Will my young roosters stop being aggressive to my hens when they get older?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Htathegamer, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. Htathegamer

    Htathegamer Hatching

    4
    2
    9
    Nov 13, 2018
    Ok so I have 17 hens and about 5 roosters, 4 of the roosters and 5 of the hens are almost 5 months old and have grew up together, the other rooster is about 14 months old and he is a game rooster. Six of the hens are 7 months old and the other 6 are over 2 years old. So when I first introduced the young roosters and hens when they were about 4 months old and all the older hens used to pick on them but now since the roosters are older and bigger they are higher in the pecking order than the hens, there are 2 hens that are 2 years old that are very scared of the young roosters and run away from them which causes the roosters to chase them down and forcefully mate with them those 2 hens are very frightened and dont go near the roosters much, but when the roosters mate with the other hens the hens dont run, they just let the 1 rooster mate with them and then calmly get up and leave, but with the other 2 almost all the roosters will mate with them in one sitting and I think this is because they run away. But my older game rooster doesn't do that with any of the hens even if they run.(Keep in mind that the game rooster is still the dominant rooster but is nice to the other roosters) I think the roosters do this because they have just reached maturity and will learn to calm down and not over mate and abuse the hens. Will they stay like this or will they grow out of it and/or will the 2 hens learn to cope with it and not be scared???
     
    ValerieJ likes this.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

    27,331
    13,437
    767
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Some may grow out of it but that will be too late.
    You have one rooster and 4 cockerels. That is too many for 17 hens IMO. Some of the favorite pullets and hens will be overbred.
     
    ValerieJ likes this.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    6,780
    5,698
    476
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I too agree with ChickenCanoe - too many roosters. A single rooster can generally manage 17 head of hens.

    Your problems may just be beginning. I think as the young roosters become more active, they are very apt to start fighting with each other, and the continued harassment of your hens causes quite a bit of stress in the flock, that you might not be completely aware of.

    I would suggest, separating the young roosters into a bachelor pad and see how the hen flock reacts. I am imagining, that there will be a noticeable relaxation in the flock. You will enjoy the flock more, and will get more eggs.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

    27,331
    13,437
    767
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    :goodpost:

    All true.

    In some cases the cockerels fight so much that they prevent any mating at all and one ends up with infertile eggs. I've also seen gang rapes where one cockerel after another climbs on a pullet preventing her from moving.
     
    ValerieJ likes this.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    23,238
    9,626
    667
    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    If you have enough room it's possible things could calm down when they mature. By enough room I mean the roosters (when they mature) can get totally out of sight of each other so they avoid conflict. Some people manage with less room but it's harder.

    Why do you want all those males? What are your goals with them? The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs. Everything else is personal preference. Personal preference can be a strong motivator. I suggest you keep as few males as you can and still meet our goals. That's not because you are guaranteed problems with more males, just that problems are more likely.

    Right now you do not have a flock of hens and roosters, you have a mix of a rooster, a few hens, and several chicks at various levels of maturity. In many ways that describes my flock. I typically have one mature rooster, several hens, and maybe 40 chicks (cockerels and pullets) of various ages growing to butcher size. I butcher my cockerels by the time they are 6 months old, usually just keeping one if I'm replacing my mature rooster. The rest are in the freezer. Some years it gets so wild down there that I isolate most of the cockerels in a "grow-out" pen to keep then away from the rest of the hens and pullets. Most years it doesn't get that wild down there but I remain flexible and do what I feel I need to do.

    Some hens will squat for practically anything in spurs, but mature hens often are more discerning. They want the father of their potential children to be worthy. Most cockerels can't pass that test, so they try to run away once the cockerels get too big to beat up. There is another aspect. The mating act is not just about sex, it's also about dominance. The one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. The boys' hormones are saying dominate, the hens are saying you are not worthy, and it gets really rough. You are probably right, those two are getting more attention because they refuse to be dominated. I'm surprised your rooster isn't breaking that up. In my flock, when cockerels start chasing hens , the hen runs to the dominant rooster who takes care of the boys.

    I don't know what your goals are or how much room you have, coops or land, runs or free range. Some of the options I see are:

    1. Let it go and see what happens. They may work it out without any getting hurt and eventually be pretty peaceful. It is probably going to get really rough with the possibility of injury or death. It can be hard on you to watch. It may never get peaceful. You may need more coops or other facilities to help keep them apart.

    2. Create a bachelor pad. Isolate the cockerels (all or most) in a separate pen where they can't get to the girls. Bachelor pads are usually pretty peaceful with no girls to harass or fight over.

    3. Get rid of all or most of the males. Keep only the ones you need for your goals. How you get rid of them is up to you. The more you get rid of the less severe your problems will probably be.

    There are variations on those but I think it is the three basic options. Good luck whatever you decide.
     
  6. Julesstarohio56

    Julesstarohio56 Chirping

    52
    134
    77
    Apr 4, 2019
    North Central Ohio
    How do you go about separating the cockerels? Mine free range during the day and catching them is tricky. I have 4 and am keeping the Brahma, culling the SLW (little randy things at 19 weeks). I have ten pullets, same age/mixed flock, and the poor things are being chased and held down, fought over. On the plus side, I got my first egg yesterday!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    23,238
    9,626
    667
    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Take them off the roost at night.
     
    aart and ChickenCanoe like this.
  8. Julesstarohio56

    Julesstarohio56 Chirping

    52
    134
    77
    Apr 4, 2019
    North Central Ohio
    I should have mentioned I have someone coming to get them tonight! That tidbit of info is crucial. I’d like to separate them into the run because I won’t be home when the guy gets here. I’ll think of something. Lol thanks!
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

    27,331
    13,437
    767
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Pull them off the roost and put them in a cage or depending on how long it will be, you can put them in a box with a bunch of large air holes. That way all he has to do is pick up the box and go.
    Herding chickens is for the birds.
     
    aart and AmyJane725 like this.
  10. awizkey

    awizkey Chirping

    82
    60
    91
    Apr 22, 2017
    Northeastern Ohio
    The first time I got chics I ended up getting 2 roosters. That left 6 hens. They constantly mated to the point my girls wouldn't lay. I got rid of one, and wallah! Peace. I currently have 1 roo and 18 hens. I read you could keep a second roo, but they need more space, and at least 9-10 hens per roo to avoid conflicts. That being said, males clash and sometimes it could get ugly. It could stay ugly. I would def get rid of most of the males.
     
    ChickenCanoe likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: