behavior question???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by pintail39, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. pintail39

    pintail39 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 28, 2011
    Hi, this is my first post on BYC so hopefully I am doing it correctly. I have a couple question for the group with a little history. My flock started 7 months ago with 3 silkies and 4 welsummers, one of which turned out to be a rooster (silkie, very beautiful but...)From the beginning this guy was very very very aggressive to his hens but basically did not bother with humans (we could hold him if needed but no cuddles appreciated) the last couple of weeks he was getting more and more aggressive to humans and it reached a plateau yesterday when he attacked me from behind while I was in the outdoor run doing some work. He came at me from behind, I warded him off with my rubber boot (not a kick, just a get away from me fling which stopped the aggression in the past), that seemed to make him worse and he came at me even more aggressively, if he had spurs, I would have been seriously hurt. At that point, my smallest hen (silkie) started chest bumping and flapping him (she has not had a mean bone in her body prior to this). The rooster then turned his aggression toward her attacking us both at the same time. Needless to say, that was the end of it and now I have a rooster -free flock (but sad about that). This morning was the calmest morning in 6 months, none of the hens battled, every one ate, scratched and drank without conflict even between the head hen and the lowest hen (which had never happened before). Just to qualify his aggressiveness, when I was a child we had free range RIR with roosters us kids would have to run from, this silkie was much more aggressive especially to his hens than those roos ever were.

    My questions are 1) was this hen just reacting to the extreme aggression never before seen in her flock or was she protecting me?
    2) are the hens more calm because the rooster is gone or is this a temporary calm until everyone re-establishes their position w/o the rooster?

    The little hen that was involved we actually almost lost a few months back to a crop infection and she lived with me in my bath/bed room for a few weeks so I wonder if she is especially bonded to me???

    thanks (sorry for the long post)
  2. OvertheHenHouse

    OvertheHenHouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2011
    San Diego
    Not a long post - no apologies necessary! And WELCOME!!! This is a great place to be - you'll find lots of great information and good chicken friends here.
    I haven't had your specific situation - so sorry about your roo but clearly it's good he's gone based on your description and experience - but can tell you that the ones I had most interaction with when young or ill are the ones who come to me first and seem to have a connection with me. If I had to answer based on my experience (not a lot, just going on gut here): 1) I believe your hen was trying to protect you, and 2) perhaps their pecking order is already established and they're not being annoyed - and that's why they're calm.
    Hope this helps -
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    1) was this hen just reacting to the extreme aggression never before seen in her flock or was she protecting me?
    2) are the hens more calm because the rooster is gone or is this a temporary calm until everyone re-establishes their position w/o the rooster?

    1) Often chickens will react in this manner to any disturbance like this in the is out of instinct rather than protection towards a human. There has been many a time I've been trying to corner and pick up a chicken and she continued to flap and squawk after I had her pinned down and one of her flock mates would run over and try to peck at her. I've even thrown a broody off the nest and she will sit on the coop floor all puffed up but squatted down and one or two of the other hens will run over and peck at her.

    2) The hens are calm because the pecking order has been disrupted and they have no one to fear right now(especially no one chasing them for mating)...but they will establish a new pecking order and it may make for some interesting time in the coop until it is settled. Then you may have a dominant hen that rules the roost...and you may not and peace may rein for some time.​
  4. slim1986

    slim1986 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2011
    Highfill, Arkansas
    We have had a "dog like" duck who had gotten "protective" to the point of standing in between us and guests we have had over just like a protective dog would when people new to the show up, and he would "attack" our great dane when the dog would get hyper and jump on us. So the hen may have gotten to that point of "you are in my flock and I'll protect you" stage with you like our duck had? Who knows? And in my experience our roosters have always acted as "sheriff" over the flock and broken up fights between hens and just maintained order, we have had aggressive roosters too though and in those cases, I bow up right back and do my "rooster strut" and demonstrating my dominance over the flock as a whole, it probably doesn't work like I think it does, but it makes me feel better! Lol! But, your hens probably have their pecking order all worked out and are just enjoying their aggressive rooster free life
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:Your situation did not at time have what I would consider to be an adult rooster. The bird was approaching maturity and behavior of "cockerol" was typical of one trying to secure top rank which in his heirarchy system included you. He may or may not have calmed down with time. Beekissed may be correct in respect to "pullet" attacking cockerol when you were after him. Also consider possibility that "pullet" is a cockerol as well. I seldom have females attack males they know unless male is of inferior rank.

