What to do with my roo...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Nupe, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

    594
    173
    136
    Jun 13, 2014
    Georgia
    My flock is just over 8 months old. I have 16 hens and 2 roos that all grew up together. My SLW roo is dominant and has been seriously feeling his oats. While I'm working out in the garden or the coop he's grabbing a hen every 5-10 mins and the hens are not appreciative. Honestly, I didn't think a rooster could make so many "oats." I was very upset to see one of my EEs with a bloody elbow. He seems to only be doing any feather damage to the EEs. I noticed he is a lot more clumsy with them as opposed to the Wellie and SLW hens. They must have a smaller frame. I've been considering rehoming him or sending him to freezer camp, not so much that I think there's no hope for him as he matures but my Wellie roo is displaying much better behaviors. I've seen him inspecting and fluffing the nesting boxes and calling the girls to food. I've also seen a hen submit to him and the SLW jumped him before he could get it. Yesterday, I finally saw the SLW roo dance. Abysmally unsuccessful mind you, but it was good to see.

    In the next few weeks as the weather warms up, I will be extending their run and adding some roosts. That will give the girls a better chance of avoiding the roo when they've had enough. I don't have the facilities to separate him and I really wouldn't want to. Problem is, we built the coop/run for 15 chickens. The run is 12x12 plus 6x6 under the coop. We had always planned to extend it but now it's urgent. I guess I ordered at the right time because the hatchery sent 18 and they all lived. Eventually when the stars align, I win the lottery and become rich and famous, I will fence and electrify my front field to give them a couple of acres to range on. Otherwise they would be entertainment for my inconsiderate neighbor's dogs.

    So the question is, should I wait for him to mellow out or should I take advantage of the Wellie's sweet behavior? Will a dominant roo be willing to learn from an insubordinate or catch on on his own?
     
  2. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

    5,157
    1,106
    338
    Apr 5, 2013
    Wisconsin
    There's a chance he will settle. He's sexually mature, but not mature. If he's not aggressively attacking hens or your other rooster I'd give him a chance. You can always send him away later :) As for the feather damage...in the younger months I noticed that happen to my buff orps. I put a saddle on them for a while and onee they had their first full molt it doesn't happen. Almost like the feathers were just too soft for a rooster.
     
  3. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

    594
    173
    136
    Jun 13, 2014
    Georgia
    Besides the one girl who's elbow feathers were broken off I haven't seen any other blood or bare spots. The other EE's feathers at the base of their tails looks more like down. Poor girls. I wouldn't call him aggressive in the sense he's being a bully. He hasn't gotten the sweet talking down yet so he does grab their necks and force submission when he mates. I've seen the 2 roos and stand off at each other, but never really fight.

    A friend of mine who was helping in the run swears the SLW was giving him stink eye and posturing at him but I'm not sure he would know what he's talking about and none of my chickens have ever shown any aggression towards me. He's a bit of a softy when it comes to critters and may have stopped the roo from mating because the hens will cry out when he grabs their neck. I don't do that. I think it's better for me just to stay out of the pecking order. If one does challenge me, he will be soup.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  4. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

    5,157
    1,106
    338
    Apr 5, 2013
    Wisconsin
    If he's not showing aggression now I would say thats a good sign. I have an almost two year old rooster who is a complete gentleman and a 7 month cockerel who lacks that concept right now. As he's aging a bit he's getting better so I would think their fumbling around is just a maturity issue and he'll grow out of it.

    I know what you mean with the feathers. I would cover them up for a bit to prevent any bloody spots. You can purchase some pretty inexpensively or find an easy pattern and make your own. I only had to do it before their first big molt. They haven't had that down feather look since.
     
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,401
    172
    143
    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    You have to evaluate why you want to keep the rooster(s) and the purpose they will serve.
    Personally, I'm a small time egg peddler so I keep a few roosters that make the best chicks that produce the biggest, bestest, prettiest eggs. Personality & temperament is secondary to me as long as they lay a big pretty egg.
    I hatch my own chicks and after raising & enduring 40-50 looting, marauding roosters all summer it's easy to swing the hatchet. I let them make the choice themselves, some of them practially beg for the hatchet at first, then as the rest fall out of favor they go to that big chopping block in the backyard.
     
  6. rainbowrooster

    rainbowrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    324
    16
    101
    Nov 26, 2011
    You made me smile. You might get some hate mail for that but I totally understand. We raise many birds for exhibition and breeding projects and most don't make the cut
     
  7. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,401
    172
    143
    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    I better not get any hate mail for using a stinkin chicken for it's intended purpose! ;) :)
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

    594
    173
    136
    Jun 13, 2014
    Georgia
    Don't eat yellow snow. Otherwise it's delicious.

    [​IMG]

    I love Snow and Dumplings.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    34,477
    7,698
    596
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Get rid of 1 and the other will calm down, probably immediately.
    2 roosters make for a competitive environment......and your hens are suffering because of it.

    I'd bet that if you even crate one up, out of sight and sound, the other will ease up on the girls.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
  10. Nupe

    Nupe Chillin' With My Peeps

    594
    173
    136
    Jun 13, 2014
    Georgia
    I've been spending more time in the garden getting it prepped for spring veggies and I noticed he's not nearly as successful as when I am in the pen. They get up on the outside roosts and the roo leaves them be. I keep wood chips down in the run to avoid muddy poopy feet but its on a slope so a couple of times a week I take the rake and spread it back out. It's a treat to them because I uncover hidden goodies. So they all come down and start crowding the areas as I uncover them and he takes advantage.

    This morning when I brought breakfast, he actually chattered a bit for the ladies and they came to him. That made me feel better. My sweetie's elbow is healed up even though he's still mating her. I don't think he broke the skin, just feathers close to the skin where it bleeds. She can fluff up enough to cover it and is still able to get up on the roost which is about 4 ft off the ground.

    I guess he's off the hook for the stock pot for now. I'll be spending more time in the garden as the weather gets better so I'll be keeping an eye out. I collected 13 eggs today which is a new record for me. I don't think they're suffering so much as annoyed.

    ... besides, he just wants to live!!! (I shouldn't make fun of silly vegans... but I do. [​IMG])
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by