Young Cockrels Fighting

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by groverlvchx, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. groverlvchx

    groverlvchx Chirping

    Oct 14, 2012
    My chickens are just a barnyard mix and were hatched August first. I have 15 and can't tell by looking at them what gender they are. Last night two puffed up their necks and fought each other for about five minutes! What should I do? Cull and kill right away? I want to keep one nice rooster. Now that they're all calm I can't tell who it was that was fighting last night. They're still pretty small to eat. I'm trying to build a self-sustaining dual purpose flock.
    Thank you for any input and help you have for me [​IMG]
    Grover (newbie to being a chicken farmer but loving it immensely)
  2. DTchickens

    DTchickens Crowing

    Mar 23, 2008
    Bailey, Mississippi.
    Grover, in my opinion: Just let them do what they do. If they fight, let 'em unless it progresses too seriously (I'm not talking about time, I'm talking about damage or expected amount of damage). All chickens will fight, it doesn't matter if they are hens, pullets, cockerels, or cocks. I've even had chicks that were only a few weeks or even a few days old fight for a short time. It is normal for chickens, there is a pecking order and their way to settle it is by fighting. If you interrupt it, then it will only prolong the situation as there will still be a need to "Settle it" unless you separate them.

    Given as they are not a game breed, you should have no problem with them causing each other serious harm typically speaking especially at a young age. If they are games I'd say it's about time to separate them this time of year, but since they are not leave them be. I have I'd guess, at least 15 cockerels on the ground right now free ranging of various breeds along with even two full grown Rhode Island Red and occasionally a splash easter egger rooster that comes over to visit now of my aunts. Many of the games have already been penned, but the Kraienköppe and Buff Leghorns (and some extra games) all still free range with the occasional squabble which they normally settle themselves in about 30secs-2/3 minutes though I have seen them go longer.. It's just a process of the pecking order which may change as they age.

    God bless,
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  3. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    Yep, doesn't mean they're boys. Girls do the same thing as chicks with the flared feathers and chest bumping.
  4. groverlvchx

    groverlvchx Chirping

    Oct 14, 2012
    Thank you both [​IMG]
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana

    I very much agree with this. It sounds like yours may have lots of room based on that self-sustaining comment. As long as they have room, that is how self-sustaining flocks have been managed for thousands of years.

    My flock is basically a barnyard mix with lots of room. I don't even think about eating them until they are about 16 weeks and I really prefer to go a bit longer.

    I hatched 16 on June 20 this summer, 11 roosters and 5 pullets. They've been running with the main flock which has an old rooster and a broody hen with younger chicks since they were 8 weeks old. I have four of them in the freezer and will process another six later this week when it warms up. Having that many young roosters running with the flock has not been any problems whatsoever. It's the way chickens have been managed for thousands of years.
  6. groverlvchx

    groverlvchx Chirping

    Oct 14, 2012
    Thank you--I'm looking forward to my first "culling" with trepidition and enthusiasm, because if I can't handle that part, this whole project is a bust. I refuse to keep chickens as pets on our current budget. I'm not naming them, either. But I sure find watching their little community interact quite entertaining and soothing. [​IMG]
    My plan is this to cull our first roosters at 4-5 months (January/February--hopefully we'll get a thaw here in MN) and getting a batch of straight run heavies in the spring (March). We'll have to cull those roos in August. If my ratio is right, I'm hoping to be having hens go broody and raise their own after that. Sound good? [​IMG]

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