Roosters

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jkoselke, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. jkoselke

    jkoselke Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello Everyone!

    Quick questions...I bought 6 chicks in December hoping that all 6 would be hens. Well three months later now I have 3 hens and 3 roosters. Here are my basic questions:

    1. How long will the rooster get along together in the coop? They only free range about 2-4 hours a day.
    2. I assume that I will eventually have to send at least 2 of the roosters on down the road. I can't eat them myself and can't stand the thought of someone else being cruel to them. Any suggestions as to where I send them or find homes for them?
    3. Is one rooster too much for my three hens? My grandma said he will run those hens ragged! And if he does the fertilize the eggs, if collected the day they are laid, can you still eat them?

    I appreciate any help!
    Thank you!
    Jen
     
  2. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If the roos are raised together, they might get along fine. I have two roos who roost side by side on the perch and never fight with each other. Yours might be the same. And you may change your mind about eating them if they ever get cheeky and start attacking you. Unless they are pure bred and excellent quality, anyone you can find to rehome them for you will probably eat them anyway. If they're going to be eaten, it might as well be you benefitting as someone else...

    I think one roo is probably too much for three hens. Depends on the roo of course, but young roos tend to be very active and also lacking in technique, meaning your hens might end up losing a lot of feathers till your roo gets the hang of the mating thing properly. When I had 14 hens, two roos was too many and some of the girls looked a bit threadbare. The roos seem to pick favourites and just pester them constantly. Now I have 23 hens and I think that's a better ratio.

    You can eat fertilised eggs and you honestly won't know the difference. I collect fertilised eggs and store them for up to a month before eating them. Unless they are incubated or sat on by a broody hen, nothing will develop inside the egg. As long as you collect your eggs every day and store them in a reasonably cool place, you won't ever find any little baby chick embryos.
     
  3. paddock36

    paddock36 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Depends on the rooster. Some can be more aggressive than others. I'd say they might still get along for another month. If you watch I'm sure you will notice them sparring with each other more and more.
     
  4. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Jen and welcome to BYC!

    For the most part, the 3 roosters will probably get along ok once they establish their pecking order, but your grandma is right about even 1 rooster possibly running your 3 hens ragged. It depends on the individual rooster, though, so it's hard to say for sure. Some roosters are harder on their girls than others. With 3 in the pen you will have 1 dominant boy and he won't let the others mess with his hens, which can result in some squabbles. With only 3 girls, you are probably better off re-homing 2 of them like you have planned. As far as finding them a home - I'm lucky because I have a guy I met from Craigslist who takes my extra boys. He has no hens and just enjoys letting the boys wander around his acreage, eat bugs, and strut their stuff. You might try putting an ad on Craigslist and see what happens. I know it's no fun getting rid of your babies, but there's a good chance you can find them a nice home and the rest of your birds will be better off.

    Best of luck to you and enjoy your flock!!! [​IMG]
     
  5. BarnGoddess01

    BarnGoddess01 I [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]

    I'm sure it depends on the roo but my guys got along fabulously for 10 months. Then the wars started. But so has spring fever. It has been a LONG, cold and snowy winter here. We have been coop-bound since Christmas. No turnout at all. I have the boys caged right now as we wait for winter to end, taking half day shifts with the hens at liberty in the coop. I am hoping I will be able to let them out together once the coop door can be opened again. But I'm also not holding out much hope. Roos fight hard when they fight.

    Yes, you can eat fertilized eggs. I do it all the time, and I sell them.

    1 roo is a lot for 3 hens but again, depends on the roo. At one point I had 1 roo and 5 hens. Only one of the hens had a bare back from the roo. And the ladies loved their roo.
     
  6. jkoselke

    jkoselke Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 8, 2011
    Mesa, AZ
    Thank you all for the quick replys! I kind of figured that at least 2 will have to go. I will probably keep Noel...now known as Leon (noel backwards HAHAHA) and see if he is good to his girls.

    The mini face-offs are already starting but they are not long lasting or too terrible.

    My grandma used to raise chickens for food on her farm for a long time...bet they didn't have names though! When are they old enough to "take to market" so to speak?

    Thank you all again sooo much!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    There are a whole lot of myths and urban legends on this forum about roosters. They are living animals and you cannot be sure of what they will do. You are never assured of having problems, but the more you have the more likely you are to have problems. My recommendation is to get rid of two of them and do it pretty soon.

