Should we separate our older chickens from our roosters?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dragonflycat, Sep 29, 2016.

  1. dragonflycat

    dragonflycat Just Hatched

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    We have 8 older hens (4+ years old). They were never with a rooster before.

    We got 24 chicks in mid-April; four NH Reds, four Barred Rocks, the rest Easter Eggers. We bought them at a local grain/pet store. We were told they were all pullets--no guarantees, of course.

    It didn't take long to discover we actually have FOUR roosters; one NH Red, the other three EE's.

    So they're about 5 1/2 months old. We don't see any fighting (yet?) among the roosters...but they've been furiously mating with all of our hens--including the older gals. The older gals are starting to seem quite stressed and getting more exhausted.

    Should we put the matrons in their own box stall? Is it possible for the roosters to wear them down too much causing them to ultimately die?

    Would help/hinder the situation if we remove one/some of the roosters?

    Any tips, suggestions, advice are gratefully appreciated.
     
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    My advise is get rid of some Roosters....I actually mean, keep just one.....Roosters are hard on hens..I have no Roo this year...If you only want eggs? No Rooster is needed...As for protection it varies...Either have bald hens with an over protective Roo that may attack you also or let your hens learn to be aware on their own..? Mine are doing great!

    You will get way too many Rooster lovers replying and the haters....I do not hate them, I have zero need for one....

    Cheers!
     
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  3. jenniferlamar70

    jenniferlamar70 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess I'm a rooster lover lol but we have kept quite a few at a time. It really depends on the individual rooster. A good ratio is 10 hens per rooster so I would say rehome 2 and keep the other 2. As for the older ladies if you can it won't hurt to seperate them. But after you rehome 2 it should be better. I've had up to 8 inactive roosters who are not that active before and had no problems. I've also had only one and then had problems. It's very individual to rooster. You could probably keep them all and add another 10 to 20 hens and be fine but I wouldn't advise it unless you free range. 2 roosters in a coop are fine. I've found there are alot of benefits to keeping a rooster other then chicks. Lots of good reading on google if your interested. Good luck. :)
     
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  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'd say it's time for some management decisions.

    Do you plan to keep all those roosters? If so, why? Do they have a purpose, or do you simply feel obligated because someone made a mistake?

    Normally, older hens can really teach young cockerels manners. My 4 year old Marans ladies keep the young guys in line like you wouldn't believe. But, they also have a mature rooster for back up, and I pull the cockerels out at about 4 months. In your situation, the hens have no back up, and there are quite a few cockerels. Enough they can gang up on a hen, no matter how mature and confident she is.

    Take a good look at your roosters. See who you want to keep. Get rid of the rest. I'd try to get things down to 2 males, then see how it goes.

    If it's going to take you a while to get rid of some, set up a bachelor pad for some or all of them. At least until the pullets are older and able to handle their share of the mating.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    This^^^^ Great post!
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    As usual, Donrae has great advice.
     
  7. dragonflycat

    dragonflycat Just Hatched

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    Thank you for sharing your experienced advice and suggestions, I greatly appreciate it...! So far we've given our older ladies their own space and we're keeping a close eye on the four fellas to decide who if anyone gets a pink slip.

    If we do have to rehome a couple how would we go about finding someone who'd want them?
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Put an ad in your local sale paper or up at a farm store...or on craigslist...or a local Facebook group.
    You can ask for money, or a no-kill pet home......but....
    .....the best bet to get rid of them quickly is give them away for free and don't ask any questions about their future fate.
    I eat my extra cockerels. Depending on your long term goals, now might be a good time to learn to slaughter.
     
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  9. jenniferlamar70

    jenniferlamar70 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a local rooster rescue place that takes them. I also use craigslist.com to no kill homes only. The best way I have found is to sell in trios with 2 hens at an affordable price. That way you know they are going to a good home. I always advertise non slaughter homes and I have a local Facebook page I also advertise on. While we wait I keep them in a bachelor pad until they get new homes. It takes time but I love my roosters so we do wait it out. I've found homes for many roosters this way. :) if they are aggressive you probably won't find a home though. In that case we do have someone who takes them on their huge farm until they can be humanely put down. Out of all the roosters we've had though we haven't had to use this option yet. Good luck. :)
     
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  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I used to advertise on CL, Facebook, fliers at the feed store, etc.

    Now, unless I have a really special rooster, I don't bother. I could hardly recoup my feed costs trying to sell them, even when I did find a buyer. There's a glut of roosters usually, in my area at least. I decided it didn't make sense to feed a bird for months, then give it away, when at the same time I'm buying factory farmed chicken to feed my family. I learned to butcher---not easy, but doable. So now the majority of my cockerels go to our freezer.
     
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