4 Hens, 1 Roo and don't know what to do. Overmating. Help.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by elisavet68, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. elisavet68

    elisavet68 Out Of The Brooder

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    I raised 5 chickens, one of which ended up being an Americauna rooster. I only planned on and wanted 5 hens because I have a backyard chicken coop with a run of 50sq feet and only wanted eggs. I can't accommodate enough hens to satisfy the Rooster. He's mating them so much that their back are going bare, except for one queen orpington who seems like the top hen.
    I thought about giving him away, but I realized he really does a good job of protecting them. We have a bold cat that likes to pounce on the full grown hens and the rooster charges at her. We have hawks flying overhead, coyotes and fox, raccoons and rat snakes all raring to get to them. He is at times a real gentlemen, letting them eat first, even placing food in front of them, and keeping a watchful eye as they forage. I think he does his job well, and has probably saved them a few times, but certainly 4 hens is not enough and they are obviously being over-mated. At times he is rough with them, and was chasing and grabbing at my poor lady orpington against her will. she really didn't want to be bothered. I feel really bad, and don't know what to do.
    These chickens are my sons pets and mine, so I can't butcher him, and don't know if he's a benefit or a burden to the flock at this point. The hens are so friendly and naive I wonder if they would survive very long without him.
    Separating them would be very difficult, because we only have a backyard coop.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. cows and chickens

    cows and chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can trim his nails and use cotton and vet wrap around his spurs. I'd also invest in chicken saddles to protect their backs until the feathers can grow back. 4 hens is not that many for a very "active" young roo. And by the sounds of it, he may only be actively breeding 3 so its not surprising he is wearing their feathers out
     
  3. BunkyB

    BunkyB Chillin' With My Peeps

    Roosters always seem to have raging hormones. Them fellas can handle 5 hens or better if they could. If you are concerned about the bareback hens try what our North Carolina friend suggested above. Cover the backs with saddles. It sounds hilarious but it works. I have a regular egg customer who buys eggs from me all the time. She sees a bare back and she knits the hens a saddle. Very kind gesture so I give her free eggs...
    Could separate him for a while. Leave him inside while the girls run around. Put in a separate enclosure within eyes view of the girls. Kinda hard to stop a rooster from being a rooster...LOL Good luck Steve
     
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    If he's very young, he should mellow out once the novelty of mating wears off. My roosters all did. Can you make a chicken wire enclosure for him inside your coop or run. Put his fluffy butt in there in the mornings and let him out in the evenings when its time to go inside (if you put it outside). If you can't separate him until he settles down, saddles are really your only option. Good luck!
    Nikki
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  5. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yup - get some saddles.
    I have 5 hens and 1 roo and he had them all looking ratty and getting pretty thin. They don't mind the saddles at all and it seems to 'dampen his enthusiasm' a little because he can't hold on as easy.
    There are several folks under the Buy & Sell section who sell them.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. elisavet68

    elisavet68 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you all for the tips. I went ahead and ordered some hen saddles. (what a great idea) And I've got him in the coop run and the girls are out enjoying a sunny day, unbothered.

    I wonder if anyone has the experience of hens without a rooster protecting them. Do you think they'd do alright?? I only really let them out when I'm around the house primarily because my garden is not yet fenced in, but that could change and they could be left out longer during the day.
    I really don't need a rooster, and would prefer having another hen. I just haven't had the heart to see him go. And like I said I do have cats, one of which has jumped on the hens. But they're bigger than her. Have cats been known to actually kill full sized hens without a rooster around to protect them?

    Thanks again,
    Alyssa
     

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