Rooster Fight - Learning the hard way.

Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)December 9, 2005

We culled all but one of our cockerels a few days ago. We intended that one to replace our rooster Napoleon in due course. This morning when Brian let the chickens out, he found the cockerel battered and bloody on the coop floor. We are not certain what happened, but speculate he tried to jump a hen and Napoleon took exception to this. This is the first sign of real conflict we have seen.

Brian removed the cockerel to a safe cage and called me. The cockerel was a very sorry sight, bleeding from his comb and several other places, dazed and soaked with blood. I decided that he needed to be put down.

I am posting this mainly to bring this issue to the attention of other backyard poultry raisers. I think that by culling the other three cockerels we unknowingly put the remaining one at risk. This is the first time we have tried to keep a cockerel with the flock once he is sexually mature.

Napoleon is a great flock rooster but he had an accident a few months ago that left him blind in one eye and temporarily demoralized. He has been doing better lately but I suppose if we wanted to replace him we should have culled him with the cockerels and left his son to carry on. Turns out there is more fire in the old boy than I thought.

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amiz5904(z8 NC)

Maggie,
How odd that you posted this today. I am so upset right now due to similar circumstances. My little bantam rooster, on his first day out of the coop got the holy h**l beat out of him and now I'm kicking myself for not getting rid of the other roosters like I had planned.

He's not bloody but he's extremely weak and I don't know if he's going to make it. I'm sorry about your rooster. I hope Napoleon can still fertilize a few eggs for you so his legacy can continue.

Audrey

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 5:28PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Audrey - It's the time of year when we can expect these problems, I guess. The cockerels are maturing and harassing the hens and all the birds are spending more time in the coop because of the weather.

I hope your banty rooster makes it. If he does and you get rid of the other roos before reintroducing him to the flock, chances are that he will recover his confidence in time. Banties are fiesty birds.

Yes, I hope Napoleon is still fertile. But if not, I can buy some day-old chicks or hatching eggs for the girls to raise.Or put them to work hatching goslings maybe. I may try another breed. The Sussex are rather scappy and noisy. Maybe Buff Orps would be more mellow.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 6:48PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Hi Ladies,

sorry to hear of your poor roosters, I'm sure the time of year must add to these situations. There is such a short window of daylight at this time of year, I know I've been cranky too.

I do not have a roo but noticed yesterday one of my Rhode Island Reds mounting my SLW. If it weren't 20 degrees out I probably would have run outside and yelled at her.

Maggie, I do enjoy my buff orps, they are very gentle and easy to handle, they are very poofy with all those feathers too :)

-Sheila

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 8:33PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Thanks, Sheila, for the kind words and the good report of Buff Orps. I like the big, old-fashioned English dual-purpose breeds. Now it is cold all my hens look about twice their normal size with their feathers all puffed out. I think I will give the Buff Orps a try in the spring.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 9:07PM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

how the heck do i get rid of roosters?same thing hasnt happened to me cause i feel like i have a hen for every rooster! actually, it did, they decided they didnt like the polish topknot-had to remove him. in my flock of about 60, i have a black giant, a white giant, a buff rock, and a araucana.in bantams, i have 3 light brahamas, 1 buff cochin, 1 partridge cochin, 1 black cochin, 1 red, 3 barred and 1 blue cochin! this is besides the polish i'm keeping, 2 silkie roosters 1 millie fluer, and a porcelain!!!
i've advertised in papers, on free-cycle, radio-AND--i cant eat them! methinks maybe i shouldnt have gotten chickens in my old age. oh--and i ordered pullets (course bantams are straight run).

