3 old hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RWise, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. RWise

    RWise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    I have an Ameraucana, an Ameraucana/banty cross (looks Ameraucana but small) and a Wellsumer hen. I think I was lied to about their age, I think them to be much older than I was told. The first one was supposed to be 1.5 years old, the second girl was supposed to be 7 month old pullet, the third was to be 2.5 years old. That should leave plenty of life in them, (at least to get a few eggs to set) but i think they are at least 3.5 YO and maybe older. Heres the deal though, I have put them with several different Roo's, and they all pound them to no end, I have for now put them in a "girls only" area and they seem fine with that, (this was done 1 of them at a time) they can leave anytime they want the fence is 18" high. The Roosters visit and stand at the fence and chat often. Big Red (Ameraucana) stands and looks over the fence, i know he can jump it and so does he, but for some reason he is respecting it, at least for now. These are not my only hens, I have 3 areas set up for them, 2 free range and the girls cage (chick pen). I had an old boy at least 3 YO by his spurs, (he was supposed to be 9 months) flirted a lot and did little more with any hen, so I put the Wellsumer with him and watched from a hiding place. He grabbed her and mated her 6 times without dismounting, and just stood on her and held her down and then went again, (I rescued her at this point) and mind you he was the gentleman as roosters go. The Ameraucana has been picked on so much she wanted to just be alone, no rooster or hen or anybody else. (she now has 2 friends) Their combs are not good and red (but improving), they have feathers ripped from their backs (improving) The boys, all of them, chase these poor girls relentlessly, ignoring laying hens to chase them down and mate these girls repeatedly, not just any one of the boys, any of them! They have all acted toward these girls the same. No more than 2 roosters to a flock, and at the moment there is only 1 per flock and a cockerel with his age group. The other hens that came with these are not treated this way laying or not, young or old.

    My question is why do the roosters treat these girls so badly?
    Do they think they are ready to lay and just holding back?
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    My harem masters are extremely gentle with their hens and offspring but will attack any bird not belonging to harem. When assailed is a breeding age, it pays rooster to also mate with her in off change she will rear some of his offspring but she still needs to go because she or her offspring could be competition with his much more likely offspring. When a rooster is more likely to accept a new hen into harem, she is nearing the point where she will soon be starting to lay and rooster has the ability to detect this. An accepted hen (by rooster) then must deal with hens already present in harem to find her place in pecking order. Rooster and hens give very specific vocalizations when being preparing to be aggressive which you can watch for.


    To facilitate introduction, I would quarantine new birds and condition them with a quality diet that include access to greens. That will aid them getting into point where they are about to lay.


    My roosters will also attack sich hens which I only recently figured out.
     
  3. RWise

    RWise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    I have put one other hen in this pen, but she graduated! It is just outside my kitchen window so I can observe. I was watch a daily visit from Big Red when she "offered" him the chance, I let her out long unuf to mate and back into the girls area. Next day there is a pretty green egg (large too!!). That night I put her in the hen house on the roost. My birds free range and she would not leave the hen yard, she would go to the gate and act like she wanted to, but turn back. She is very friendly so I went out and called to her, Red came to see what i was doing with "his" hen! And ever so slowly she stepped out the gate, I took a few steps and she followed. I kept going leading her, Red watching all the time, and then she spotted the winter wheat about 4 inches tall. It was like in the toons, she jumped straight up in the air and hit the ground running. She is now the first one out the gate, around the corner and to the greens!
     
  4. RWise

    RWise Chillin' With My Peeps

    259
    2
    91
    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    Also when Red visits most of the time he has hens with him, the little boy and his pullets come and visit also. I am hoping that with some time I can work them in, if they are not simply to old to lay. They do chat when they are visiting. Another Rooster (RIR) can get close, maybe 20' or so, and he calls to them to come to him (aint gona happen, he's part of the chicken and dumpling gang(unless he finds a new home))
     
  5. RWise

    RWise Chillin' With My Peeps

    259
    2
    91
    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    The Wellsumer has started laying! The Ameraucana is acting much much better, I think she is close! I am going to recover these old gals!
     

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