5 month old chickens, cockerel is trying to mate, pullets aren't ready

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chido, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Long story, sorry XD.

    I've got 3 mystery breed pullets and 1 standard light brahma cockerel. The pullets are chicks we found hiding in our front yard, and non of us at home know much about chicken breeds. my brother-in-law wanted to get a rooster to keep company to the pullets and to help protect them, so I adopted a light brahma cockerel from an acquaintance that keeps a large flock and got quite a few male chicks in this year's hatch. She told me this breed gets big, but from her experience with her flock, really big roosters can get along well with small hens (her alpha rooster is about 14 pounds, and she has a standard and bantam mix flock).

    The four chickens get along really well, and they are all about the same age, give or take a week or two. My problem is that my roo has already hit puberty almost a month ago, and he crows like a big roo at 5 months, and boy is he a handful of hormones. My pullets turned out to be small, two of them are about 2.5 pounds and the largest one is 3.5lbs. The roo is 6 pound or so, and he's "in love" with one of the smaller pullets, a creamy white one. He pretty much chases her and mounts her quite a few times a day, and while I haven't found any bald spots or wounds on the pullets, I think this harassment is getting a bit too rough. We've enclosed a large area in the backyard under the trees to keep the chickens more contained when we're not home, and after all this background, here are my questions that I hope you guys can answer [​IMG]:

    - Is it ok to lock the pullets in the enclosure and leave the roo outside? The backyard is really large and fenced, and the chickens usually have access to it, but I'd like to give the girls a break from him, and yet allow them to still socialize. We used welded wire for the enclosure, so they can see each other easily.

    - Once the pullets' comb and wattles turn red and start to lay eggs, is it ok to let them all hang out together and mate? I know I shouldn't have gotten a roo that is gonna be so big, but I didn't know my pullets would remain small, and he's such a sweetheart and my nieces love him. Also the chickens are always together and rarely fight.

    - Can a rooster learn to mate gently with hens much smaller than him? I was told my smaller pullets were probably bantam mixes, but they are over 2 pounds in weight now, and from all that I've read, bantam hens usually are under 2 pounds. Somebody suggested that they might be gamefowl, and they do look like a gamefowl mix. So they aren't as tiny as bantams, and homefully they are hardy, but I've been thinking on getting a hen from a larger breed to give the pullets a break and the roo can have some fun.


    I hope my questions are not too dumb, I just want to do the best I can for my chickens and avoid having to rehome the roo if I can avoid it. He's so sweet that even being so massive at 5 months my nieces can do whatever they want to him, and he's never tried to bite or attack us.

    And here's a picture of my mini flock, since I like to show off my "children" :3

    [​IMG]
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    he looks huge in this picture, but he's just pretty lean and tall under all that fluff.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Your rooster is pretty! And those girls are definitely a mix, of what, who knows. He'll eventually learn to be more gentle as his hormones recede a bit. It would be fine to lock up the girls to give them a break but just don't leave your boy out overnight.
     
  3. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2011
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    They all sleep together and he doesn't seem to bother them when it's time to sleep, or at least I don't hear any screams from the coop at night. I just went to let them out and made sure I left him out of their enclosure, he's not happy but the pullets already looked relieved XD.
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The young rooster is hormone driven. In a larger, continuing flock, the elder rooster keeps these young roos in their place. In the absence of a mature rooster, coupled with a limited number of pullets, a young roo simply wears them out. He's got the capacity to cover a dozen hens. I don't mind an older rooster for 3/4 hens, as he controls himself pretty well, but a young one? Whoa!! [​IMG]
     
  5. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been doing my best to keep him in check when I'm outside with them, and everybody in the family do the same. If he tries to mount the white pullet in front of us, we push him off her, and chase him around, poking him with our fingers to imitate pecking. He behaves much better in front of us now, but when nobody is round...

    I'm gonna ask the people in the feed store I go to if they also sell older chicks (they sell 1 day old ones), or even young hens. I'd like to find a 6-7 lbs hen to add to my flock so he has another girl to "flirt" with, and give the other one a break. I was hoping the large brown pullet I have would be more receptive to him by now, but the few times he's tried to mount her, she gets mads and attacks him, biting his face and chasing him around. The other smaller ones don't do that, so he has his way with them.

    Also, I know brahmas are slower to mature, or supposed to. Since mine is already crowing and acting like a big boy, how long does it usually take for a rooster of this breed to calm down and stop being so hormone driven?
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  6. stone_family3

    stone_family3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a roo with the same problem, he's only bothering the smaller girls though, the one that is his age and his size he is buddies with.
     
  7. equinelyn

    equinelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My roo is 18 weeks and he does his mating dance, but doesn't grab the feathers on the back on their necks. I think he's scared. But I have a few silkie's and he doesn't try to mate with them at all. He prefers this big girls [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Lol he likes his girls big and curvy!

    Well I just got home and my nieces were already here. They told me Roostroyer (my boy) just kept pacing back and forth next to the welded wire, and they then saw all the four chickens lying on the grass next to each other, the girls in one side, the boy in the other. They get along so well, if Roo wasn't so big (or if my pullets had only grown more...), my mini flock would be perfect.
     
  9. equinelyn

    equinelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm waiting to see if anybody knows if a bigger rooster is dangerous for a smaller hen...

    So I was watching my roo today, he will pick up a stick and toss it about 3" and act like he's eating something interesting, and a hen comes over to investigate. While her head is down in front of him you can see him trying to get the courage to jump on her back. He dances around her scuffling his feet, and she just walks away.... Next hen comes near he throws a twig and does the same thing lol...

    Ahhhh chickens are SOOOOO entertaining! [​IMG]
     
  10. Amyh

    Amyh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think a bigger roo will hurt a small hen as long as you have the right ratios. Three hens are simply not enough for your young rooster. He will eventually wear all of them out and they will have bald backs. If you keep them separated, he will could get extremely frustrated and may take that frustration out on you and your family (get aggressive).

    If I were you and wanted to keep a roo, I'd go ahead and get some additional hens to give him a variety of girls to mate.
     

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