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 8:32AM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Ceresone, this is a perennial problem for many people. We eat our surplus cockerels and our old hens. To some this sounds heartless, but the way I see it is that they have had a good life, long or short, and if I am eating them I am not supporting the battery chicken industry. If you have 60 birds, they can not ALL be pets. If you can't do the deed yourself, there are places where they will process them for you. I know this idea is distasteful to you, but sooner or later you will have to face it. It is very hard to find homes for extra roos.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 9:33AM
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clairegrace(z5OH)

I have 4 adult roosters and at least 2 young roosters together right now. I think the more you have the less aggressive the top guy shows to an individual because he spreads it out on everyone.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 9:39AM
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amiz5904(z8 NC)

You're not kidding. Finding homes for roosters is nearly impossible. What I've finally resorted to is sending them to live on a 40 acre farm where they free-range and possibly become part of the food chain. Although I am on the verge (very slowly) of learning how to butcher them myself.

BTW I'm happy to report that my little bantie roo was crowing his little heart out this morning!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 9:41AM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Maggie, I really do admire you for your practices. I think you have struck a very good balance of your emotions for practicalities sake and self sufficiency.

I wish I could do the same but maybe I just don't have enough chickens so I treat them all as pets? not sure, maybe I'm just too much of a suburbanite. I think I romanticize farm life, deep down I'm not sure I have what it takes but I certainly admire those like yourself that do :)

Sheila

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 9:57AM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

yes, I too, admire those who can butcher their excess--and you know,? I used to be one of them. my daughter, SIL and I could butcher and freeze 50 a day.and, i've lived on a farm all my life, untill the last few years, we raised and processed our own meat, all of it.
but--i dont know what happened, as i got old, my heart got soft! lol
I just cant anymore, plus, these particular chicks were in the house their first 3 weeks! and no, they arent all pets, i'd even let pullets go with the roosters-not many, but a few.
Maggie, sorry for hijacking your thread. The polish roo and hen i had to seperate for picking their top knots off, are slowly regaining feathers. guess mine arent fighting bad is because there's so many.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 11:17AM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Audrey - So glad to hear your bantie rooster is okay and on his way to recovery. Plucky little fellow! Hope you solve the problem of the other roos so he can rejoin the flock when he is well. Maybe you can find someone who has experience to help you out the first time or two. It's not as bad as you may imagine and if done well the chicken does not have time to be frightened or feel more than fleeting pain.

Sheila - If you have only a small flock of hens, the only culling you will be forced to do will be for illness or injury. And we have those issues to face for any pet. It's those pesky oversexed cockerels who cause the problems. The downside of having a roo and raising chicks.

Clairegrace - You are absolutely right about there being less fighting when there are several roos than just two. My reason for posting was mainly to draw attention to just that point so other people won't make the same mistake I did.

Ceresone - I think I understand how you feel. I used to hunt in my youth but at 55 there is no way I would want to unless I were in a survival situation. One's perspective changes as one ages and nothing wrong with that. But you do have a problem with so many cockerels and eating them is the most practical solution. Sorry I don't have a better suggestion.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 2:30PM
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bruglover(Gulf States)

ceresone -

You may be able to sell your extra roos to someone else to eat. I don't think you'll get a bunch of money for them, but it'd be a few dollars, and solve your rooster overpopulation problem, and they won't go to waste.

Sell them live. It's been my exp. that Asian and Hispanic folks like to buy live birds for the table.

Plus, since you have purebred birds, why not advertise them? Somebody in the area might want "fresh blood" for their own flock, or their own roo died and they need a replacement. You never know.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 12:26AM
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lockland(Montana)

I do not agree with the fact that more roosters keep the fighting down. I had 2 Black Australorp roosters and 3 white crested black polish and one of the black australorp and 2 of the polish ganged up on my favorite polish and almost killed him. Luckily my husband was there and needless to say we have one black australorp and one very lucky polish.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 8:32PM
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lockland(Montana)

I do not agree with the fact that more roosters keep the fighting down. I had 2 Black Australorp roosters and 3 white crested black polish and one of the black australorp and 2 of the polish ganged up on my favorite polish and almost killed him. Luckily my husband was there and needless to say we have one black australorp and one very lucky polish.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 10:30PM
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