Having a rooster among your hens can be a challenge. They can be territorial, loud, and downright aggressive. However, sometimes the positives of raising roosters along with your hens can outweigh the negatives. Because roosters are territorial, they are great protectors. Their presence among hens can lead to better egg production, and of course, natural reproduction. But, what about two roosters? Or three? Can two roosters live together?
Two or more roosters can live together peacefully. By planning ahead with the hen to rooster ratios, space, and a solid integration plan, you can successfully have two or more roosters living together in your flock. If you do all of these steps correctly, roosters will naturally develop a hierarchy or a “pecking order”. This pecking order will keep the peace between not only your roosters but your entire flock.
The typical saying is 10 or 12 hens to each rooster in a flock. Roosters tend to have favorite hens that they feel are ‘theirs’. Too few hens, and you will find yourself with roosters fighting with each other over territory. Along with this, not enough hens will lead to your existing hens being mounted too often. This results in loss of feathers from their neck and tail, along with broken feathers, and possibly more severe injuries. When the hen to rooster ratio is correct, roosters will decide who is “their hen,” and you will see smaller groups within your overall flock. This grouping is healthy and keeps your roosters from becoming aggressive.
There will always be petty squabbles between roosters when many are in the same flock, but that’s okay. However, to keep these skirmishes from turning into all-out flights, you need double or triple the minimum space per bird when you have multiple roosters. Typically, the rule is three sq ft of coop space per hen and ten sq ft of outside run. With multiple roosters, you may be looking at six sq ft in and 20 sq ft out. Roosters, just like with mating, are territorial. Giving your multiple roosters plenty of space will keep territorial fighting to a minimum.
If you don’t have a good ratio or the extra space, you can keep multiple roosters together with no hens. Two roosters can easily live together if there are no hens with them. Roosters that are raised together develop a “pecking order” that keeps the roosters’ peace and prosperity. It is important to keep all of your roosters together to maintain the “pecking order.” Roosters have a shorter memory than humans and may forget a roster if kept away for too long. This may result in the isolated rooster being seriously injured upon his return.
Make sure you have plenty of food for your roosters. If there is not enough food, you risk your bottom roosters breaking the order and trying to get food too early. This will result in fighting and injury.
It is ideal for adding a new rooster to your flock when a hen raises them. However, if you have purchased or acquired a new cockerel, it is imperative to introduce the rooster before they begin to crow and their wattles turn red. As said before, roosters have a pecking order, and a new cockerel will fit in better the younger they are. Follow these steps for integrating a new cockerel into your flock:
- Keep new birds isolated from your existing flock for a minimum of 2 weeks. Watch your birds closely for sickness as they become integrated with your property.
- Keep new birds in fencing, dog crates, or cages during the night. During the day, section off an area within the existing birds’ coop or run. Keep the birds separate but able to see each other.
- Introduce your new birds to the flock and carefully watch for any brutality during the first time. If you see the new bird being attacked, separate the birds and try again later. Make sure newcomers make it into the coop at night.
Some Roosters are naturally aggressive and will be no matter how much integration you try. If you have a rooster like this, it’s time to remove that rooster from your flock. Some breeds tend to produce more aggressive roosters. For example, game breeds, Rhode Island Reds, Easter Eggers, and Ameraucanas tend to have aggressive roosters.
- A rooster watches over the flock and keeps it safe. One of the most valuable things a rooster can do is sound the alarm when he notices a predator or other threats.
- New chicks. If you have a favorite hen that is a great producer, you can hatch some of her chicks with a rooster in the flock. You may end up with many favorite hens.
- Pecking Order Peace. While keeping more than one rooster in a flock may have the potential for some severe fights, overall, the pecking order will keep more peace.
The most important part of raising a friendly rooster is to socialize him. Do this by handling him, holding him and feeding him by hand. If your rooster shows aggressive behavior such as nipping, capture him and hold him until he is calm and submissive. Carry your roster around while you attend chores in a firm manner without hurting him. He may dislike this at first, but once your rooster realizes he is not in danger, he will calm and you will have placed yourself as the dominant of the two. If a rooster becomes too aggressive, remove him from the flock for a short amount of time. Then, let him reintegrate into the flock as if he was a new rooster. Do not kick or stomp at your roosters. This will only increase their aggression more.
Remember, even when it comes to breed, friendliness still depends on the individual rooster. However, some breeds are notorious for friendlier birds, such as;
Salmon Faverolles – Known for being naturally sweet and calm.
Wyandottes – Protective but kind to those it knows.
Orpingtons – Friendly and docile personalities.
Cochins – Mellow, sweet, and adorably fluffy.
Brahmas – Intimidating only by looks and generally non-aggressive.
With thought and planning, it is absolutely possible to have two roosters live together in your flock. Roosters can be moody, territorial creatures, but they can also be sweet and kind birds who will add great value to your flock. Consider the planning that goes into having multiple roosters before purchasing or acquiring them. But, if you feel ready, jump in and enjoy the benefits of having multiple roos!