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AUGH - Aggressive rooster or normal teenager/pecking order behavior?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by The Zoo, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. The Zoo

    The Zoo Songster

    May 13, 2009
    Hayward, CA
    I have three hens and a rooster. Two of the hens are a year and half and the other hen and roo are 7 months old. He was unintentional.

    Up until yesterday/today they have all pretty much gotten along with the 2 older hens being dominant. Yesterday the roo challenged the older hen and chased her around the run but didn't hurt her. I thought it was him making his place in the flock.

    This morning there was a squabble where I broke it up because I was worried he was going to hurt one of my hens (she had her head through the coop and he was trying to mount her and it was violent looking). Then everything was fine for several hours.

    Just now I heard even louder squabbling and I ran outside to find him chasing her around before he pinned her in the corner of the coop. The guy who is building our deck said it looked like he was trying to kill her.
    I was worried because her comb was pale and she was freaking out. I whacked him off of her and picked her up and took her in the house to clean her up. He'd ripped out feathers on the back of her head and bloodied her comb to the point it looked like she has a bloody nose.

    Is this normal teenage rooster making himself dominant or are these signs of an aggressive rooster? He has never come after a human/dog/cat etc. He mates the younger hen but has never mated an older one. Though he has tried in the past they have always chased him off.

    I would appreciate people not just telling me to put him in freezer camp or make soup out of him - I'm a vegetarian and he is a pet. But if he's going to hurt my hens and this is out of the ordinary, I'm willing to get rid of him.

  2. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Young roos are clumsy and foolish... they'll work it out.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I pretty much agree with Portagegirl. He is trying to establish dominance and the older girls are not ready to let him. His efforts are clumsy and he is still not mature enough to force his will on them. The older girls do not want to give up their dominant position. If he can force them to mate a few times, he can establish that dominance.

    Since he has injured a hen, you might want to separate him from the older hens until he matures some more. I can't tell you how long would be enough. From your post, I don't think he is hurting the younger pullet so it does not sound like he is an "aggressive" rooster. He is just trying to find his instinctive position within the flock.
  4. thespinningcottage

    thespinningcottage Songster

    Jun 24, 2009
    Arcadia, Florida
    Our rooster worked very hard to establish his dominance with his 8 hens. He bloodied one of the girls' combs once but not severely. He is now 8 months old and has settled down nicely. For a couple of weeks we contemplated getting rid of him but I'm so glad we waited. He's really cool now! I think you did the right thing to save the older hen from his advances. I don't have a lot of experience but I believe you should just continue to keep an eye on his behavior and hope for the best while protecting the hens. Give him a chance.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2009
  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:I agree.
  6. M To The Maxx

    M To The Maxx Baseball+Girls=Life

    Jul 24, 2009
    Quote:I agree.
  7. The Zoo

    The Zoo Songster

    May 13, 2009
    Hayward, CA
    I removed the hen he hurt and have her where I can tend her and she can be watched (um my bathtub).
    I let him and the other 2 hens (one is the younger one) into the chicken run we have and they were just fine for a while. He even let the younger hen have his cherry tomato I brought over for him (I'd brought more for the other girls) so I think he's doing the 'treats for my favorite' thing.
    He tried to mate the older hen later in the day and she was having none of it, heard a squabble, they knocked over the fence and I was chasing chickens out of the veg garden.
    Also - I gave the hens yogurt and applesauce later in the day and he let the older hen eat some (while I watched) and then clucked the younger one out of the coop to come get some. It's an interesting dynamic.
    I'm glad he's not aggressive, just clutsy and stupid.

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