5yr old Rooster attacking hens...Help!

Reiki Rooster

Jun 27, 2015
Demorest, Georgia
Hello, my rooster, LJ, is 5 years old and about a month ago he was attacked by something. No idea what, but I found a trail of his feathers through my yard and he came to "dinner" late that night. His tail and some back feathers were missing, but thankfully very minor flesh injuries. He refused to leave his pen for about 3 days, they are free range during days when I'm off work and home. Ever since his attack, he has stopped doing his rooster courting dance before mounting the hens, now he just grabs them by the head. He doesn't call them to food, and he has always done that, actually, hens are skittish even eating around him. However, the past week I've noticed some of my hens are missing feathers, some head feathers, some tail feathers, one hen, the alpha hen, is a mess, head, tail, wing, even chest feathers. I sat out in the pen and watched everyone, hens peck each other but no feathers pulled just normal stuff, but all the girls give LJ a huge berth. Has anyone heard of something like this happening? He was truly the perfect rooster before. Seems like he's just getting worse and worse, culling him breaks my heart but I have to keep the girls safe. I don't know could it be worms load even? I'm wracking my brain on things that could cause this change in him and if there is anything I can do. Thank you.


Spring Dreaming
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
Jul 16, 2015
Roosters can be traumatized after an attack. Similar to PTSD. They tend to be hyper-vigilant afterwards and prone to erratic behavior, but generally should slowly calm down.

Are your hens older than a year of age. Most birds are molting now. So missing feathers are normal.


Crossing the Road
Sep 19, 2009
Holts Summit, Missouri
My males do not court as well during the heavier part of the molt cycle. They are more into self maintenance / preservation at that time. He may be injure more than you think from the attack. Pictures of him and hens of concern may be informative.


Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
If the injuries on his back were toward the back end in front of the tail, his testicles may have been injured and now his hormones have been affected.


Crossing the Road
Jul 6, 2016
NW Washington state
It's mid October now so it would be normal for him to slow down or stop mating for a few months. If you've seen him attacking hens and purposefully hurting them, then a time out in a separate space could help. I suspect he'll get back to normal after a while.

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
Agreed with Jed. Time for a time out pen for the boy. Of particular concern is the alpha hen with missing feathers, including chest. Missing chest feathers not part of Roo wear, even if the guy is a total clutz. Something else is going on here. Do you have a dog, or is it possible for a dog to access your flock perhaps when you are not around.

As for Roo injuries, any thing evident externally may be an indication of some deep internal injury/bruising. He could have some internal injuries including bleeding that do not show up externally. Yet an other reason to give him some peace and quiet in a safe time out pen.

How many birds in your flock, and what are the dimensions of your coop and run?

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