Rooster Behavior In Baby Chicks

“I have been “chickenless” for many years but in May I bought 4 Silkies after about a year of planning. My fear is that 3 of them are roosters. My first question is can roosters be kept together? These were to really just to be pets and get a few small eggs as a bonus.

These little guys/girls are 26 days old, but appear to be exhibiting rooster behavior, e.g.; they jump up in the air and challenge each other when I have them out of their brooder box during the warm Riverside California days. Is this just my imagination, or can 1 month old chicks display “rooster behavior”?” ~ Allen Pennington

Hi Allen,

Thanks for writing in.

You are not imagining things, roosters may start exhibiting rooster behavior at only a few weeks of age.

I’ve heard of a rooster trying to crow at only 2 weeks.

I think it depends on the individual rooster more than anything. One of them is probably setting the example for the others.

Roosters can be kept together as long as they are raised together from the very start.

Chances are there will come a point when they will challenge each other to determine who is in charge though. In fact, it may be a process rather than one full blown battle.

Usually though, they work it out and accept their place in the pecking order with occasional challenges just to make sure they can’t slide into the top spot.

My real concern about your situation has to do with the rooster to hen ratio.

If indeed you have 3 roosters and one hen, she is not going to be able to handle all the “attention” they will give her and will spend most of her day running from the roosters to escape all of their affections.

My thoughts are that one rooster to six hens is a pretty good ratio for high fertility. A young rooster can handle 15 or more hens though.

If your roosters are “frustrated” by the lack of affection they receive from the hen, chances are they will turn that frustration into aggression amongst each other.
 
Have you ever seen a little boy forced to stay indoors on a rainy day? His body is telling him to get outside and run around, to jump off things and build things and then knock them down.

To deny him the ability to burn up all his “boy energy” seems torturous to him. Chances are, he’s in the house causing trouble.

Bored roosters cause a lot of trouble too. They will not only fight with each other but they tend to get really destructive and mischievous.

So Allen, you’ll need to take steps to keep those guys busy. You may need to keep your hen separate from the roosters when they get a little older and allow the roosters to “visit” her one at a time.

I hope this has been helpful, best of luck to you.