When an Alpha Male ages, he'll eventually be replaced. This can happen through battle or just by tiring of his duties. When the Alpha is replaced by a younger male, the heirarchy will be reconfigured. Once the Alpha yields, he will be challenged by every other flock member and can end up low man in the coop. This does not necessarily mean physical confrontations. When the Alpha decides to submit, he's been beaten psychologically and seems so devastated that he's unwilling to contest any of the birds for anything and will avoid confrontation at all costs. If the Alpha is replaced because he's injured or sick, when recovered, he will reclaim his Alpha position.
My 10 year old rooster died last May 1st, exactly 10 years to the day he was born. He always defended himself throughout his life to be the top dog that he deserved. When he was 9 he took on another rooster that had grown into manhood. I didn't know they were sparring out in the cold rain until hours later. My poor old rooster got beat by the younger boy. After that he just kind of gave up and let the younger roosters step ahead of him in ranking. He started to become slower and depressed, but still had his pride knowing he was the king at one time. The last days he sat mostly, ate a little, and stopped the proud crow I had heard for a decade. I held him in my arms and told him it was ok to go. I left him in a peaceful spot where he wouldn't be disturbed and he died within an hour. He made my life a joy. He's buried in a special spot under our prettiest tree.
greg mosser wrote:yeah, that’s the issue with separating out one of them, they’re a social creature and whoever’s alone will be suffering to some degree. he’ll be fine for the night, but i dunno how long-term a solution it is. how many hens, did you say? might it be possible to separate runner with a lady or two?