Buttercup Hen Got Brutally attacked by Rooster on Wednesday

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by runaelle, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. runaelle

    runaelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 28, 2014
    Northfield Township, MI
    I just finished my permanent coop on Tuesday with a 20 X 20 run and a 20 X 5 coop built into the barn. I only have a total of 22 chickens right now. 18 hens and 3 roos. Not a bad ratio and plenty of space for them. There should be plenty of hens to keep the roos busy.

    I came out on Wednesday evening to see how the first day went in the new space and I find my lone buttercup, Lily sitting on the top of fence very despondent and bleeding. She had perfect plumage on Tuesday and now she looks a lot more like a guinea hen. She has three major wounds on her head and one ear lobe. About a half and inch of her skull was exposed on the top of her head. Sorry I don't have any pictures. I don't have a good camera. I at first thought a hawk attack, but as I watched the alpha roo I noticed that he seem to relish the new space and was terrorizing any and all hens.

    Lily spent a lot of time outside the coop in the trees before the permanent structure was finished, so I think that she may not have been wary of that rooster like the other hens and he may have felt more of a need to dominate her. This would have had to be an extended attack though. There is extensive bruising on the back her neck and head. He tends to grab their combs and swing them around like a dog would if it came to the end of its leash will running.

    I cleaned her up and put a bunch of neosporin on her until I could get her to the vet. I have a 24/7 emergency animal hospital 20 minutes from my house that does appointments between 7am to 7pm and they are very reasonable. They compounded antibiotic for her and put a few staples in the major wound so the skull wouldn't be exposed. She was so calm for her and in general is a very good bird. She will make it, but will have to be in all winter since now she is acclimated to the warmth in the house and Michigan winters are brutal.

    The rooster is a Andalusian and is beautiful with very correct confirmation. He is about 8 months old and I was hoping to hatch some eggs using him in the spring with the Andalusian hens, but now I'm not so sure. He isn't overly aggressive to me, but my husband did have to teach him a lesson last week about attacking humans. Do you think that his aggression towards the hens will pass? I know he has to chase them to mate them, but I can't have this happen all the time. I don't have proof that it was him, but it is the only logical choice. I have him separated out from the group right now to hopefully knock down his status in the group.
     
  2. chasiekitten12

    chasiekitten12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well I would look at the other roosters. Does one of them have blood on their feet or beak if so you have got a culprit. Be careful with her. I would give her some sugar water to boost her and give her energy but that is just me. Wishing you much luck!
     
  3. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Three roos for 18 hens is one too many. You only need one roo per 10 birds. Hopefully you will find the roo that's the culprit and send him to freezer camp.

    But I'm curious...are you absolutely positive it was one of your roosters that did the damage? Head and neck injuries make me suspect a raccoon got her...just thinking.
     
  4. runaelle

    runaelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 28, 2014
    Northfield Township, MI
    Oh I thought it should be 1:6 ratio for fertile eggs. I guess I got mis-information. I may have too, but I don't have the heart to kill him myself or quite enough evidence to prove it was him. I can't see the others doing that.

    I doubt it was a raccoon because it happened between 3pm and 5pm and it was still light out. I don't have coons in the area. They seem to avoid areas that they smell dogs at. I thought it was a hawk at first, but the vet seemed pretty sure that it was roo due to injury patterns and torn feathers.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You should have separate coop/runs for the 'extra' roosters. Competition with multiple roosters can make for very hen aggressive roosters. 1:10 ratio is the industry standard for production facilities. YMMV. Depends on your goals.

    Sometimes lower ratio's will work and sometimes it won't...be prepared with segregation quarters in case you need them, like now. If your serious about breeding multiple pure breeds, you need separate pens anyway.

    It might be better to keep the injured hen in a wire crate, for protection, but within the coop so you don't have to keep her inside all winter and it will smooth reintegrating her back into the flock.
     
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  6. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have 4 dogs, all stay outside 24/7. We have a lot of coons in the area. Since I've gotten my chickens, they have killed 2 coons and usually have one treed on a weekly basis. If your in an area that is known for coons, it's best to assume you have them even though you may not see them.

    I hope you find out what/who caused this and that she gets ok.
     
  7. chasiekitten12

    chasiekitten12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2014
    Keep her safe and cozy & warm!
     
  8. chasiekitten12

    chasiekitten12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lol not sure why it is crossed out but you know whatever.
     
  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Depending on the breed, age (because young roosters tend to be more aggressive/have less finesse), and temperament of the roos you have, three roosters could be too much...or it could be okay. You'll have to watch for wear on your girls and fighting issues - that'll let you know for sure.

    I did have to rehome a beautiful young ameraucana rooster because he was just too rough on my girls, and he was overly aggressive with my orpington hen (he bloodied her comb more than once trying to get her to submit). If a roo had done the damage you wrote about, that roo would be HISTORY at my place - my hens come first! Of course, since you don't know who did it for certain, that's not an option for you right now...

    Could you divide the run/shelter fairly easily??? If so, maybe make 2 or 3 pens/shelters...and place the milder mannered birds in one grouping. You'll need this anyhow if you're wanting the And. roo to breed with the And. hens in the spring - since that's the only way to know for sure that you'll get pure chicks from them...

    Another option is to keep the roos together in a bachelor pen, and only allow them in with the girls when you're wanting fertilized eggs...
     
  10. runaelle

    runaelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 28, 2014
    Northfield Township, MI
    Thank you for the advice everyone. Lily is doing well. The antibiotics and staples seem to have done their job. None of the birds have gotten any damage on them since whatever happened to her. I keep giving that roo the evil-eye just letting him know that I am watching him. The one up-side of the situation now is that Lily is extremely tame and is riding on my shoulder everywhere!
     

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