Somehow I ended up with three roosters. There is one too many according to the hens, but I can’t decide which one should go.
In the meantime, I get to watch rooster politics in action. This is rather complicated.
The oldest rooster is three years old. He is mature, big and solid. He rules the flock and terrorizes the other roosters.
The middle rooster is two years old. He is getting his mature size. He tries hard to get the hens to like him, but they don’t seem to trust him.
The youngest rooster is a year old. All he seems to think about is chasing the hens. Any time he sees a hen by herself, he races off after her.
The hens know this young rooster is after them. They are not happy about it. They play rooster politics to keep the young upstart at bay.
When the young rooster races off after a hen, she starts giving alarm calls and streaks across the yard toward either of the other roosters. The other roosters head for her to intercept the young rooster.
The middle and young rooster often end up with neck feathers flared and bodies low to the ground. A couple of sparring bouts later, the young rooster leaves. The hen meanwhile has gone back to bug hunting.
When the young rooster is really on the prowl, the cluster of hens by the old rooster gets large. He stands proudly in the center of what he seems to assume are his admiring wives.
In fact, the hens are mostly ignoring him as they busily look for edibles in the area. They are there only because it keeps the young rooster away.
The middle rooster announces he has found some delicacy to lure some hens away from the old rooster. The hens are reluctant to go over because, although he is no longer acting like the young rooster, he still likes to put on displays and mount hens near him.
The young rooster meanwhile is sneaking up on the group of hens by circling around them. One squawks and the chase is on.
The old rooster races off after the young rooster. The hens go back to bug hunting. The old rooster returns a short time later to take up his position once again.
Rooster politics seems to be a compromise affair. Each rooster has a place in the hierarchy. Each spars with the others seeking to improve his placing.
In the end, each rooster knows how he fits into the social network. The hens do much the same among themselves.