    Quote:The calmness of flock is indicative of an established and stable pecking order. You may have removed a destabolizing influence by culling cockerol. I have flocks of many make-ups. Males can be associated with social strife but they can also be associated with very stable groupings if male and females are adults. Most folks only see a portion of the behavioral patterns their birds can exhibit and most of the groupings most folks have are unnatural promoting some rather odd / agressive behaviors, especially in males transitioning into adulthood.
  6. TroutsChicks

    TroutsChicks Fluffy Stuffins

    Jun 5, 2011
    baxter Tn
    So what did you do with him? If you culled him did you eat him? They pay crazy amounts in france to eat black chicken..
  7. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Hi and [​IMG]

    1. She could have thought that he was overstepping his "authority", so she was going to issue a beat down. It's how chicken hierarchy works, everyone is in a pecking order. If someone steps out of that pecking order, they'll be reminded by those above them.

    2. It's calm because the stress of an aggressive rooster is gone. A good rooster adds to the flock and keeps things orderly. My wellie rooster doesn't allow fighting among the hens, even when I add a new girl. But a bad rooster makes all the hens stressed. You'll still have a pecking order when one of the hens takes charge, but my guess is it won't be as bad as it was with the rooster there.
  8. pintail39

    pintail39 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 28, 2011
    Yah, my first reply. Thank you all for the great info and support.
    - This guy was aggressive from the day we got him (day 2 of his life), he would go out daily and beat every hen, he would chase them AWAY from the food and even the little silkies that were hiding from him, he would find them and chase them out of their hiding spot and beat them (one time he missed and his beak hit the ground so hard I heard it across the yard). His aggression got worse daily. I tried separating him but he would freak out, strut around vocalizing, not eat or drink, so I thought that was cruel.
    I really think he had a mental issue, since ~ 4 months old he would crow every hour of the day (from before sunrise) and he would crow for up to 30 minutes at a time, he never settled down always running around vocalizing. I thought the crowing was cool and really miss it but seemed weird to me since our neighbors roo only crows a few times a day and for just a couple minutes.

    - I did not eat him (not against it ,just couldn't do it), but let's just say the owls/coyotes ate an pre-killed exotic meal.

    - The little protector hen is definately a hen, she gives me a beautiful little white egg daily (has for ~ 6 weeks).

    - One of my Welsummers I think is definately a top hen but she has been more calm since roo has been gone,

    Think you guys are right, the roo was definatley a stressor to the flock and added negative energy

    thanks again, I am really enjoying BYC,
  9. pinkwindsong

    pinkwindsong Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2011
    Laurens SC
    my larger flock of now young ladies all hatched march 17, lost their roo early of the heat this summer. he was a fantastic rooster very loving to his girls , very sweet to people loved to be held and petted would even purr.. ( I love that about
    dark Brahmas.. the purring, I have a hen that purrs too) anyway.. he never allowed any fighting.. when we lost him the girls were lost for a couple of days then the larges hen took top level.. I have since added younger flockers in ,, and they have roosters in them I have a BR roo that is vocal and a EE roo who is very quiet.. never crows or seams to get upset.. but he doesn't allow aggression among the girls or by one of the cockerels he will run them off a hen even if she isnt in his group.. then hes happy again..

    both of the roosters are very loving to the hens, they are protective without being aggressive, and none are people aggressive.. I wont have a people aggressive animal on my farm.. of any species. so for sure not a flogging rooster..

    let your girls continue to settle and don't be scared off of having a rooster.. the right rooster is a wonderful thing to have.. they keep the peace they are protective , will give themselves to protect hens and chicks.. they keep everyone in line and make fora happy family grouping..

    good luck with a better rooster.. )O(

    hope this helped a little..
  10. pintail39

    pintail39 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 28, 2011
    Hi, Can someone help me? I can not find where or how to start a new post any more..............


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