A bachelor flock is a term used to describe a flock of multiple male chickens (roosters) living together peacefully. Bachelor flocks are becoming increasingly popular across the United States, due to the large number of unwanted and homeless roosters.
The roosters do not need to have grown up together, nor be the same age, breed, or size. Each bachelor flock will form their own hierarchy, or "pecking order". There will be one head, "alpha" rooster who will be in charge of the other roosters. This rooster's job is to resolve conflicts between flock members and protect them. He will constantly be challenged by other roosters who desire that position.
Anytime there is a change in the dynamics of the flock, there is an increased risk of roosters fighting for his position. This may occur when:
A new rooster is introduced into the existing flock.
A flock member is sick or hurt and temporarily removed and then reintroduced into the flock.
The flock is split up temporarily, which may occur during the winter months, when relocating or moving birds, or other situation which requires them to be split up for even a couple of days.
Two of the biggest concerns with bachelor flocks are multiple roosters teaming up together to attack one bird, and/or the inability of a bird to escape from the others.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many roosters should be kept in a bachelor flock?
That depends on the size of the area they will live. Generally, each rooster should have a minimum of 24 square feet of outside space, regardless of their breed or size. It is important not to overcrowd. Keeping too many roosters together in a confined space will cause them too much stress and increase the risk of aggression, fighting, and serious injuries.
How can I reduce the risk of a rooster getting seriously inured?
Add visual barriers, hide spots, and extra perches. Ensure there are no places where birds can potentially get trapped, if chased.
How can I reduce the risk of the roosters lowest in the pecking order from not getting access to food or water?
Provide multiple sources of food and water. They should be set at different areas of the enclosure. This will minimize the risk of resource guarding behavior and help ensure all flock members are able to eat and drink.