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separating roos

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by trudyg, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. trudyg

    trudyg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 3, 2013
    I've read several posts here that say something like separate the roos from the pullets before maturity. One post said roos raised in a flock tend to be bullies to the girls. I've got 16 4 week olds, not sure yet the sex of any of them 100% (tho I'm making a good guess on some). When I know for sure, should I segregate them? They're for meat, so they'll only be here 16 weeks or so unless I keep one for fertile eggs. Is there some reason I haven't thought of?
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    The reason to separate is because if you get too many roosters, you get a lot of aggressive, young cockerels trying to mount your hens. Roosters raised in a flock aren't necessarily bullies - although it's always good to raise a cockerel in a flock of older hens so they teach him some manners. However, even nice cockerels can cause harm - just because a rooster isn't aggressive doesn't mean he isn't clumsy, and clumsiness can result in even more feather loss than aggression.

    Mounting usually starts at around 20 weeks, but you can get 15 week olds and sometimes even younger trying to mount. Unless you see a lot of mating behavior, it should be fine to leave the together. But if they start to get rowdy, it's best to separate them.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    You have a couple options...

    if they're dual purpose birds for meat, you can keep everyone together and slaughter each bird as he becomes an issue. The pro to this is you don't need a separate pen. The con is you have to be available to slaughter fairly quickly if a young guy gets crazy hormonal and you have no alternate housing.

    you can also pull the males as they become apparent. When I do this, I have a large-ish grow out pen and add cockerels to it as I become confident of the gender. I don't have an issue with them fighting as I add more birds, usually because I can sex fairly early and they've been raised together. I also have lots of space. I also have the option to run a mature rooster in the grow-out pen to keep the young guys in line, but understand not everyone has that available.

    They don't become bullies to the pullets, but they do reach sexual maturity faster and want to mate sooner. More than one or two cockerels can easily gang up on a pullet and make her life pretty miserable. However, by the time those hormones are flowing that hard, it's readily apparent who is which gender, usually around 4 months or so. Dual purpose birds are usually slaughtered around 5 months, so you're already close to your butcher date when they start getting randy.
    1 person likes this.
  4. trudyg

    trudyg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 3, 2013
    Thanks. That's pretty much what I thought. I've had 2 roos in the past who got too spunky and favored a single hen--we took them out as soon as we saw how active they were. Didn't want fertile eggs then, but I'm wanting fertile eggs now so I'm inclined to watch. Also, I have the room to create a separate pen for them if I want to grow them out some more.

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