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Rooster picking on hen

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Finally can post and sorry for hijacking threads....the "start new thread" icon mysteriously showed up. Anyways..... My speckled Sussex molted in late August and then got the sniffles for about a month. In that time she stayed away from the group and started vocalizing different and also exhibited some rooster like behavior mostly chuckling when finding food. She recovered from her illness but still continued the odd behavior. Since then the rooster has taken a large dislike for her. He chases her away and often picks on her. They were free range in the summer and fall and she could avoid him but always roosted with the flock. Now they are shut in for the winter and I'm worried he will end up really hurting her. She's holding her own for now and no open wounds so far. He has done this before to another leghorn hen. That happened when she wouldn't leave the old roosters side when he was at his end. She was also sickly and not laying so I was considering culling her anyway. She would hide by the old guy when the young rooster would try to court herWhen we got rid of the old guy she had no protecter and the young rooster proceeded to pick on her terribly. I ended up culling her before things got out of hand but this hen that he is picking on now is otherwise healthy and my favourite to boot. Any thoughts? Do you think he will continue on and what could I do to stop him. He's an Americana
post #2 of 6
How old is this young rooster? How old are the hens involved? That’s critical information.

It’s possible that young rooster is not a rooster at all but still a cockerel. Cockerels can have trouble winning the respect of an older hen so that mature hen wants nothing to do with him. He’s probably bigger than her so he may be trying to use force to get her to submit to his dominance. Once he matures he may grow out of this behavior.

There is a special case to this. Until a cockerel becomes a rooster and there is no dominant rooster in the flock a hen often assumes the role of flock master. She may be unwilling to give up that role. But when that cockerel reaches a certain point of maturity he wants to take over. It can get pretty vicious when he is taking over. I saw that last year. It lasted two days until he beat her into submission, then they became best buddies. Since there was no blood I let them work it out and they did. There have been other times where the cockerel took over from a dominant hen with no drama at all.

It’s possible he recognizes they are sick. He does not want a sick chicken in his flock infecting the others so he is trying to eliminate them to protect his flock.

It’s possible he is a brute and does not deserve to be flock master or anywhere around other chickens. There are too many good roosters out there to put up with a bad one.

I don’t know what is going on with yours. I’ve had a cockerel 5 months old that was able to take over a flock with mature hens in it. I’ve had a cockerel that could not do that until he was just under a full year old. If he is fairly young you might try isolating him for a month or two and see if he matures out of this phase. Or you can isolate the hen to protect her. Or you can get rid of either of them and see what happens.

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

Reply
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
The speckled is a year older than the rooster. Rooster was 1 year this spring. This spring I was down to 2 roosters and 4 older hens. The older rooster got sick and young rooster tried to take over the hens but had a hard time winning respect. My leghorn hen quit laying,I think she was sickly and wouldn't leave the safety of the old rooster. As I said When I culled the older guy the younger rooster beat her quite a bit so I culled her before it got too bad. My speckled never really did commit to him and then I added 9 new younger hens. He didn't have much interest in them and mostly tended to the 2 older hens and the speckled hung with the younger hens.. I think with the combinations of factors my speckled became the dominant and now it's being squared away. I hope it all works out
post #4 of 6


If you choose to keep the roo, then the recommended roo / hen ratio is around 1:10 (not caste in stone but a guide) - that could make a difference. From what you have said though, he'd be in the crockpot if i  was in your position.

Good luck in whatever you decide

 

CT

Nairobi, Kenya
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Nairobi, Kenya
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
That's it he's crossed the line. He insists on beating her and has drawn blood. I've banned him to the cold side of the coop for a week. Don't know if that will change his attitude but if he persists after this quarantine he'll have a date with a crockpot! Gotta say this is the first time I've wanted to "replace" a roo.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisure105 View Post

That's it he's crossed the line. He insists on beating her and has drawn blood. I've banned him to the cold side of the coop for a week. Don't know if that will change his attitude but if he persists after this quarantine he'll have a date with a crockpot! Gotta say this is the first time I've wanted to "replace" a roo.


Good decision - one more step towards the dinner table eh? ;)

 

CT

Nairobi, Kenya
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Nairobi, Kenya
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