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Bullying on Roost ~ Cockerel

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Stuck in the Coop, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. Stuck in the Coop

    Stuck in the Coop Songster

    Jun 21, 2011
    North Central, MO
    About a month ago I integrated 2 flocks for a total of 10 pullets - 1 cockerel. The older pullets should be laying within a couple weeks and are dominate. The 'new' pullets and cockerel are unknown age but pullets appear about 3 months old. Cockerel started crowing 2 weeks ago, I'm guessing he is @ 4 months old. There was the normal pecking and chasing but it was never violent and has mostly settled down.

    The cockerel has hung with the young girls he came with and tries to breed them (a lot [​IMG] ) The last 3 nights he has started pecking the young girls as they come to the roost. He bullies them so bad they holler and fall/jump down. He will eventually allow them to stay on roost if they turn backs to him and hunker down but it is stressing them (and me) out. I have 2 roost boards, each 6 foot long, 8 inches apart so there is plenty of room.

    I snatched him off the roost last night and put him in chicken jail until late morning. I made sure all the girls saw me holding him and then put him in cage they could see. I worked in coop around him all morning so he would be near me and hopefully see me as dominate but kind. I should mention all the newer birds are not tame. The cockerel is a Light Brown Leghorn so he is especially flighty. They will now come within 6 feet of me, before it was twice that, but still run if I walk even near them. My older pullets are very tame, they sit on my lap or chair and follow me around the yard. He does not bully the older pullets, they kick his butt daily.

    He isn't even big enough to think about eating. *Sigh* I had such hopes for him, he is beautiful and I really wanted a protector for the girls.

    Is there any hope he will overcome these teenage hormones? He is so young I'd like to cut him some slack but this seems a pretty serious flaw. Perhaps once the older pullets begin letting him breed he will move to that flock? Has anyone else experienced this with a young jerk of a cockerel?

  2. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Songster

    Oct 16, 2009
    Most cockerels are little (or big!) jerks when their testosterone first kicks in. They have all of the urges and none of the style!

    It sounds as though he is probably getting frustrated, and with chickens pecking is the usual way of showing this.

    I would probably put him in with a couple of the older birds and work up from there, only introducing his younger pullets when he and the older pullets have sorted out pecking order.
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Normally, older roosters which often include dad suppress such anitques until young males are booted from natal flock. Isolating him for a month or two will reduce harassment of pullets. Once he fills out then the protective nature will become evident.

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