What do I do with my roosters?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by brandislee, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    (I hope I posted this in the right place- I wasn't sure if I should post here or in emergencies, but it's really not an emergency...)

    My roosters have grown up together and, besides a few scuffles when they were like 12 weeks old, they have NEVER fought. They yesterday I go out to check on them and gather eggs and I notice both roosters are bleeding from their combs. They had been free ranging and my first thought is that they got hurt defending the hens, so I ran around the yard and did a head count and everyone was fine. I still refused to believe they were fighting to that extent, as I hadn't seen them go at it yet. I caught each one, nursed their wounds, and put them back in the run. Then, when I went to put them in for the night, I got to witness the madness. And I don't have anywhere to isolate them (thank you broilers) I let one rooster and whatever assorted hens chose to follow him out to free range and shut the rest (who, other than the rooster, are usually the homebodies anyway).

    What should I do? What would you do? I have enough hens (20ish) for two roosters. My theory is this: The Wyandotte used to be the alpha, but the Orp has suddenly gotten much bigger and I think he has finally realized it. So he's decided to challenge pecking order. Will this resolve? Should I process/get rid of one rooster? I had originally planned to get rid of the orp, as he went through a very aggressive phase (aggressive with me- he would actually follow me around the yard just to peck the crap out of my legs and tried to spur me many times) but he seems to have calmed down, and he is an absolutely big, beautiful rooster, and he is much more aggressive about protecting the flock (ie doing his job). The other rooster is calmer, sweeter, but he has also mysteriously attacked my kids twice (they both did something to freak him out, but it was just weird because he's never attacked me no matter what I do) and also pretty, but not as big. So if I choose to get rid of one I dread making the choice.

    Or is it possible that they will be able to re-establish the pecking order and eventually co-exist peacefully?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
     
  2. EELover

    EELover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 15, 2010
    I wouldn't worry about it. Separate them for a couple of days (from the hens too so their wounds don't get pecked at) if there are big wounds so they can heal up a little. They are just establishing the pecking order again. If it takes more than a week, pick your favorite and get rid of the other. But give them a chance first before you make any drastic decisions. Good luck!
     
  3. AZBootsie

    AZBootsie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Congress, AZ
    My Coop
    Hopefully they will work it out. Hen/Roo ratio is great.
     
  4. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    Thanks- that's what my gut has been telling me to do. I've been watching them in every spare moment to make sure the hens aren't pecking at them... they strike fear into most of the other chickens I have. They're not mean, just very amorous:) and big. But they seem to be doing fine. If I had a way to separate the boys from each other AND the girls, I would, but I am fresh out of isolation right now (I have broiler chicks in my house in the dog crate and outside in my small tractor right now). So I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing to keep them separated during the day so they can heal. When I let the Orp back into the run today they scuffled for a while, but it seemed a little less vicious than before- I didn't see any blood to speak of. I think the Wyandotte is starting to get the idea that he isn't top dog anymore... which kind of makes me sad because he did a really good job keeping everyone in line. But that's life with livestock, right?

    I'm still thinking seriously about splitting the flock, though. My original plan for this fall had been to expand the coop so they have more space for our long, cold winter, but I think building a second run and retro fitting a part of our large shed and splitting the flock may actually be a better/cheaper idea.
     
  5. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    Just for posterity (ie people searching in the future) I let my roosters work it out, seperating them when they needed time to recover from an injury. It took like 4 days, and now peace is restored to the coop!
     

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