When Will Cockerels "Take Charge?"

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Aunt Angus, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

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    Hi! I have a small flock consisting of 4 standard hens, 1 standard pullet, 1 bantam pullet, and 2 bantam cockerels. I know that is likely too many boys, but it is what it is, and I will deal with it when I have to.

    One of the cockerels is clearly the "alpha." He has taken charge of the same age chicks and does all the things cockerels do: tidbitting, the wing dance, flirting, protecting. He's trying to make progress with the hens, but they don't take him very seriously. He dances for them and sometimes pecks at them (not viciously). For the most part, they ignore him. Sometimes they will run him off. Sometimes they run away.

    He's only about 3.5 months old, but I'm curious. When will they start taking him seriously? Or is he too small? He's a Sebright, after all.

    Just fyi: The other cockerel is a Silkie. Same age, but no evidence of raging hormones yet, and there won't be for months, I doubt.

    TIA!
     
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  2. hysop

    hysop Chirping

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    I have 4 roosters. Two are the same age and grew up together. They still get along and are 6 months. One is clearly in charge, but the other is starting to slowly challenge him. I don’t find an issue with two roosters who have grown up together, the issue is not enough hens per rooster ratio. They will begin to mount them and hurt them if they get mounted too often which they will once the roosters are fully mature. As far as when they will take charge, hmm I think at 4-5 months. But for sure by 6 because mine have been in charge for a while and that’s how old they are now.
     
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  3. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

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    Thanks! I'm watching closely.

    I am considering getting more pullets to balance it out. And I have a setup that will allow separation, if necessary. I am just taking a "wait and see" approach. I'm kinda interested to see how my very big girls deal with my very little boys...
     
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  4. hysop

    hysop Chirping

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    If they all live together they will begin to take them seriously when they begin mating. My white leghorn rooster will mate with all the hens even the ones who don’t belong to him! But those don’t listen to him and go back to their regular rooster. But if they live together and roost together then they will listen to your rooster regardless of how big or small he is. I just reread that you have 6 females (thought you had 2 females). That should be good for now, as long as they don't start getting bare backs they should be good.
     
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  5. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

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    You said you have 4 roosters. What is your ratio? I have heard the 10 hens to 1 roo ratio, but I am just curious what works for you. I am seriously considering adding 3 more pullets, which would be 9 girls for 2 boys.

    Thanks again for your input. I really appreciate it!.
     
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  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Hard to say if he can woo them or not....sounds pretty good so far.
    Not sure about Sebrights, if they might mature sooner or later than LF cockerels, or if his size will inhibit his ability to 'rule'...size may indeed increase his risk of injury if he's not careful. He's pretty young yet, IME 5-6 months is when my LF cockerels have been accepted by the adult hens....much depends on demeanor and technique tho.

    What do you mean by 'seriously'? Chances are even if they let him mount, I doubt he can' reach' to inseminate successfully.


    As far as ratios:
    The 'rooster' to hen ratio of 1:10 that is often cited is primarily for fertility efficiency in commercial breeding facilities.
    It doesn't mean that if a cockbird has 10 hens that he won't abuse or over mate them.
    Many breeders keep pairs, trios, quads, etc
    It all depends on the temperaments of the cock and hens and sometimes housing provided.
    Backyard flocks can achieve good fertility with a larger ratio.
     
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  7. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

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    Great info. Luckily for me, I am not even remotely interested in fertility. I am more worried about fighting and over mating. I only have one bantam pullet. I certainly don't want her to get hurt.

    My Sebright seems to be able to hold his own so far. He isn't too intimidated (except for the Brahma who had recently become somewhat of a bully).

    And seriously means I could go pick some up at any time. I would rather wait until next year, if possible. From what you say, I can wait. Good deal!
     
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  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Still don't get it<scracheshead>
     
  9. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

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    OMG - I was answering the wrong question. I meant take him as a "leader." It'd be great if he could settle squabbles between the hens. They still aren't very nice to Bryony. Even the chicks give her grief. She isn't losing weight and hasn't been injured at all. But she is so neurotic. Everything sets her off...
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Oh, he's way to young to break up fights.
    Having a picked on hen is a whole other issue.
     
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