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Hen acting like a rooster

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

One of my 2 year old Rhode Island Reds has started acting like a rooster. She pulls/breaks the feathers on the shoulders of one of the other hens. She has always been top of the peaking order, but now has become more aggressive since her last molt. I also suspect she has stopped laying. Is there any way to stop this behavior. I like in an area where roosters are forbidden so that is out of the question.

post #2 of 5

Welcome to BYC! ya

If you have no roosters, somtimes hens will take the part of 'being the man of the flock'.

Some people even have hens that 'mate' with other hens. It's to show dominance. However,

pulling the feathers on the backs of other hens basically means she's just picking on the others.

Is she still in moult? Being in moult results in no eggs and a bad attitude.


Edited by ScissorChick - 5/13/11 at 1:55am
The voices in my head ain't real, My dog told me so(:
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The voices in my head ain't real, My dog told me so(:
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post #3 of 5

I try very hard to answer questions on various threads found on BYC in order to offer any advice that will improve the life and health of chickens. So when I read this one I knew I had to offer some help to your chickens that might result in making their lives happier. I am telling you this so that you understand my motives are only good and concern the well-being of your chickens. I spent two hours writing one post to help prevent chicks from dying. So the improvement of your chickens life is important, as well. I have done alot of research on this behavior and I found out enough that I can help.

First let's discuss the first problem that causes this in most cases: The Breed

When the breed was developed from Malay, New Hampshire and Leghorn (and other breed) crossing the aggressive disposition was neither encouraged or removed because the breed was developed to be a big, attractive, and nice breasted chicken that produced many eggs a year. This was the outcome with the early stock that was developed and they were considered docile. However because the breed is one of the most common breeds in America and the availability of chicks at a low cost to the public, many of them are not taken care of correctly or live in Hatchery-type-settings in over-populated coops forced to produce as many eggs as possible. The chickens from this breed that are used for breeding from most hatcheries are put in over-populated coops at adult, after living in an over-populated brooders, simply to produce many eggs because of the demand for this popular breed.

Any chicken that is forced to live in an environment that is not suitable or makes them unhappy will become frustrated. This causes them to be mean to each other and cause injury. This is more common in younger members of the flock and is most often a rooster that demonstrates this trait. Hens ,however, do this as well and are usually less likely to give up. Once they get it out they never stop letting it loose until they are dead.

This is why the Rhode Island Red breed is considered to be docile but at times aggressive. The high-quantity producers and sellers of chickens that have/had their Rhode Island breeders in an environment that was not fit for them, have increased the amount of aggression in the breed, un-knowingly. This has happened so much that the breed we know today is no longer an always docile chicken


The Reason I think most likely :  Bordem

Hens get bored like children do and they have been known to attack each other to cure this. I know this sound silly but they do. If it is possible you can free-range them. If not, give them a ball or live greenery to give them a hobby so to speak. Aggression should slow within a week.

That is the advice I would give to others but dealing with this breed and the known aggressive behavior, this is not a very permanent solution. The breed is aggressive, the hen is young and you can not have rooster in your area that would not allow this to continue. You are in a situation that is not impossible to fix but you will not like it. I promise.


My Three suggestions :

IF she is out of molt, not laying and will not stop, you may need to isolate her from the others. Her absence with force the remaining hens to start a knew pecking order and a new dominant hen will take over. Just hope that she is less aggressive. In around three weeks you can return the hen to the flock and observe what happens. If in a week there is no aggression, I would keep an eye on it but consider problem solved. If this doesn't work and it starts all over again, then the next one is for you...

IF she has a behavior problem other than aggression and is a poor layer at two years old, then at five or six she will not hurt hens no longer, she will be so mean that she'll kill them. This is very likely the case if you tired moving her. Now you can either eat her or leave her in her own pen her entire life. Either way she will cause your other hens to stop laying due to unhappiness.

TRY improving the conditions they live inside. Provide them fresh picked greenery from your yard, give them lots of fresh water (you can even add sugar to it) and give them objects to peck and play with like a ball or an old sock with grain inside to cure bordem.

The only thing I have to offer after that post is that I would re-home her to prevent hurting my other hens egg-production. The true shame of this entire ordeal is that a rooster would have likely solved the problem. He would have disciplined the hens and prevented one from hurting the rest. Hens will not challenge a rooster, in most cases.





I hope this helps! Hate to tell you this but it was honest and that will help more than anything I have to offer.



