Becoming more aggressive with eachother..? Is this a sign of mating?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CA Bean, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. CA Bean

    CA Bean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi all,
    My chickies are now roughly 5ish months. I have 3 roosters and only 1 crows. Anyhow it seems like in the last couple days there have been a ton of feathers around and I have seen my big Brahma roo either trying to get on top of a small EE gal and when she/they freak out he grabs them by the wing and they run away..what is going on? I have also seen my other ( favorite EE) Roo has been kinda of a jerk too some of the gals too. I saw him peck at a few girls also. Not sure what is going on as they have plenty of room in their run. 400 sft per 19 chicks and we just got them in to their bigger coop yesterday! YEAH! Or could they be stressed because of the change in house? Thankfully the Roos don't fight.
    ANy Ideas? Are they practicing mating? Perplexed! I don't want a group that peck at eachother..BTW they are friendly and nice to us humans. We pick em up etc.
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I believe what you are seeing with your brahma roo is mating behavior. He wants to mate, the hens aren't quite ready, so they're fighting him. Once they are ready, he'll grab the hen by the neck feathers, she'll squat and it'll be over in (literally) five seconds.
    Minor pecking is also normal chicken behavior. It's how they keep each other in line. My roos will peck at a girl if she doesn't do what he wants her to do after giving her other signals, such as circling her or wing dipping. My hens peck at each other if someone forgets their place in the pecking order or when they're annoyed with the other for some reason. Again, the pecks are minor and no injury results. Chickens don't have hands, so they use their beaks.
    You're likely to find that your alpha rooster does the majority if not all the crowing. They have ways of intimidating their subordinate roos to keep them in their place. If the subs. are submissive enough they can live peacefully together. If one of the subs. gets the idea in his head to challenge your alpha, that's when the fighting starts.
     
  3. CA Bean

    CA Bean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh interesting.....wow the lives of chickens. haha - lol. Funny because my EE Rooster is the only one crowing and he is not even as big as big daddy Roo- Light Brahma..he kinda scares me just picking him up cuz he is so big. haha. Well I guess then all the feathers in the run is normal huh?

    One more Q..is it ok for the gals to sleep in their nesting boxes? They aren't laying yet but a few jumped in there tonight to check it out. I put most all of them on the roost to get them used to it.
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Something I forgot to mention. Lots of feathers laying around can be a sign of moult too, but since your chickens are only about 5 months old I would think it's too early for even a mini-moult.
    It doesn't surprise me that your crowing roo is not the largest. Both of my roos are brahmas, however my alpha Zeus is half the size of the sub. roo, Thor. Size doesn't matter. Thor who at 9 months old weighs 13 lbs. squeals like a little girl if Zeus even looks at him the wrong way. Thor doesn't try to mate if Zeus is around and he won't crow if he thinks Zeus will catch him at it.
    How many hens do you have? Too many roos for the number of hens and your hens will be miserable from the alpha mating them whenever he wants and the subs. trying to mate without getting caught by the alpha.
    Watch your chickens long enough and you'll see the pecking order in action. Everyone knows their place and it sometimes hurts us humans to see one being treated (what we feel is) unfairly, but they have a system and it works well for them. The lower members of the flock find ways of dealing with their lot in life.
    Sleeping in the nest boxes? Oh no! Not something you want happening once your eggs arrive or you'll end up with a bunch of poop covered eggs.
    If your nest boxes aren't lower than your roosts, they should be. Chickens naturally want to go as high as possible to roost at night and if the highest place in your coop is your nest boxes then guess what?
    I have my roosts higher than my nest boxes and still had a few stubborn girls that favored sleeping in the boxes. It took two weeks of me going out there at night and moving them to the roosts to break them of the habit. You have to be consistent with moving them every night. Also, I used a blue penlight to see by. Enough for me to see to move them, but not enough for them to see and move right back again. Chickens don't like to move around in the dark.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  5. CA Bean

    CA Bean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for all the wisdom! I have 3 roos and the rest are hens. So 16 hens. I think 1 of the roos will go at some pt... Also the roosts are higher than the nesting boxes but alot of them are used to sleeping on the floor-bad I know. Last night I moved them all up on the roost. I made the mistake of putting some seeds in the nesting boxes too. Should I block the nesting boxes off for now or just keep them open since they may be nearing in the next month or so?
    TIA
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I'd leave your nest boxes open at this point. Just keep putting the chickens back on the roosts at night to re-train their little brains. Oh, you can add some golf balls or fake eggs to the nest to help them know where to lay when the time comes.
     

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