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7 month old roo's injuring hen. Please help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by calyb, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. calyb

    calyb Out Of The Brooder

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    I am not sure if this topic has been posted before, I attempted a search but was unsuccessful, if it has, I do apologize.

    I have 2 7month old roos that are aggressively mating with only one of my hens. I have an older rooster (about 8 years) that I assumed would not let the younger ones mate in the first place and at the very least protect her (especially since she is the top hen) but he really doesn't do anything other than giving the younger boys a little peck on the back if she starts to scream. They have pulled out a fair amount of feathers on her back and caused some scabbing. I know the younger roos can be aggressive when mating but are only really aggressive and injuring this one. It has gotten to the point where she does not want to roost with the little flock at night and hides during the day. Today I left the younger ones in the coop/run and allowed the hens and top roo out in the yard and they were fine.

    I attempted to use a hen saddle but for whatever reason the older roo freaked out and started attacking her himself, which is something he has never, ever done. He is very good and gentle with his girls. Luckily, it was a little big and she was able to get it off and he stopped (could it have been because it was too big?). I do not know what to do. I thought it may just be their spurs but after checking today they do not even have them yet, still just little numbs. I know we need more hens (we only have 4 for 3 roosters) but the 2 younger roos where not meant to be but since they do not fight, (in fact they are more aggressive with her than with each other) I did not think it would be much of a problem and it wasn't for a good while. They have just started this in the last couple of weeks. At first I thought she might be sick but it is only the two younger roos that are hurting her. Would getting more hens solve the problem or is there something else going on considering they only do this to her?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Overrun With Chickens

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    You need more hens and/or less roos. ASAP.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    I would either remove the two young roosters, either permanently or temporarily for a few months or cull the hen. Young roosters will target certain hens and will repeatedly mate them. Sometimes removing them and allowing them to mature for a few month in a separate pen will allow them to calm down. I personally think you owe it to your hen to protect her from such abuse. It won't improve on it's own.
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You know the answer already! You have too many cockerels and your hens will be a lot happier with at last 2 of them taken out of the flock....preferably the two younger ones. It may just be one hen now, but it will escalate and you are risking the health and welfare of your hens whom I assume you have for eggs. Stressed hens that are spending all day running around trying to avoid the amorous attentions of two young cockerels and potentially getting injured in the process will lay less eggs. Soon they will be giving the old rooster a good pasting and that will be the end of him...probably why he is reluctant to get involved much now. At 8 he is a good age and probably not fit enough to take on two young pretenders. One day soon they will gang up on him and he will be deposed and that will be the finish of him. Do him and your hens a favour and butcher the two cockerels and have them for dinner. That would be my advice. Your little flock will be so much happier once they are removed. It is a fact of life that there are no life long homes for the majority of male livestock. I understand that you will have become attached to them, but surely your loyalty lies with your hens who produce food for you. There is only one way that those cockerels can provide the same service! Sometimes there are some hard decisions to be made in poultry keeping.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. calyb

    calyb Out Of The Brooder

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    I completely agree. I was only worried that even with more hens that they would still target her. I was thinking Rudy is just getting too old to right out challenge them as well but just wanted another opinion. I can't kill them though, I am way too soft and they were 2 of the first 3 eggs I have ever hatched from our tiny flock. Actually the hen they target hatched and raised them until they were old enough for me to take over. I think we are just going to completely separate them, attempt to re-integrate in a few months or just get them hens of their own.

    Thank you for your replies.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    I have had good luck penning them up and having them settle down after their first season. Most roosters take two years to fully mature and to act more mature. Most young roosters are mostly interested in mating. An 8 year old rooster is pretty old, I haven't had a rooster live that long. He's probably too old to stop the young roosters. I would also be concerned they might start fighting with him.

    Part of the problem is there are two of them. Oftentimes they will form a coalition and will both repeatedly mate the same hen in an abusive manner. Sometimes separating them and breaking that up can help, though it might cause them to fight. You will eventually need another rooster. With a bit of time these two, or just one of them can replace your old rooster as he won't live forever. I like to try to reintroduce roosters in the fall under decreasing light and hormones, when they are less likely to make as much trouble.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    If you intend to keep them, you will need to put them in a bachelor pad. Out of sight of the hens, so they cool their jets. Then re-introduce them months later - or accept that you don't really need them and rehome them. Roosters are a dime a dozen, with a glut of them looking for homes, you could pick and choose a well behaved rooster. If you feel you need one at all.
     

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