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Question on a Roo - keeping him separated from flock

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi there! I've had seven hens for almost a year now and about three months ago I introduced a Brahma rooster that was rehomed. About two months later he started picking on my head hen and bit her neck so badly I had to separate her from the flock. Now when he sees her he goes on a holy terror. We just built a separate roo coop for him but I am wondering if he will be happy separated from the flock like that? He gets along with the other six girls just fine, but I can't have him around my head hen because he'll attack her. I can't find any info anywhere online where others may have been in this situation so I'm looking for advice. (Please note, I don't butcher.) Thanks!

post #2 of 9

:welcome  Not at all uncommon for the dominant hen to challenge a new rooster added to the flock - it's the pecking order.  This can carry over to his never accepting her especially if she resists his attempts at mating.  Is there any possibility that he was rehomed because of similar behavior in his last flock?

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 9
Thread Starter 

I think that is the issue. She was the boss and then all the sudden I think he realized how big he was. She will NOT let him mate with her so I think that's why he thinks she's gotta go. :) The lady I adopted him from said she had two accidental roos in her flock and needed to let one go. Do you think he'll eventually get used to being on his own or is it too much for a rooster to not 'do his job' and protect a flock?

post #4 of 9
I'm wondering why you'd keep him if he's going to have to be penned up away from the rest of the flock. Chickens are flock animals. Not to allow that - in my opinion - is unkind. If you don't want him in your flock, find him a home where he can mingle with a flock.

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

This is what I wanted to verify. I tried to rehome him but not many want to keep a roo (I didn't want to send him off to a stewpot). Thanks for the advice.

post #6 of 9
How old is he? I think you and Sourland have hit on the problem but let’s discuss it. I’ve had a somewhat similar problem myself, though this was a cockerel raised in the flock with no mature dominant rooster when he developed past adolescence.

If he is a fully mature rooster, say a year old or more, you may have a problem. A mature hen will often set certain standards in what she wants in the father of her children. Many cockerels don’t measure up. But most grow into mature roosters that do. There could be a bit of this going on, but I think it’s mostly something else.

My situation was that a cockerel grew up with the flock and at a too young age I removed the older mature rooster. Some of the hens would accept the younger cockerel as master and squat for him, but the head hen was having none of it. If she saw him mating a willing hen, she’d knock him off. Mating behavior is dominant behavior and she was the dominant one. This went on until he finally matured enough to challenge her. Since he was bigger than her he started chasing her, picking on her and pecking her. He sought her out to peck her. Not all the time but regularly enough. This went on for two days before she finally submitted to him. After that they were best buddies. Since no blood was drawn I let it play out.

The head hen may not be totally impressed with your new cockerel/rooster plus she could want to remain flock master. It’s possible he will injure her while trying to basically beat her into submission. It’s possible they will soon work it out and become best buddies. I don’t know what will happen.

You can try to let it play out when you can observe some. It will probably be ugly to watch and could result in her injury. It’s not always easy to watch. You may need to make a decision which one you want to keep.

My normal advice is to keep as few roosters as you can and still meet your goals. The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs, everything else is personal preference. For many people the right number is zero roosters.

Personally I’d prefer him to go somewhere he will be eaten. Give him a quick dignified end where he will be a benefit to someone. To me that’s better than letting someone have him that will use him in cockfighting.

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 #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi Ridgerunner, I am not sure of his exact age. When I adopted him in January she said "almost a year." My head hen wouldn't knock him off others but neither would she squat for him. He nearly killed her in early March by biting her neck (drawing blood - it was horribly bloody for a week and scabbed over for three weeks) and bruising her comb so I don't think they will ever be besties (I wish!). I wanted a roo for protection as we previously lost two hens and I suppose I had good thoughts when we rescued him.  

post #8 of 9
At that age, I'm sorry, but I'd decide between the two.

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

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 #9 of 9


I have a polish roo.  He's great with most of the girls, but he absolutely terrorizes my black sex link hen that is a year older than him.  She runs and can avoid him fairly well, but if he catches her, she'll squat.  He'll hold her down with one foot and bite at her.  He doesn't really try to mate her.  It's almost like now that he's got her, what does he do with her? He mates the other hens who submit with no problem.  I decided to begin intervening, and when I let them out to free range, I let him know in a LOUD voice that he is to leave the BSL alone!  He stops when he hears me, and she runs to the back of the barn and out under a trailer in the pasture.  He leaves her alone once she's made it out there.  I also house them in two different coops.  He's a great roo in all other respects - not human aggressive at all, and views me as the senior rooster.  The BSL hen will check where he is when they come to me to be locked up for the evening.  She will go to whichever coop he is not in, so it's worked out so far.  He's calming down a bit since I began to intervene too, so we'll se how this all plays out.

Peeps61
Location: NW Florida
Chickens since Feb. 2013
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Peeps61
Location: NW Florida
Chickens since Feb. 2013
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