Timothy in ky

The last 15 years of my life as a Breeder of Show Quality American Gamefowl.
I have however started beggining to star small breeding flocks of high quality Silver Phoenix, Blue Cochin, and soon srriving will be my live long goal breed for showing, the Black Sumatra AND White Sumatra (bantam in white) by obtaining a few of the first of this variation to be retailed in my area (or anywhere I have...

Reply

The last 15 years of my life as a Breeder of Show Quality American Gamefowl.
I have however started beggining to star small breeding flocks of high quality Silver Phoenix, Blue Cochin, and soon srriving will be my live long goal breed for showing, the Black Sumatra AND White Sumatra (bantam in white) by obtaining a few of the first of this variation to be retailed in my area (or anywhere I have...

Reply
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by BANTAMWYANDOTTE 

I try very hard to answer questions on various threads found on BYC in order to offer any advice that will improve the life and health of chickens. So when I read this one I knew I had to offer some help to your chickens that might result in making their lives happier. I am telling you this so that you understand my motives are only good and concern the well-being of your chickens. I spent two hours writing one post to help prevent chicks from dying. So the improvement of your chickens life is important, as well. I have done alot of research on this behavior and I found out enough that I can help.

First let's discuss the first problem that causes this in most cases: The Breed

When the breed was developed from Malay, New Hampshire and Leghorn (and other breed) crossing the aggressive disposition was neither encouraged or removed because the breed was developed to be a big, attractive, and nice breasted chicken that produced many eggs a year. This was the outcome with the early stock that was developed and they were considered docile. However because the breed is one of the most common breeds in America and the availability of chicks at a low cost to the public, many of them are not taken care of correctly or live in Hatchery-type-settings in over-populated coops forced to produce as many eggs as possible. The chickens from this breed that are used for breeding from most hatcheries are put in over-populated coops at adult, after living in an over-populated brooders, simply to produce many eggs because of the demand for this popular breed.

Any chicken that is forced to live in an environment that is not suitable or makes them unhappy will become frustrated. This causes them to be mean to each other and cause injury. This is more common in younger members of the flock and is most often a rooster that demonstrates this trait. Hens ,however, do this as well and are usually less likely to give up. Once they get it out they never stop letting it loose until they are dead.

This is why the Rhode Island Red breed is considered to be docile but at times aggressive. The high-quantity producers and sellers of chickens that have/had their Rhode Island breeders in an environment that was not fit for them, have increased the amount of aggression in the breed, un-knowingly. This has happened so much that the breed we know today is no longer an always docile chicken


The Reason I think most likely :  Bordem

Hens get bored like children do and they have been known to attack each other to cure this. I know this sound silly but they do. If it is possible you can free-range them. If not, give them a ball or live greenery to give them a hobby so to speak. Aggression should slow within a week.

That is the advice I would give to others but dealing with this breed and the known aggressive behavior, this is not a very permanent solution. The breed is aggressive, the hen is young and you can not have rooster in your area that would not allow this to continue. You are in a situation that is not impossible to fix but you will not like it. I promise.


My Three suggestions :

IF she is out of molt, not laying and will not stop, you may need to isolate her from the others. Her absence with force the remaining hens to start a knew pecking order and a new dominant hen will take over. Just hope that she is less aggressive. In around three weeks you can return the hen to the flock and observe what happens. If in a week there is no aggression, I would keep an eye on it but consider problem solved. If this doesn't work and it starts all over again, then the next one is for you...

IF she has a behavior problem other than aggression and is a poor layer at two years old, then at five or six she will not hurt hens no longer, she will be so mean that she'll kill them. This is very likely the case if you tired moving her. Now you can either eat her or leave her in her own pen her entire life. Either way she will cause your other hens to stop laying due to unhappiness.

TRY improving the conditions they live inside. Provide them fresh picked greenery from your yard, give them lots of fresh water (you can even add sugar to it) and give them objects to peck and play with like a ball or an old sock with grain inside to cure bordem.

The only thing I have to offer after that post is that I would re-home her to prevent hurting my other hens egg-production. The true shame of this entire ordeal is that a rooster would have likely solved the problem. He would have disciplined the hens and prevented one from hurting the rest. Hens will not challenge a rooster, in most cases.





I hope this helps! Hate to tell you this but it was honest and that will help more than anything I have to offer.



Timothy in ky


Great answer. thumbsup


Edited by ScissorChick - 5/13/11 at 4:36am
The voices in my head ain't real, My dog told me so(:
Reply
The voices in my head ain't real, My dog told me so(:
Reply
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Yes, great advice! Thanks! I'll try to let her free range or  isolate her. Or I do have a friend with a flock that includes a couple roosters who is will to take her in. Maybe I'll send her on a little vacation to visit the rooster.

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