Any suggestions for preventing bare backs on hens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sweettater, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. sweettater

    sweettater Hatching

    Jan 14, 2010
    I have four hens and one rooster who keeps pulling the feathers out of the backs of three of the girls in his "excitement"... I've tried making saddles for the hens but all of them flapped it off within a day (and, it was a hassle putting them on to begin with)! Can I cut the roo's toenails? How far up can I cut without drawing blood? Does anybody have any other suggestions for this problem. Thanks ....

    First time poster but long time peruser! [​IMG]
  2. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chirping

    Jun 4, 2010
    Caribou, Maine
    How large is the run that they're all in. If there were more space, then maybe the ladies could get away from his advances once in a while. Another option would be to get more hens (but only if you have the space).
  3. sweettater

    sweettater Hatching

    Jan 14, 2010
    They free range in the back yard, about an acre, so there is plenty of space. I definitely plan to get more, I've heard 10 hens to one rooster is a good ratio so I'm going to expand but until the new chicks get big enough to mix in what can I do?
  4. HeatherLynn

    HeatherLynn Songster

    May 11, 2009
    Kentucky, Cecilia
    I lock up the rooster. 4 just doesn't seem to be enough for 1 roo. Randy little things. I asked if the chicken aprons would help. Don't know if they would.
  5. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Songster

    Dec 28, 2009
    hmmm not sure about how far you could cut the toe nails, but it is old is the rooster? is it his toe nails or spurs? larger run will not get the hens away from him....he is very persistant....maybe more hens if you have room like the person before me said.
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If he's a young rooster, he may grow out of it as he matures. If not, you might consider a different rooster. Some rooster are easier on hens than others.
    As was already mentioned, if you have plenty of space, you can try getting more hens...a 10:1 ratio is more appropriate.
    You can also keep your rooster in his own area, and only allow them together when freeranging or for a short period confined to get fertilized eggs.
    You can buy more professionally made saddles (sold her on BYC) that will stay on a lot better (no offense implied to the ones you made of course).
    If you don't need fertilized eggs, you can get rid of your rooster.
    That's pretty much all of your options. Good luck to you and your hens!
  7. SmartyChick

    SmartyChick An Official Milkmaid

    Oct 19, 2009
    Sullivan County NY
    I have HenSaver saddles for my hens and they work great! They stay on very well and have detachable shoulder pads which are a life saver. Their feathers have finally growing back. I agree with everyone that this is a perfect excuse to get more hens! [​IMG]
  8. sweettater

    sweettater Hatching

    Jan 14, 2010
    Thanks for the suggestions! He's less than a year old, so still pretty young. I've tried giving him away without luck. I might try those hen savers... I looked at them but went with the homemade kind to save some dough... Saved the dough, didn't save the hens so maybe it's time to turn to the pros!
  9. joedie

    joedie Songster

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    I have one rooster with 23 hens and he has the feathers off the backs of the popular girls. They free range all day so I don't think space is the issue or the number of hens. I did get some hen savers and they have stayed on pretty good. Occasionally, one comes off but for the most part they work great and all the feathers have come back in.

    LVVCHAP Chirping

    Jun 24, 2008
    I have one roo to 9 hens. Some still have bare backs, I don't know if they are his favorites or it then can't run as fast. [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: