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to many roosters?

 
Maddie Pulver
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hey i bought some chickens from D&B last year and two ended up being roosters and two are hens. the roosters dont seem to fight but they are both "mounting" one of the hens i cant get rid of one or both and i dont have anywhere els to put them. i also like to have both around for setimental reasons. will this cause any problems for the hen or am i ok to leave them alone?
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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it will cause a lot of problems for the hen, she may loose feathers and otherwise be very stressed out. can you get more hens? I don't have chickens yet but my undestanding is that the ratio of hens to roosters is about 10 to 1, if you can get 18 more hens that would be idea (it sounds like this isn't an option though.
 
Renate Howard
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Location: zone 6b
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Are they running around loose/free range? When you hatch them out you get them 1:1 male:female. As adolescents they are super hard on the hens if there aren't older roosters to "claim" then hens and drive off the younger ones. They do mellow a bit after some months and then life will get easier for the poor girls.

ETA: if they are penned together, that's really not fair to the hens, they can't get away from the two roosters. That would be very stressful for them.
 
Maddie Pulver
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my chickens are in and out every day. i let them out for at lest 4 hours a day. i also have 6 other hens that are a year older but the two flocks seem to try and fight through the chicken wire around their coop. should i try to let them together and see if i can put the hens in the same coop and the roosters in the other?
 
Rachel Wittenberg
Posts: 19
Location: Aguanga
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I would try to get the two flocks together. The roosters will be thankful and so will the one hen that is being constantly mounted. In the past when we have done this we put all of the hens together after they have "gone to bed" when it is completely dark out. That way they are docile during the evening and they all wake up together. They have to establish a new pecking order (hence the name) and will have a couple of days where one maybe get a little picked on. With minor supervision you shouldn't worry about anyone being extremely hurt or anything. Especially if they all have ample food available. They work themselves out and in under a week they will get along fine. You might see a couple of cliques but they will all definitely coexist.

At the permaculture forum we were told to put Vicks vapor rub on the back of their neck so they all smell the same and transition a little easier as well.

Good luck!!
 
Renate Howard
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Location: zone 6b
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Watch them very very closely when you try to combine the flocks - several friends have found dead hens when combining flocks! In some cases the older hens killed ALL the younger ones in a few days. The more space the better! I think the best way would be to let them free range all together and see how they do for a few weeks before shutting them in together. At least free-range the smaller ones can run and hide from the older ones, if they're shut together they may get cornered, and IMHO that's when they'll be killed.

I've noticed the "eggier" breeds - rhode island red, leghorns, etc. are the meanest.
 
Rachel Wittenberg
Posts: 19
Location: Aguanga
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Wow, that's intense about how hard it was to incorporate the chickens... I hVent experienced that but again, we've only had chickens for two years. We have intorduced three different groups together in the last two years. We are about to add 13 new chickens to our existing group of 9. The 9 are over a year and the new ones are about 3 months old. At this point they can see each other through a clear plastic panel but we haven't let them all together yet. I am. Going to do what we have done in the past and hope it works just as well. We have plenty of space for them and two coops for them to choose from. I will post on how it went if anything of interest happens!
 
joseph wittenberg
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Location: aguanga, california
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How old are your younger ones, i see you said last year, mainly wondering if they are full grown? The few times we have added new hens they were nearing comparable size. There was definitely some fighting when food was found and the new girls stayed out of the way of the established ones, but after a week or so everyone was okay. It was definitely hard to watch them fight a little bit (and I really saw where the term pecking order came from!) but after a while they all settled in. I would watch them closely when they are introduced and break up any really bad fighting that looks potentially deadly. It sounds like you have a lot of room for them to run and hide too if they are feeling too picked on. The first time we added hens there was no fighting at all and we did the sneak them in at night idea. The second time we did the same thing but there was a bit of fighting. This time, like mentioned above we are doing what Patricia Foreman suggested and letting them see each other through a fence for a while to try to get used to each other and then put the vicks on all of their necks at night so they all wake up thinking "hey we all the smell the same, we must be a flock". We're going to wait until the new ones are a bit older so that they can fend for themselves a little bit and i was going to try to just throw a lot of stuff for them to eat out in the paddock they will be in, hoping that they are too distracted with getting food to be too worried about fighting.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I don't think chickens have a sense of smell. I'm no expert but the friend who told me is a biologist who has worked at a bird sanctuary for many years.
 
joseph wittenberg
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Location: aguanga, california
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We had a hen who had an eye missing and the other was blind from a cataract, she found food all the time and i was curious if she had a sense of smell as it seems most hens just peck at things and go from there. Everything I could find said that they do have a sense of smell.

Quick search found this http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/17563.php that seems to be a study of the chicken genome. They came to the conclusion that chickens have a sense of smell. I did find it on the internet though so I'll take it with a grain of salt. I'd be really curious to see if anyone had some concrete evidence either way.
 
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