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Any chance my 2 roos will co-habitate peacefully again? :(

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  • Any chance my 2 roos will co-habitate peacefully again? :(

    They're about 10 months old, and have been raised together since they were a week old.

    Robert started out the dominant one once they started figure out they were He chickens. But, fairly soon after that, Terry decided he was going to be Top Roo and Robert was ok with that.

    The worst that's ever happened is Terry chasing Robert around the yard for maybe 30 seconds every morning upon being let out of the coop, where they spend nights with 9 hens. Then that's that until the next morning's chase.

    Robert always has 3-5 girls with him, Terry the others, never a set group of hens with each. So, Robert hasn't been forced to lead a hen-less life.

    today however, I saw Robert chasing Terry around. And around, and around, I could see beaks open gasping for air. Then they'd stop (or Terry would get too tired and couldn't run, not sure) and do their air dance fighting, until Terry started off running again, with Robert right on his tail.

    By the time I could get close enough to remotely try to separate them, which really entailed ushering Robert into the coop, they both had blood faces/combs/waddles

    Nobody seems any worse for the wear - Robert has a few girls in the coop, Terry is still out, though will be spending the night probably by himself, or with 1-2 hens, in our small coop.

    Now that that's out of the way - is there ANY chance they will settle on this new dominance and be peaceful again? Or is this THE sign one has to go? It will be Terry who goes - he's the Naked Neck who, while cool to look at, is not NEARLY as attractive as Robert who is a Cochin cross and had magnificent black features with a big "king's robe" of white. So yeah, it comes down to looks for the boys this time, sorry

    I'll hate to see either go, as I'm sure having 2 roos keeps the girls safer. We have a young roo who was hatched here and had grown up from Day 1 with everyone, he was 12 weeks (3 calendar months, so maybe a week older) on 1/5, so isn't a threat (yet), so we'll just have to see what happens with him once he matures.
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

  • #2
    Unfortunately, it IS a sign that one has to be re-homed. And as soon as possible before more blood is drawn.

    Once roosters start fighting for dominance, they won't stop until one has "won", which means the loser will end up frightened, lonely, & debilitated, as eventually he won't even be able to eat in peace.

    The kindest thing to do would be to find a home for "Terry".


    • Original Poster

      Thanks - I was pretty sure that was going to be the case.

      There won't be any more blood drawn because they will alternate days out and will be in separate coops at night.

      I'm hoping I have a new home for Terry lined up already - just waiting to hear back, but it looks pretty good. He'll have a nice harem waiting for him
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


      • Original Poster

        So, it was Monday that this happened. We then separated the roos at night, 1 with 1-3 hens in a small coop, the other with the other hens in the big/main coop. The roo in the small coop went out during the day, and 1-3 hens stayed with the roo in the big coop for the day. At night, once they were settled, we'd swap roos, so they could alternate days out. Pita LOL

        Yesterday (Sunday) we got home from errands and I looked out the window and thought there were too many chickies out there, so I counted - we only have 12 total, and there were 11 there. Uhhhh... We left 2 in with the roo, so that meant, well, you can do the math too

        So we sort of run out there, half expecting to find a dead roo (and it would have been Robert, the favorite!). But no, we count all 12 meandering around in the back fenced yard. Behaving like nothing happened. Robert with some girls, Terry with some girls, girls swapping between boys.

        We watched them for a bit, and there was absolutely nothing suggesting they had fought again - no bloody heads, no paranoid behavior. I was working outside the rest of the day so I watched them.

        Every now and then Robert would wander too close to Terry, and on some of those occasions, Terry would chase him off, Robert would run a dozen yards or so, then they'd go about their separate ways. In other words - business as usual.

        I decided they still needed to stay in separate coops for the night, so we did that.

        This morning I cautiously let out everyone in the big coop (Terry's for the night), then after they ran squawking and honking, as per usual, I let Robert and his 2 girls, and they all ran after the first bunch.

        Business. As. Usual. Terry chases Robert once or twice, Robert says "ok dude, whatever", then just...nothing. Both still have hen groupies with them, though the girls are quite fickle and swap boys regularly through the day LOL

        So what the heck?
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • #5
          Hey - that's WONDERFUL news!!!! Maybe they truly are working out "territories", which would really be great. With any luck your two guys aren't mafia-boss types & will be able to co-exist. I was never that lucky with mine. Will definitely keep my fingers crossed for your group.


          • Original Poster

            I've been checking on them frequently during the day since I know things could get very ugly quickly. It's as if nothing ever happened!

            Last night before I separated them into 2 coops, they had put themselves to bed as normal as well - each roo on separate ends of the perching ledge, each with some girls. I can't decide if I want to leave them that way tonight, or make one more night of separation. But really, it does seem like Robert is OVER his short-lived attempt to be top bird and that's that. Huh.
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            • #7
              I'd think they'd be ok so long as you let them out early enough in the morning so they don't have time to get feisty inside the coop.


              • #8
                Sounds like they're just establishing dominance. I have three roos in my big coop - 2 grew up together and I added the third when I combined coops. They did the same thing until the pecking order was established. Once it is they will likely scuffle a little bit now and again but should be fine for the most part. I mostly just let them work it out but did separate them if it got too crazy. It looks pretty brutal but it's just what they do. There are exceptions to this and some can't be housed together but what you have described doesn't sound out of the ordinary at this point.

                IMO if you can keep both it would be ideal. It's ultimately better to have multiple roos in a pen in my experiences. For whatever reason they tend to be less aggressive toward humans when they're housed together. If I remember right I think back in the day farmers used to like 3 to a pen to keep the peace. It has certainly been the case with mine. One of mine was very aggressive and about to make his way to the soup pot but since moving into the big coop with the other two I've had no issues.


                • Original Poster

                  We also have a young roo who we'd like to keep, he's a cute guy, and he's been raised from Day 1, literally, with the rest of the flock. He's about 3 1/2 months now.

                  That's really interesting your aggressive one knocked it off once he moved in with the other boys.

                  They do get let out fairly early during the week since we're up for work, etc, so that gives us this full week to see how this all goes before it's a later morning on Saturday LOL
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                  • #10
                    Anytime we've had roos that have started fighting, we end up killing and eating them before they kill each other. Experience has been that roos end up too aggressive to be worth keeping around. (unless you want chickies, then you need them for obvious reasons)


                    • #11
                      Cock fighting became a sport because the bettors are just taking advantage of the roos natural behavior.

                      In other words - they fight to the death - or until one is so beat up he just slinks away and waits to die. It's not pretty.

                      There are exceptions, to be sure. But generally that's the way it is.

                      Nature - red in tooth and claw.

                      Good luck.
                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                      -Rudyard Kipling


                      • #12
                        I have found it depends on the breed, some breeds are naturally more aggressive than others and some are naturally more domestic. It also depends on the area they have to live in.


                        • Original Poster

                          They're area is 10 acres

                          Still acting as if nothing ever happened

                          Terry is a Naked Neck whose actual breeding I don't really know, though he does have feathered feet. Robert is a Cochin cross (not sure of the other 1/2).
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                          • #14
                            I have 4 roos that live together with 35 +/- hens. One is the dominant roo and will chase the others off if they're mounting hens in his presence, but otherwise..they seem to tolerate each other well. I think where you get into trouble is if you have roos that WON"T acccept another roo's dominance.
                            "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville