Some guy tried to tell me my roosters would fight to the death...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PrairieChickens, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2012
    A while back, I was talking to someone about my chickens, and she asked me how many roosters I have now. I said I was down to 7 mature adult roosters after selling two to my husband's coworker. This guy who overheard the conversation interjected to tell me I just CAN'T have more than one rooster in my flock, because if I do...

    They will fight to the DEATH!

    *cue dramatic music*

    I tried to explain to this individual that while, yes, some roosters will fight to the death, mine are not that aggressive, and once they had established their pecking order, they were fairly content to exist peacefully together. No, no, he insisted. They WILL fight to the death, because they are roosters and that is just what roosters do! This argument went on for almost an hour, with me trying to explain pecking orders, temperament, and flock dynamics, and him telling me that in spite of the evidence, facts, and reality itself, my roosters were destined to duke it out in an epic poultry Battle Royale.

    So, that conversation occurred several months ago, and now here we are. As you can see the boys are taking their sweet time on this whole fighting-to-the-death thing. Truth be told, I think it looks more like they're trying to decide where to grab lunch than plotting each others' demise...


    Now, I understand that we have an exceptionally mellow bunch of dudes in our flock. I am aware that there are plenty of roosters who will not tolerate any male competition in their ranks and who will, in fact, fight to the death rather than share their hens with another rooster. These guys are not those roosters. Most of my boys won't even fight-to-the-broken-nail, let alone fight to the death, and they have even demonstrated a willingness to protect their fellow roos if they think their buddy might be in danger. Do they fight sometimes? Sure, but it rarely goes beyond a bunch of huffing and puffing and trading threats. Like any group of guy buddies, they can get a bit rowdy sometimes, but a few minutes later they'll be foraging and dustbathing together like nothing happened.

    So, the next time this fella--or anybody else--tries to tell me I can't have more than one rooster without death and tragedy, I'm going to whip out this photo. Can't have more than one rooster, eh? Well, math was never my strong subject in school, but it sure looks like there's more than one rooster chillin' right here!

    *end rant*
    1 person likes this.
  2. RockerHen

    RockerHen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2011
    Chappells, SC
    I understand completely. I've had such conversations too many times before. Most roosters I've ever had were easygoing guys, only sparring occasionally and rarely leaving any sort of marks. However, I do posses a rooster now who is one of the 'fight to the death' types, which is understandable-he is an oriental gamefowl. Gorgeous, but dangerous around other male birds (he's a total sweetheart to hens and people, though).
    This is my main layer flock boy. A gentle giant, a huge cuckoo marans rooster who is one of the most laid back roosters I've ever owned, and a total sweetheart to his hens. He got size and spurs extremely quickly (he just turned a year...look at his huge spurs already!) but doesn't use them. Whenever I let my Thai gamefowl freerange, I usually make sure to shut the gate of the layer coop to make sure the cockerel can't get at my other roosters. A few weeks ago, I failed to do that. I came upon the scene of the Thai brutally thrashing my poor Marans, who had squeezed himself facefirst as far into the corner of the coop as possible, blood everywhere, with absolutely no sign of letting up. I sprinted into the coop and snatched up the Thai (who is actually a baby, around 6 months, with no spurs, but able to take on the Marans easily) , and put him back into the his locked coop. Thankfully, I got there before too much damage was done. The back of the Marans head was bald and bloodied, and his comb and parts of his wattles were pretty torn up (you can still see the scabs in the picture, taken a week or two after the incident) but nothing was serious, and despite having a badly wounded ego, he was fine and healed quickly. I learned my lesson. Now, if I let either group freerange, I make sure that in no way can the Thai come into contact with the other roosters. And everybody's happy now. Honestly, you just have to know your birds. In all likelihood, most common roosters will never do much more than get into minor scuffles now and then to establish and strengthen their places in the pecking order, as you said. There are game breeds, like my Thai, who will in fact fight to the death, but that is exception rather than the rule.
    Now my silkies are a fabulous example of how roosters get along well. My main rooster takes part in raising chicks with the hens, and as a result forms bonds with the chicks he helps to raise, even as they mature into breeding age males. I have a showgirl cockerel who, at five months, still sleeps with his head tucked under the wing of his 'surrogate' father. And the mature male still food calls to the cockerel when he finds a morsel. Not once have I seen my silkie roosters do more than raise their hackles at each other. Now the silkie hens aren't afraid to resort to more physical means--they'll flock a cockerel who they think is getting too pushy. But it's never enough to cause damage other than a blow to their pride. [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ashdoes

