So tonight is the night...My 3 y.o. Ameraucana roo has grown increasingly aggressive over the last year or so. It started after his first moult, when he started becoming more aggressive toward me. I think it ticked him off that the girls would flock to me for treats and not listen to him when he tried to herd them away. I tolerated his aggression toward me because he took such good care of the girls. See, they have a huge electro-fenced lawn on which they graze. I don't worry so much about four-legged preditors, but he has always watched the skies for hawk, and warns then when he sees or hears of one. (He's got some sort of pact with the crows. They usually mob any hawks in the area, and the chickens don't shoo them out of the yard.) He's always taken very good care of his girls. However, increasingly this past year, I've had hens with bald backs, and finally invested in saddles. Once they all started to moult at the beginning of this fall, I've had to isolate two hens who were just looking worn out. They both bounced back after a week, but then he went back after one of them. All the sisters welcomed her back to the flock just fine, but he kept going after her and wouldn't let her with the flock. Last week he grabbed hold of her head/neck feathers as she was running away from him, and he tore the back of her neck open! She's been in isolation for about a week now, and if she doesn't get an infection, it will take weeks for her to heal. During this time, I found another moulting hen dead in the coop in the morning. She was his "soul mate". They were almost always together. She had no wounds on her. She was just laying on the floor. It looked like he had tried to mount her and she just couldn't take it. She just collapsed. I think he's just wearing them out. Running them ragged. He's increasingly aggressive when he mounts them, too. Bald scabby heads...screaming hens. I just can't lose any more hens this way. I won't have any more come spring! I'm very worried about the hawk situation, because he has always been so vigilent, but I'm sure he'll kill this isolated hen even once she's healed up, or maybe one of the others...
His first year, he was so calm and tame. I could handle him easier than any of my hens. I could hold him and let kids pet him. The older he gets the more agitated and aggressive he becomes. I'm so sad, and I'll miss the good things about him, but my hens need some peace, and so do I. Ironically, I had an "oops" roo that I got with my day old chicks in April. Not able to find a home for him, we debated trying the new roo out, and "processing" the 3 y.o., but I just couldn't yet. So, we "processed" the new one and my in-laws had him for dinner. (Now I wonder how he would have turned out...)
Has anyone else had this experience with a rooster, where he started out sweet and nice, and slowly grew increasingly bad as he got older? I swear every moult he got worse. It's like hormone surges or something.
So, we nab him and do the deed tonight when everyone is sleeping. I hope the hens adjust quickly. I hope I do, too... I feel like I failed him somehow.
Everything costs a "bock"!
Everything costs a "bock"!