A monogamous pair that preen each other (?)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sparklewina, May 25, 2012.

  1. Sparklewina

    Sparklewina In the Brooder

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    My two newest flock additions, Wilson and Hen, are blue-laced red wyandotte bantams. I was skeptical about getting a rooster at first but Wilson is the greatest rooster ever. Not only are they both so adorable but he is quiet and so caring.

    He is very closely bonded to Hen. At first I thought it was because they came from the same flock in their previous home and figured that once they both got settled Wilson would start flirting with the other girls.

    It's been a couple of weeks and he and Hen are still joined at the hip. He only mates with her, he sticks very close to her and she to him. He has become the leader of the flock, but he still prefers to roost only with Hen, shows her where the best bug hunting spots are and once or twice have seen them touching beaks almost as if he is feeding her? I know parrots do this but I had no idea chickens did? A few times I have seen her very gently peck at his face and wattle. She is not biting him, more like smooching him? Neither show signs of parasites and I have dusted with DM (the coops and the dust bathing spots have all been treated).

    Are they secretly lovebirds or something?
     
  2. NeTNChknLover

    NeTNChknLover In the Brooder

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    I had a Polish pair that did the exact same thing [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Stephanie739

    Stephanie739 Songster

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    When I brought home a young orpington roo and a buff brahma pullet, they stayed together constantly for the first couple months. The pullet was and still is very timid, and I think he wanted to keep her comforted. I've had them for many months now and they mingle well with the others. He is definitely not monogamous anymore. She being the most gentle and timid of all my hens is also a favorite of the boys.
     
  4. Sparklewina

    Sparklewina In the Brooder

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    Yes, Hen is extremely timid. She is the "omega" of the flock and really relies on Wilson for everything. The other girls are all extremely strong personalities and Wilson is on the gentler side so I see why they stick together. I will be interested to see if he someday breeds with the other girls.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    I think you are seeing an stable harem setting up. The arrangement most productio folks strive for with roosters and hens where the rooster provides only services for many hens and sex ratio approachs 10 hens / rooster is not natural. In nature, a harem is made up of one rooster and from one to three hens, usually 1-2 hens. Plus their offspring. Harems move about in a tighter fashion than larger flocks and the nuptial feedings you are seeing enable more rapid intake of quality eats by hen when laying or preparing to do so. If she wants to set, let her do so and hatch off chicks. Watch the interactions between the adults and young. Roosters do more for offspring than simply warn of predators.
     
  6. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Crowing

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    I have a pair the same as yours. I added a new hen to the flock and the second in command rooster took to her instantly. Its been nearly a year now and they are still 'in love'.

    She is always with him, she pecks gently at his wattles too! If they are separated they both are very distressed. If another rooster tries to mate with her she will scream and her mate to rescue her.

    They roost together too! So cute.
     
  7. Sparklewina

    Sparklewina In the Brooder

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    Thanks for the info! I noticed Hen's crop is reaaallly full by the end of the day, I actually got a little concerned that she had a problem but I check her in the mornings and her crop is always empty. She is an excellent layer but so far will not brood (which is fine as I am not yet prepared to take on more roosters - someday I will be though). So happy to hear it sounds like Wilson is being a good roo and will someday make a good dad.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    If you watch your hen's crop filling pattern, you are likely to see it full in morning after some serious feeding and again in PM prior to going to roost.

    Try introducing meal worms to rooster. You will see a different set of interactions when he gets a hold of one.


    How many eggs are allowed to collect in the hens nest?
     
  9. Sparklewina

    Sparklewina In the Brooder

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    Yes, that schedule seems to fit the bill. My other girls will just eat whenever unless it's the hottest part of the day, and will basically graze non-stop, but Hen doesn't have to worry about it as Wilson takes care of their breakfast and dinner times (he shows her were the best bug-finding spots are and lets her eat first if he doesn't feed her himself).

    I haven't left any in the nest - when I find them I take them and she has not sat on any of them. Yesterday I could tell she was going to lay and then I forgot to check the coop before I shut them in last night so I checked first thing when I let them out this morning and indeed there was one cold egg that she had not brooded on though she could have if she wanted to. They are definitely mating so her eggs are fertile.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Many hens will not commence brooding until a certain number of eggs are in nest / lumps push back against breast. That causes the normal hormone changes associated with hen becoming broody. The other type of broody which occurs simply after eggs are laid is a response to eggs being removed. Latter seems to be the one most that harvest eggs are familiar with.
     

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