    Ashdoes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 11, 2012
    Peyton, CO
    My Cochin Roos were the sweetest boys. I had three, and they never once tried to fight, not even when picking females to mate with, they just took turns.
    I have three Cream Legbar Roos right now, and they aren't fighting either.
    I think a lot depends on the breed, but also having enough females and plenty of room for everyone.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    [​IMG]2 roosters

    [​IMG] I think 4 roosters in this shot

    Yeah, you can sure see these guys are worried about each other, aren't they [​IMG]

    That's such a common misconception, and I hear it repeated even on this board. I've never had a rooster kill another rooster, never had them fight enough more than a little comb tear and a few drops of blood, if that. Mine do a lot of posturing and sometimes bluffing, but no actual damage. That main pen, I think I have 7 roosters there now. More than I'm comfortable with, but health doesn't allow me to butcher right now and as long as the ladies aren't being harassed, I'm all good. All but one roo is young, and most of the ladies are older, so there's more ladies harassing roosters right now!
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
  5. MrPaterax

    MrPaterax Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 16, 2013
    You have some nice looking roosters and you can obviously tell they are planning each others demise.
  6. Ciqala

    Ciqala Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2013
    New Hampshire
    I heard the same thing many times, I have two roosters in with nine hens. They get along great, aside from one time when they were maturing they had a fight. If one can even call it that, they puffed up at each other, double barrel kicked each other in the chest and then it was over. Right after their tiff they stood side by side foraging around in the grass. I do have a white leghorn hen who gets her feathers in a bunch when "her" rooster mates with other hens though, lol. I've seen her peck him on the head while he was mating another and when that didn't make him stop, she jumped up and kicked him in the head, LOL. She always leaves the other hen alone, but I laughed so hard when I saw her do it.
  7. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2012
    I think it's up there with notions like how a hen can't lay eggs if a rooster's not around, or how white eggs come from white chickens... Misinformation passed down through the generations and taken as fact without question.
  8. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2013
    Did your boys grow up together? In my experience, those that grow up together will establish a rank and generally will not fight to the death or much at all. Unless you separate them during breeding for any length of time and then try to put them back together. Then some earnest fighting will begin and go on until one can't get up anymore. Introducing a new mature rooster to an existing flock usually doesn't work well either. Unless you have alot of running room and one of the roosters are "chicken".
  9. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2012
    Yeah, all my roosters grew up together as part of the same flock, which is something I'd tried to explain to the guy who was being oh-so-smart. These guys have a pecking order all of their own, and they know and respect each other for the most part. The only problem I've had is that two of our bantam cochins will get to posturing and scuffling, and will keep at it until they're both too tired to continue. They're not really trying to deal any serious blows--just posturing to the point of exhaustion. They'll eventually wander off, take a nap, then go back to just being flockmates. Sometimes we separate them if they go at it for too long, but they're still a long way from any sort of fight to the death.

    Eventually, I am going to try to sell a few of our roosters. We just ended up with too many, and then half of our "pullets" from our fall chick purchase turned out to be roos, which made things even worse. The larger breeds like the barred rocks and production red roos we can use for meat, but the bantam cochins I'm going to try to rehome to someone looking for a roo to keep in their flock.
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    I have experienced young roosters fighting themselves to the death by attacking their own reflection in a chrome hubcap.

    Under the right circumstances all roosters will fight. Some not as long perhaps as others but they all will definitely fight.

    Some roosters are only more determined to win than others.

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