    1. How long will the rooster get along together in the coop? They only free range about 2-4 hours a day.

    This depends a lot on their individual personality and on what you call "get along". The six chickens have been raised together and at three months they have already established a pecking order. You should be seeing the roosters squaring off and fighting. This is flock dominance, not pecking order. A lot of the time, when they are raised together, this flock dominance fighting is not much. They square off, one quickly decides he is outmatched, and he runs away. It really helps if he has enough room to run away. If space is tight, he may not have that option. This does not always happen though. Sometimes they fight to the death. They are living animals. I cannot tell you what they will do in your specific circumstances with those specific roosters. I free range mine and have never had a serious problem with multiple roosters coming of age, whether all are the same age or if there is a dominant rooster in the flock. They actually form a pretty good team in taking care of the girls with different roosters having different responsibilities. Sometimes there are minor skirmishes to remind them which one is in charge, but this is mostly chasing, not fighting. But I'll say it again. Some roosters fight to the death.

    2. I assume that I will eventually have to send at least 2 of the roosters on down the road. I can't eat them myself and can't stand the thought of someone else being cruel to them. Any suggestions as to where I send them or find homes for them?

    Once you let them go, they are out of your control. You can advertise on Craigslist or Freecycle, maybe put up a notice on the bulletin board of your feed store, and try to find someone who you think will give them a good home, but once they are gone, they are gone.

    3. Is one rooster too much for my three hens? My grandma said he will run those hens ragged! And if he does the fertilize the eggs, if collected the day they are laid, can you still eat them?

    A fertilized egg is not going to develop unless it is at incubation temperatures. If you collect them daily, even if they are under a broody hen part of the day, they will not have developed. I always crack the eggs in a separate bowl anyway, but this should not be a concern for you.

    Many breeders keep one rooster in a pen with one or two hens and don't have them run ragged. Some people have hens that are run ragged with one rooster and 18 or more hens. Some people on this forum report running three roosters with two hens and not having this problem. There is no magic ration of hen to rooster that guarantees you will have this problem or that guarantees you will not have this problem. Run ragged generally is taken to mean barebacked hens. That is where the rooster removes the hen's feathers in the small of her back with his claws and spurs while mating. He can wind up cutting her, which can be a fatal problem for her if the other chickens see the blood and raw meat and turn cannibalistic. A hen losing a few feathers during mating is not a big deal. But if the area starts to get bare, it needs to be addressed. And if you ever see any cuts, get that hen isolated before the others kill her.

    Without going into great detail, adolescent roosters are usually a lot worse about this than adult roosters. Their hormones are running wild, they have no self-control, and the hens or pullets often do not willingly agree with their intentions and resist. I think the odds of you having serious problems with three adolescent roosters with three adolescent hens are tremendously high. It is not the potential fighting between the roosters that causes me to suggest you get rid of two roosters soon, but the risk to your pullets. In spite of anything else I say here, I do think the fewer roosters you can keep and still meet your goals, the better off you are.

    Will one rooster be too much for three hens? Maybe and maybe not. It depends on a lot of different factors, the personality of your hens and rooster being the most critical. I think that you have a reasonable chance of seeing some problems while they are adolescent, but if you can get them through that period, there is a pretty good chance the will be OK together when they mature. Some of the things you can do to help them get through this period is to put aprons on the pullets of they become barebacked and trim the claws and spurs of the rooster. I don't mean remove the spurs and claws, but blunt the sharp end. If you cut too deep, you get into the quick. I think the claws are more important that the spurs since a lot of the bare-backed problems occur when the rooster is young and the spurs have not yet grown in.

    Hope you get something out of this that is useful.
     
  8. BarnGoddess01

    BarnGoddess01 I [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]

    Thank you, Ridgerunner, for that most excellent and thought provoking post. I have a question: At what age are roos considered "adolescent"? (I am SO hoping that my 10 month old raised together-boys might out-grow their current "randiness" and become somewhat civilized with each other again as I dearly love them both.)
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I don't know what the limits are to adolescence in chickens. I've had them hit adolescence at 12 weeks; I’ve had them start around 20 weeks. I've had 15 week old roosters that were very mature. Adult hens even accepted them. I've had much older roosters that were eaten before they got there. Like almost everything else concerning chicken behavior, I cannot give you a clear answer.

    I'd think by 10 months they would be there already. But I could introduce you to some men and women in their 40's that I think have not yet graduated from human adolescence.
     
  10. sheila3935

    sheila3935 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 2 that were hatchmayes that I raised since 10 days old. They are about 8 months now and have always got along til the weather started getting warmer this spring. Now I have them seperated hope after the hormones settle from spring they will get along again or I will have to keep them seperate or rehome one.
     

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