Roosters Fighting - Should I Do Something Now or Wait?

SeaSea47

Songster
Mar 12, 2017
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I have two 21-week-old roosters in with 20 hens (I had four roosters until about two weeks ago but managed to rehome the two most dominant ones, and things have been very calm ever since). I'm left with my little Hamburg guy who is smaller than everyone else and my big Cochin boy who is huge, maybe 6 times the size of the Hamburg. Both are human and hen friendly, though the Hamburg annoys the girls sometimes because they're not quite ready for his advances, but they do respond when he calls for food/predators.

The Cochin is super laid back...I wasn't convinced he was a rooster until he started crowing a week or two ago even though you can look at him and tell. He's always kind of hung back from the crowd, but he's starting to come into his own a little bit. Those two have always gotten along well. They have a 10x16 building as a coop, and a run that's more than twice that size, plus they free-range on 8.5 acres half the day, so space isn't an issue.

Last night, about half an hour before they went back in for the night, the two roosters got into a quick little squirmish. The Cochin seemed to win, and they went on about their business. They've been really good today, but about half an hour before they went in for the night, they did it again, and this time the Hamburg seemed to win. The Cochin laid down for about 15 minutes up under a storage building afterward, and I inspected him and didn't see any injuries other than a tiny cut on his comb. But when he finally got up, he was the last one in the coop and was hesitant to go in, plus he didn't really flinch when I handled him like he would normally.

I know they're sorting things out, but should I intervene in any way? Is it possible they'll get past this and live harmoniously together? I'd like to keep both with the flock if I can. But if I have to choose it would be the Cochin.

Here is my big boy after the fight tonight.
 

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SarahGfa

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Jan 26, 2018
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Let them battle it out. They will eventually learn to get along after sorting out the pecking order. Those are both relatively docile breeds.
 

SeaSea47

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Mar 12, 2017
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Let them battle it out. They will eventually learn to get along after sorting out the pecking order. Those are both relatively docile breeds.
Thanks. That's what I was hoping to hear. This is my first go-round with boys, so I am just trying not to screw it up.
 

adstowe

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5 Years
Aug 8, 2016
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If they aren't injuring each other, I'd give them some time to sort things out. If it escalates though, be prepared to pick one. They're still young and what is currently mild can very well turn into more down the road. Best case they sort things out now and it lasts. You never can tell though. They have a long way to go before they're even mature and there are still no guarantees even then.
 

SeaSea47

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Mar 12, 2017
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If they aren't injuring each other, I'd give them some time to sort things out. If it escalates though, be prepared to pick one. They're still young and what is currently mild can very well turn into more down the road. Best case they sort things out now and it lasts. You never can tell though. They have a long way to go before they're even mature and there are still no guarantees even then.
So far, no injuries, but I'm just worried about my big guy laying down afterward and being scared to go into the coop. But even though he's my biggest chicken, he's always been very submissive to the others. His best buddy is a little misfit Polish hen I have who has some neurological issues.
 

SeaSea47

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Mar 12, 2017
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Okay, so the fighting has calmed…the Hamburg still chases the Cochin if he gets near the girls, but the Cochin runs away instead of fighting back. But the Cochin stays by himself as much as possible. They free range half the day and he goes and hangs out by my duck pen instead of going all over the yard with the flock. I have a little hen with some issues who kind of marches to the beat of her own drummer and she’ll follow him around but that’s his only companionship. He hangs out in the coop most of the day when they’re not free ranging and barely comes out into the run. I feel bad for him because he’s so sweet. Any chance they’ll get past this? I’ve thought about separating the Hamburg where he can see them all but not touch anyone, but that seems cruel too.
 

adstowe

Songster
5 Years
Aug 8, 2016
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Colorado
Things may improve a bit after everything settles down, but most likely he'll always be an outcast that's simply permitted to live with them. The other rooster has his flock and he's not going to share. Short of re-homing him to someone with no roosters, this is probably about it for him. At least he has a friend though.
 

SeaSea47

Songster
Mar 12, 2017
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Things may improve a bit after everything settles down, but most likely he'll always be an outcast that's simply permitted to live with them. The other rooster has his flock and he's not going to share. Short of re-homing him to someone with no roosters, this is probably about it for him. At least he has a friend though.
If I were to rehome or separate the more dominant rooster, would they Cochin step up? He’s the one I’d prefer to keep to her honest.
 

adstowe

Songster
5 Years
Aug 8, 2016
437
641
191
Colorado
It's possible, but chickens are all individuals. I can't say for sure how he'll respond. You can keep both as long as they aren't hurting each other, but if you only want to have one, it sounds like you've picked your guy. A passive and sweet roo is certainly preferable to the other end of the spectrum. He'll likely build some confidence one the competition is removed. How much is a guessing game though.
 

SeaSea47

Songster
Mar 12, 2017
205
227
151
It's possible, but chickens are all individuals. I can't say for sure how he'll respond. You can keep both as long as they aren't hurting each other, but if you only want to have one, it sounds like you've picked your guy. A passive and sweet roo is certainly preferable to the other end of the spectrum. He'll likely build some confidence one the competition is removed. How much is a guessing game though.
Thanks for your help. Yesterday, the dominant rooster wouldn't let the Cochin dustbathe with the girls, but today he not only let him but went and laid down next to him. I'm hoping that's progress. I would really like to keep both of them - the little Hamburg is very good so far at protecting the flock from hawks, but I was hoping to breed the Cochin next year maybe. He's also a lot more gentle with the hens, though we don't have a lot of mating going on yet. I guess I'll just keep an eye on how things play out. Thanks again!
 

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