racy looked like he was going to attack me." I like his size, and he is very sweet and attentive toward the hens.

    This is the 3rd in the order, cockerel Columbia, big loser in the fight. This is an older pic, but he looks much the same. He is the noisiest boy by far...DH said the other roo just got sick of his incessant crowing and took him down a peg. In the light of day he looks better and was acting fine yesterday so I let him out after work. Any chance he learned his lesson? I would like to keep him as he's my son's favorite roo, and he use to be very friendly and affectionate before he grew up and had to act tough.
    [​IMG]

    This is low man on the totem pole Hemster. This is in his awkward phase--he is absolutely gorgeous now! He keeps to the edge of everything...I always feed him separately because I want him to get nice and big (I put food in 3-5 locations when I'm feeding them for low hens' sake as much as the boys' sensibilities).
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    They are living animals. You really can't tell how they will react, especially as they mature. Occasionally you may get a fight to the death, or have one actually get hurt, but most of the fights I've seen involve an initial scuffle then a lot of running away and chasing. I've never seen a fight to the death, but I know they can happen. Usually intimidation works.

    As yours mature, you will see some adjustment. Sounds like you already have. When a rooster moves into the top spot, his personality can change. Not that it absolutely will in any bad way, but it can. There are a lot of responsibilities in flock protection and flock management that go with being top rooster. It's not all priviledge. Some handle it better than others. I had a mild-mannered rooster become a lot more aggressive after I removed the top rooster and gave the younger mild-mannered one the flock responsibilities. He could not handle those responsibilities the way I wanted him to and lost his head, literally. I don't allow roosters to attack human visitors more than once. He was fine until he became top rooster.

    Four roosters with about 30 hens should not be a problem at all. Probably the heaviest I've been in mature roosters was three roosters with 15 hens. I call them mature but they were not that old. They were probably around 24 weeks old and still in that adolescent hormone-influenced stage that can cause problems when I removed the top mature rooster and gave them the flock. They pretty much split the flock into two separate flocks when free-ranging, though they did mingle without problems. The dominant rooster and the lowest ranking rooster kept about half the hens while the second-in-charge roamed with the other half. They slept together in the same coop at night with no problems. None of the hens were abused. I think having room does make a difference.

    Bottom line is that I cannot tell you what will happen. You may have to make adjustments or you may not. Good luck!!!
     
    1 person likes this.

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