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Can You Keep Roosters Together?


 



fighting roostersAs a chicken farmer, the need to keep roosters can be overwhelming. We’ve already mentioned how roosters aren’t necessary in many cases as their primary function is simply to help with breeding, but if you do find yourself needing to do some breeding, you’ll have to figure out how many males to include and how to deal with them when you do. There will certainly be some calculating to do, but here’s what you need to know about keeping roosters together.

A lot of what you’ll find is that roosters vary by breed. Some breeds are more inclined to have really laid-back males, happy to strut around and just enjoy the area, whereas others will not tolerate a challenger and feel the need to peck and scratch like it’s Thunderdome. It’s good to try and pick a calmer breed if you have the option, unless you specifically intend to breed for show specifications or such.

If you are indeed hoping to breed your chickens, a good rule of thumb is to have one rooster for every six hens. Thus ensures that every egg is being fertilized, but it does make it tough the more numbers you add. Six or seven hens and you’ll only need one rooster, but ten hens means two roosters, and 20 hens pushes that number to four. Eventually you’re going to end up having quite a few cocks strutting about, and that’s when trouble could arise.

Most of the causes of cocks fighting is a result of either their natural temperaments (game-cocks and game birds in general are the most likely to fight) or their close proximity. Keeping so many chickens together will make them stressed, no matter the breed, so try and provide as much space as possible. A small run and a small coop only work if you’re working in very, very small numbers. Placing two roosters into a small run is ensuring that a fight breaks out sooner or later.

With the 1:6 ratio rule, part of this is to give every male a chance to have his own harem rather than feeling the need to swipe the others. Too few hens and the cocks may fight for dominance and females. Too many hens and the cocks could become stressed just trying to be in charge of so many at once, but still want to fight as they feel they have to. Finding that perfect balance is important for your entire flock’s health.

Eventually you may have to just built multiple areas on the farm for each rooster/hen neighborhood, so that the cocks are never in close proximity. The trouble here is the basic cost of such an undertaking, as well as the space requirements. However, this is the safest way to avert the worst cases, lest you be forced to resort to culling.

Keep an eye on your roosters when they’re strutting about. Sometimes they’re utterly harmless, but other days they’re looking for a fight. Do what you can to stop something unfortunate from happening and take some precautions before things get too out of hand.

 

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