Which rooster to cull?

sillygrilla

Chirping
Feb 23, 2014
34
8
92
Hi all. I started my current flock in August 2019, and had the second generation hatch in May, so they are just about 6 months old now. There are 27 chickies in my flock now. I've had to get rid of all of my 1st generation roosters because they all turned mean. There are 5 boys in the 2nd generation. One in particular, Billy, is a really sweet boy who seems to be at the bottom of the pecking order. I've been opening up the coop in the morning to find him cowering behind the trash can I keep the food in, scared to come out. When I toss out a handful of treats for the flock, if other chickens get close to it, Billy will stop running toward it and just let everyone else eat it all. Today it was pouring rain, and Billy refused to go into the shelter of the barn with the other chickens, and just stood outside soaking wet, looking longingly into the barn, but wouldn't come in, even when I tempted him with treats. One of the other boys, Big Boy, is a little aggressive toward the other boys, although he seems to be quite the gentleman for the girls - calls them for food, dances for them before he mates, etc. I'm sure he is bullying Billy and another one of the boys (who sometimes has bruises on his comb). 5 roosters for 22 hens is excessive, so I'm going to cull 2 of them once they get a little more meat on them. Since Big Boy and Billy do NOT get along, and I don't want to build a second coop, I have to decide which one of them to keep. My friend told me I should just put Billy out of his misery, because he'll just continue to be bullied. But he is the type of gentle rooster I would like to have in my flock, but I am also concerned that if I cull Big Boy, one or more of the other boys might continue to bully Billy.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom about the best way to go? I don't have a lot of experience with keeping more than 2 roosters together, or the pecking order effects of eliminating a top-ranking rooster. In the past I just kept building more coops and giving each rooster his own flock!!
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
May 3, 2009
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New Jersey
A dominant rooster is evidencing his true character. With a subordinated rooster you can never be quite sure. Sometimes once the dominant rooster is removed they turn into holy terrors. I would eliminate any that are showing the slightest bit of human aggression given their heritage.
 

sillygrilla

Chirping
Feb 23, 2014
34
8
92
A dominant rooster is evidencing his true character. With a subordinated rooster you can never be quite sure. Sometimes once the dominant rooster is removed they turn into holy terrors. I would eliminate any that are showing the slightest bit of human aggression given their heritage.
Thanks for bringing up their heritage as something to consider. Both of these boys are offspring of an Easter Egger roo who I had to butcher because he started attacking people.
 

sillygrilla

Chirping
Feb 23, 2014
34
8
92
Roosters are a crap shoot. And as you cull, you will change the dynamics of what is left. I would cull two I didn't like for what ever reason, leaving 3, wait a week or so, then cull the third one. But there really is no fool proof way, and even doing everything right, you can wind up with a rotten rooster.

Mrs K
Good idea. Thanks!
 
Jul 21, 2020
31
105
69
I agree with Mrs. K. And that is what we did. We had 6 roosters and needed to get down to 1. There were some obvious nos that we started with. And then let some time pass to see how flock dynamics changed. Especially if you cull a really dominant rooster you will want to see how the remaining boys behave. And a very submissive rooster may get bullied by hens and struggle with breeding even if he is the only one left.

I stressed a lot about picking the right one, given we needed to get down to one. It helped a lot reading other posts on here on what people do, how they decide and flock dynamics when they have more than one rooster.
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
4,084
6,867
406
USA
Since Big Boy and Billy do NOT get along, and I don't want to build a second coop, I have to decide which one of them to keep. My friend told me I should just put Billy out of his misery, because he'll just continue to be bullied. But he is the type of gentle rooster I would like to have in my flock, but I am also concerned that if I cull Big Boy, one or more of the other boys might continue to bully Billy.
I would cull the timid one first, then think a while longer about the others.

From the way you have described his behavior, I think you're right to worry that the timid one might continue to have trouble, even if you did cull the current dominant cockerel.

Another thing to maybe help sort it out--check them all over for physical issues. Things like cross beak can get worse as the chicken gets older, but should be at least a bit visible by this age if you're looking for it.
 
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Cee

Songster
Nov 3, 2017
147
99
123
Albuquerque, NM
I'm in a similar situation. I have 4 six month old cockerels. The top of the pecking order is Mr Fussy Pants and he is very domineering, jumps the girls, gobbles the food first, just not very nice. The 2 in the middle are similar. The one on the bottom never crowed, never jumped the girls and was a little picked on. He is a tad smaller than the others.
Done a lot of reading here and I've gathered personalitys can change for young cockerels. Waiting 9 months to a year can be a good idea unless they are people agressive and or hurting the pullets/hens.
I have another small flock of 3 hens. I put my timid cockerel in with them and wow. Calling the girls over for food, getting in the nestbox and fluffing things up while clucking about what a nice place to lay an egg this is, last one in at night after one final patrol. He does herd them and jumps on them a little over enthusiastically but nobody's been hurt. I think he's a keeper.
Mr. Fussy Pants does have his adoring pullet fans. I'm content to keep watching at this point. I've read a lot of them settle down after the testosterone tsunami passes.
 

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