Update! Knock on wood: my two roos are free ranging together

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Henrietta23, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. Henrietta23

    Henrietta23 Songster

    Oct 20, 2007
    Eastern CT
    Oliver and George are my two 5 month old roos. They are half brothers, hatched a day apart. Oliver is half Buttercup, half silkie and George is a silkie.They've been living in the same coop with a fence between them since they started quarreling as they matured. I'd really like all my chickens free ranging in the fenced in backyard together but everytime I try to let these two guys loose together they fight and I chicken out (pun intended) and lock one back up. Then I end up with my 11 pullets and George in a pen and Oliver and the two old hens free ranging. You might figure out that I've never had roosters before and that we are pretty attached to these two. Any words of encouragement???? Or should I quit stressing myself out and find one of them a new home?
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2008
  2. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    I don't have roosters yet but I've found with social animals that establish a "pecking order" that everytime you seperate them you make it worse. They have to fight out who is boss. The first time you put them together is usually the least violent fight. They test each cautiously and will escalate the fight more slowly so there is more time for 1 to give in and end the disagreement peacefully. Every time you seperate before they finish deciding who is boss they both end up feeling like they lost. Then when you put them together they start out where they left off and increase the violence from there or sometimes just decided to go all out on each other and settle it once and for all. The worst thing you could do when introducing animals is put them together, get scared, pull them apart, and repeat because I've seen some animals that probably would have gotten along if left alone the first time who end up nearly killing each other the 5th or 6th time. They will only get worse if you keep doing that.

    Instead you should try to setup the safest introduction area possible. Dunno what that is for chickens. Someone else will have to comment on the best way to introduce chickens. Then once they are together let them argue until they settle it or there is too much blood shed and you have no choice but to seperate them. If they get to the point of drawing blood it's usually best to just give up and rehome one.
  3. chickflick

    chickflick Crowing

    Mar 10, 2007
    My two roosters didn't grow up together. Rocky came first, and then a few months later, Doodle. I did the separtion thing when adding the younger birds. Kept a fence between them for a few weeks. Then I let them free range in the back yard and kept a close eye on things. Rocky chased and pulled a few feathers out....but they have worked it out now. Rocky is definately top dog, but they free range together and I haven't seen them fight in ....gosh since I first introduced them. Granted, Doodle is so layed back.... he has never flogged me or any one else.
    Let your birds work it out together. Keep a close eye and make sure it doesn't get too violent, but they have to establish their pecking order.
  4. Tsagirl

    Tsagirl Songster

    Dec 9, 2007
    this is so weird because I have two silke roos that were hatched at the same time and now they are almost 5 months old and they are VERY attached to one another. Those roosters just love everyone including my kids and not to mention they are only crowing in the morning and are fertilizing all our frizzle hen eggs! [​IMG]
    So my roos get along, but of course they are the only roosters I have been able to keep this long!
    good luck to you! [​IMG]
  5. estpr13

    estpr13 Songster

    May 18, 2008
    Lexington, Ky
    I had Four 6 month old Delaware roos in a large pen together. Every now and then I would find one all bloody or missing tail feathers from a fight. But this eventually settled down when a pecking order was established. The blood looked really bad but it all came from the combs and wattles where they would bite each other. Big black areas on these areas would apear from brusing, but otherwise they were fine.

    I have read that you shouldn't have just two roos as a third roo will always jump into a fight and break up the initial altercation. So I always keep at least three roos for this reason. For breeding purposes having only one roo is risky.
  6. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    You could take one to perfectly polishes coop building, and use one of her stumps to get rid of the problem, and have dinner to boot. [​IMG]
  7. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    I think you need more hens to have 2 roos. Your ratio is 1 roo to 6 hens and it should be more like 1 roo to 10 hens MINIMUM or up to 1:12 or 1:15 ideally. Otherwise the hens can get bred too often and it beats up on them to have that situation. It will also help your roo fighting situation because they'll have so many more hens to run after that they'll be more distracted from fighting.

    I have 2 roos free-ranging together but they each have their "own hens" that they roost with at night (I have 2 coops). They're always "stealing" each other's hens during the day when they free-range, but they rarely fight, it's mostly alpha roo running after beta roo (which is funny to watch actually since he never catches up to him and beta roo is like twice as big -- kinda like the roadrunner cartoon). They also go into each other coops during the day. One roo is dominant and frequently tells the other roo to get lost, but I've never seen them draw blood because the 2nd in command roo always runs away.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2008
  8. Henrietta23

    Henrietta23 Songster

    Oct 20, 2007
    Eastern CT
    Quote:Yup, I could. But not if I want my 6 yo son to ever speak to me again! [​IMG] He watched these boys hatch and he wouldn't forgive me. (Weird side note, I had a dream last night that he found his father's hatchet and decide to chop the head off his favorite hen because he'd seen done in a movie.....)
    Anyway, I did let George out last night and had Oliver fenced up for a bit, which is the opposite of the way things usually are. All the pullets were out too. They sized each other up through the fence but that was it so I let them out together for over three hours. There may have been a few feather pulls but other than that they were fine. They were even scratching around right next to each other. Oliver caused more problems (not the right word since he was just doing what roosters do) with the pullets. They were not happy with him at all. Seems they've put George in his place and he pretty much leaves them alone so far. Oliver was a little more pushy. Today when I went down I let Oliver and his girls out but left George and co. in since I'm going to be out a doctor's appt. for a while. I'll let them all out when I'm home later.
    I remember talking about the hen:roo ratio on here before and I know they really need more. Not likely to happen unless I get some silkie hens somewhere. Someone mentioned since the roos are smaller breeds it may be okay. I'm home for the summer so I'll be able to keep an eye on things. Thanks for all your thoughts and encouragement.
  9. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Songster

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    From my experience with roosters who grow up together... once they start fighting they will never stop. Longest i got 2 roos to get along for was about 9 months. They cuddled together, slept together, lived in the garage together due to tearing up the hens too bad (bantam hens and standard size roos) not a good mix. One day out of the blue after spending the night cuddled up next to each other they started fighting bad. I ended up rehoming both of them, wasn't easy i cried bigtime over one of them because he was my favorite but not so much the other because he would come after me. Both got excellent homes where they are the only roosters and plenty of hens to keep them busy.
  10. I have 2 silkie roos that are each about 1 1/2 years old. They are in the same pen with one silkie hen but they must have a VERY low libido or are smitten with each other. They don't bother the silkie hen much and have NEVER had a fight.

    I also have 2 black mottled bantam cochin roos in a pen with a standard (smallish) white langshan hen. They are too small to breed her but they both get along famously.

    We allow them all into the courtyard with the twelve 5 month old pullets and so far...so good.

    I think the worm will turn one day, though, and I will be faced with the same decision you are, Henrietta. Good luck...let us know what you decide.

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