Roosters started fighting, need some advise (12 hens, 2 roos)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by VT Chicken Lady, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. VT Chicken Lady

    VT Chicken Lady Hatching

    Dec 6, 2012
    Looking for a bit of expert advise or even a "what I would do...". We have 12 hens (arucauna, RIReds, cochins, etc..) all that have been together since they came out of the shell (we started with 27, but the rest are in the freezer). The 2 roosters we kept (because they were too young for me to be able to tell if they were male or female & we wanted to keep a roo for spring chicks- we ended up with 2 roos) are Cochins my 4 year old daughter has named "Snowpants (but she doesn't know which is which & neither do I!)- beautiful, black & white feathers, neither of which cares to crow (they can, but don't feel a need to put forth the effort most days), but they talk quite a bit.

    Our chickens are about 30 weeks now, we have 6 laying, which is great, and our eggs are most definitely fertile. The roos are very close friends occasionally a peck here or there, they have always worked as a team with the hens, which I always thought was neat. But today I noticed that one of their combs is bleeding at the base & watching them, whenever he tries to mount any of the hens, the other one grabs him by the comb & pulls him off. Besides them being identical in size & coloring, I can't tell them apart until now because his head's covered in blood, so it's been difficult for me to observe their behavior correctly. I don't know who's better with the girls, etc...

    Should I separate one of them until the comb heals? Which one would I separate? Should I just go ahead & cull one of them? Which one? Sorry for so many pictures & questions, but this is my first time as a chicken owner other than when I was a kid! Should I just leave them together & let them work it out? In comparison, they both seem aggressive towards the ladies when they want their way, but today the injured one keeps kicking them away when it's not trying to mount them. One of my hens (little Arucauna named "Owl") is very attached to the injured roo & is with him always. The two roosters always roost snuggled up to each other each night, and have always been great together, which is why I am a little befuddled (although they are chickens and not much makes sense with them!!) My first thought was to separate them, but then I would have to re-introduce it to the flock, which could be painful. And then I thought I should just leave them be & let them work it out. And then I thought I should just go ahead and call the Hitman, but I don't know which one to cull! Any ideas? Thanks so much in advance!
    Here's the roo that's being picked on.

    Here's the one that's doing the picking:

    And the two of them together:


  2. dreamcatcherarabians

    dreamcatcherarabians Songster

    Jul 29, 2010
    I would either rehome or cull one of them, if they were mine I'd probably get rid of the more aggressive one because I've had issues with an aggressive roo in the past. Only you can really tell which one is nicer with the ladies, and that's the one I'd try to keep. The only problem with keeping the injured one is, you have to get him out of the flock to heal and he's going to lose his place as long as there's another roo. Once you bring him back he'll get beat up on by the other roo. If you leave him in and get rid of the other roo, the hens may start picking on him. If you pull him and get rid of the other, introducing him back shouldn't be toooo bad, but I wouldn't do it til he's completely healed. Or you can cull/rehome him and solve the problem the easy way.
  3. Animol

    Animol In the Brooder

    Nov 8, 2012
    If you're not breeding for the sake of breeding I'd get rid of the more aggresive roo, even though more agressive roos have a history of being better to fertilise eggs if you only have twelve hens I'm sure one can do the job. Also if he is starting to act aggressivly towards the other roo there is always the possibility he will start on humans too. Seperate the injured one to heal, rehome/cull the other and then, once the injured roo is healed you can intergrate him back into the flock. You might want to keep Owl with him as long as she doesn't start picking at him so he doesn't get lonley. After all that I doubt he'll have any problems going back into the flock having been with them before and he is a roo so as soon as he's feeling better I'm sure he won't allow himself to be pushed around by the other girls.
  4. This is a common issue in poultry, mainly chickens.

    For the sake of both their health and protection i suggest separation or re-homing. Most breeds of roosters require 10 to 12 hens per rooster, so your flock is under a bit. To decide which one to keep is entirely up t you.

    Good luck!

  5. VT Chicken Lady

    VT Chicken Lady Hatching

    Dec 6, 2012
    Thank you all so much for the replies. I left my chickens all together & the rooster that was doing the picking has stopped (for some weird reason he just did it that day) & the injured Roo's head is doing just fine; however, now the roo that was picking on the other one has begun picking on me, attacking my pants leg whenever I walk by. We had a really aggressive Leghorn rooster from this spring's chicks & he would chase both myself & my 4 year old daughter- he even jumped up on her & attacked her face (then my husband took a 2x4 to him & he was culled the next day only because we couldn't get him down from the tree he flew into). This rooster is not nearly that aggressive, but I am afraid he will get to that point just like the other one did, even though we tried the squirt bottle, etc with the Leghorn (I will never get Leghorns again- ever!).. I will have to cull him- I'm not chancing having another aggressive rooster. I hope the one we keep doesn't turn on us, too.

    Thank you so much for all of your help & advise! Really helpful & great to have a nice support line here!

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