7m/o cockerel chasing 9w/o chick from mama...problem?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MasAhora, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. MasAhora

    MasAhora Songster

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    A couple of days ago I let mama and chick join the flock. Mama was protective for 1st day and my dominant cockerel 9m/o was too.
    Then mama bonded with a subordinate cockerel 7m/o. He was fine with the chick at first but yesterday started chasing it several times (perhaps to get it away from mama?).
    We separated the 7m/o cockerel from the flock but mama hen is trying to get inside his pen to join him.

    She's not weaned the chick fully but I am constantly reuniting them as the chick is still learning gates/pop doors to the free range paddock. She's not making mama clucks to the chick anymore.

    I'd hoped to keep the 7m/o cockerel, he seemed a good boy but I do not know if this chasing is going to be a long term problem as I run a mixed age flock and will continue to integrate chicks as I expand the flock (currently 16 hens plus the boys).
     
  2. MasAhora

    MasAhora Songster

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    Any thoughts folks? Should he go to freezer camp? If it's not going to be a long term problem I'd like to keep him, providing he stays subordinate to my alpha that I want for breeding. Unfortunately I lack experience with roosters.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I'm guessing mama is trying to wean the chicks, don't interfere.
    Was mama and chick separated from flock until now?
    Usually best to integrate mama and chicks into flock much earlier,
    at about 1-2 weeks, way before she's ready to wean.

    Multiple males are usually trouble, especially young ones.
    I'd get rid of all but one cockerel.
     
    AUChickenGal likes this.
  4. MasAhora

    MasAhora Songster

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    Thanks aart very pleased you replied.
    Yes mama and chick were kept in an area I knew was free of dry pox scabs until 2 weeks ago when I was confident it could handle the virus that might be lingering in the soil (my outbreak didn't end until feb, I suffered a 50% loss of new hatch chicks). Then mama and chick were moved to pen/coop area with the others but fenced off for a couple of weeks of see but don't touch. Integration went well with all but beta cockerel who finally got a devoted girlfriend in mama.

    The flock spreads out over a few acres each day and prey birds like little chicks; I was hoping for a 2nd guard with this cockerel as he develops into a rooster, he's been submissive/polite in all other ways (seen him through the pox, fence injury, etc now he's stunning and always has an eye on the sky).

    This chick is of interest to me, it is a meaty mix with layer....exactly what I am hoping to develop - a chunky DP flock that forages well. Hence, the extra precautions I took; I am quite sad about this particular cockerel going to freezer camp.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Nothing abnormal about what was observed. Cockerel not the father of chick.
     
  6. MasAhora

    MasAhora Songster

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    Thanks centrachid - the other cockerels aren't the father either but are good with the chick; it's interesting to watch. Mama hen still ignores alpha and wants to join beta cockerel who was too little to bother with before she hatched the chick - quick bonding!
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Hens make choices. I am dealing with that now where hen goes over 100 yards to lay eggs in location she hatched previous clutch.
     
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    If the chick is 9 weeks old, the hen no longer sees the chick as her chick, but rather another flock mate. The adolescent chick does not need mama to show them around the doors and opening.

    I would make sure there are hideouts, and multiple levels in your coop/run, such as pallets, and roosts. this allows submissive birds to get away from more aggressive birds, and allows pecking orders to be established in a multi- generational flock. Pullets are lower birds until they begin to lay. When a lower bird, moves out of sight of a more aggressive bird, it has admitted to the position.

    I would not separate the cockerel, but let them work it out, but give them ways to work it out such as hideouts, multiple feed stations, unless the pullet is bleeding. A little chasing and some feather pulling is just chicken society.

    Mrs K
     
  9. MasAhora

    MasAhora Songster

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    Mrs K you are in big trouble!!! I was just reconciled with having my beta cockerel sent to freezer camp....even got my family reconciled to the idea, now I have an "excuse" to re-consider overnight :D.

    For other newbies like me, reading this thread, please note this is called "shopping for the answer you want" and can become a tempting but bad habit;), but at the end of the day we live with our own decisions and their consequences after considering the advice of others.
    Also Mrs K is 100% correct about having hideouts etc. However, I strongly recommend that you construct fences around coops/pens/free range paddocks so they do not create dead-end alley ways.
    We bought the property with excellent but complex fencing already in place... it has several dead-end alley ways around the coop and existing pop holes through the fence to the paddocks are not very visible. Consequently I have had injuries because chickens tried to run away and got cornered then panicked, quite avoidable dramas and stress, adjusting the fencing after installation can pose new challenges and costs.
    Well that's my 2 cents worth for others, now I gotta go and mull over the advice and make a sensible decision.
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    Dead-ends and traps are things to avoid, and that was good to point out, as I take it for granted because unconsciously I make little 3 or 4 foot walls that birds can get behind, and out of sight, but escape freely from either side.

    Any time a bird does not settle down in my flock, I solve for the peace of the flock. And there will be birds that do not fit in the flock. If you want to cull that rooster for whatever reason, it is your bird. If when you pulled the cockerel, peace was instantly restored in your set up, that is a valid consideration.

    Space is good for chickens, too little space can also cause a lot of problems. Chicken math has bitten almost all of us, but for the most part, coop/runs are a static size, unchanging, and birds do get bigger and need more space. So space often is an issue when newbies come to this site. How that space is arranged is also crucial.

    There is a tendency, when thinking about someone else's problem on this sight, is to picture it from the perspective of your own climate and your own set up. Good points to think about again when giving advice. A picture speaks a thousand words, as often, people looking at a picture can more clearly understand the situation.

    MRs K
     

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