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Young rooster kicking all the hens away from feed bucket

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Is this normal behavior? I have a 17 week old Polish roo who kicks, pecks, and shoves all his seven hens away from the feed bucket in the morning. The behavior seems to decrease after he eats his fill, but he will still come over and kick and peck if he seems to notice them eating throughout the day. The hens end up taking turns eating from the side of the bucket he is not on. He doesn't have his spurs and has not crowed or mated anyone yet.

I'm guessing he is bored but I do not know what would solve the issue. It is a 5 gallon feed bucket and if I let the 7 pullets eat in the morning while I hold him and hand feed him, they all eat peacefully. The pullets in general are content and do not fight, and the run is 110 sq ft. They also get free range time. However I wonder if the roo is bored in the run. I did not trim his feathers back from his eyes after their last molt because I don't know if he is going to be an extra nasty turd about mating them either when that kicks in, but I am wondering maybe if he could see better he would see they aren't threatening his food?

post #2 of 6

He's just a punk teenager how does not know how to act like 'the man'.  When he matures he will find that treating the ladies nicely leads to rewards.  I speak from experience.  :old

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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post #3 of 6
Careful, Sour. I might point out that us dirty old men need loving too. Szczur, sorry but I like needling Sour. He’s one of the good guys.

There is a big difference in cockerels and pullets and roosters and hens. What you have is a snotty little brat full of himself. His hormones (which are out of control and likely to get even more so) are telling him to be the dominant chicken. One way to do that if you don’t have a strong personality is to intimidate the others. Brute force can intimidate but a favorite tactic is to keep the others away from the food. Show them that you are meaner than they are and that you are going to eat first. Higher rank has privileges.

Something you can try is to set up a separate feeding station, as far from that one as possible. He’ll have trouble guarding both.

It’s very probable the right instincts will kick in as he matures so he can get his hormones under control and make a good flock master. From what you describe that is a way down the road. I’ve had some at 17 weeks that behaved responsibly, I’ve had some that didn’t until they were practically a year old. Some become a lot better flock master than others. I’ve seen 50 year old people, men and women, that never mature but remain snotty brats. That can happen to chickens too, male and female, but most do actually grow up.

The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs, anything else is just personal preference. I recommend you keep as few roosters as you can and meet your goals. That’s not because you are guaranteed problems with more roosters, just that problems are more likely. I don’t know if the right number of roosters for you is zero or one.

Good luck!

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 #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice! Though I didn't want a roo originally, and ordered sexed pullets, I ended up with him. I would expect some pecking and aggro from him, but I am worried about my girls getting stressed, injured or going hungry! It is almost comical watching him going around in a circle just to hi-kick them all away while they peep their indignation. I suppose as he long as he doesn't draw blood and everyone has a decent size crop at night, I'll see if he will grow up eventually. If not, he will make a good stew. A rooster really aggressive to his hens would just be really bad genetics, and if I want another rooster I can probably find a calm one for free from someone else.

 

Guess I will buy a second feed bucket for this little fart and the hens...! Thanks :)

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner View Post

Careful, Sour. I might point out that us dirty old men need loving too......

Hmmmm......:lau

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

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Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #6 of 6

If he's not crowing or mating the girls yet, what you have is basically a whole bunch of 17 week old chicks - one of which happens to be bigger, stronger, and have more testosterone than the others. He's the top of the pecking order and he's making sure that everyone knows that, and he's getting the proper benefits (like eating first).

When they start maturing behavior should change - the pullets will start deferring to him, and he'll start being easier on them. Adult chickens have societal rules - chicks really don't.

 

(So, yes, it's normal)

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