BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying › A older hen is being victimized by a young rooster and has taken to the blackberries - hiding. Is the normal way they act?
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A older hen is being victimized by a young rooster and has taken to the blackberries - hiding. Is the normal way they act?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Please help me with a problem with an older hen being victimized by a cheeky young rooster.  The hen has taken to hiding in the blackberries.  Is this normal and how should be handle the rooster....currently we locked him out of the pen and he is in the yard.  In the house is 2 young hens and 1 hen the same age of the rooster (a teenager).  Should we keep them separated?

post #2 of 5
What do you mean by “victimized”? Sorry but that doesn’t tell me a lot so I’ll make some guesses.

It’s pretty normal for an adult hen to dominate a younger cockerel until he matures enough to become a rooster and dominate her. Sometimes the hen won’t willingly accept her loss of dominance and fights back but the rooster is bigger, stronger, and even more determined than she is. This can take all kinds of different forms.

The former cockerel exerts his dominance by mating with the hen, with her being willing or maybe not. Often her resistance becomes more running away than actually fighting. It sounds like this may be what is happening. But for him to actually dominate her he has to mate her so he chases and forces her. The rooster needs to be the dominant one or he can’t do his various jobs.

A lot of times this transition is pretty peaceful but I had this situation where the young rooster went out of his way to chase and attack the former dominant hen for a couple of days, not just force mating her but pecking her and grabbing her, especially around the head. After a couple of days of this behavior she quit resisting and accepted him as the dominant one. After that they were best of buddies.

In my case there was no dominant rooster, the lead hen had assumed some of his duties and was flock master until that cockerel matured enough to take over. If you have a dominant rooster and the cockerel starts bothering the hen you’ll still see some of this behavior but most of the times the hen just runs to the dominant rooster who takes care of things. Chicken society can be fun to watch, but sometimes it is violent.

The risk is that the hen becomes injured during this transition of flock leadership. As long as she doesn’t get injured they’ll work this out. If you wish you can separate them for a while and give him a chance to mature some more. That might make the transition go smoother but at some point they have to go through this leadership transition if you are going to keep them both. It’s just the way chicken society works.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #3 of 5

I would keep him separated.  In my experience it was a bad idea to put a young rooster under one year old with older hens.  They became very stressed, and I believed contributed to some dying earlier than what they would have.  My older hens were roosterless before that.

...what you know for sure that just ain't so...--Mark Twain;  is what harms future generations.--me
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...what you know for sure that just ain't so...--Mark Twain;  is what harms future generations.--me
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post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JanetMarie View Post

I would keep him separated.  In my experience it was a bad idea to put a young rooster under one year old with older hens.  They became very stressed, and I believed contributed to some dying earlier than what they would have.  My older hens were roosterless before that.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Well this is a young Rooster and I do not know how old the hen is...but now I get it. The Rooster is just doing his job ( I'm new to all of this) the hen was abandoned when we moved here! Once she was back into her coop, fed and fresh water she started laying. We were excited! The problem came when she started brooding and would not get off her nest! So... We got 2 young chicks - she would have nothing to do w/them. They became one hen and one rooster... She still would not get off her nest - so we got 4 fertile eggs. She finally had 2 baby chicks! Now the (teens) are 4-5 months old and the 2 babies are 2 months old. So the hen - I call her Big Momma is now hiding during the day - we have separated the Rooster. But I guess he is just doing his job and I should let them all work it out??? We are so new to this and not sure if we are doing the right thing. Thank you all for the response:-)
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BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying › A older hen is being victimized by a young rooster and has taken to the blackberries - hiding. Is the normal way they act?