Can a hen be possessive of the rooster?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NSChickies, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. NSChickies

    NSChickies New Egg

    Mar 15, 2017
    I have 5 golden comet hens and one SLW rooster. Hens are almost 2 years old and the rooster is similar age. The hens have been together since chicks and the rooster was introduced a year ago with no issues...until the last couple weeks. They have a 10'x20' coop and a 100'x100' run for them to free range in. Although it has been cold and snowy here so there hasn't been a lot of ranging the last couple months. I noticed that one hen seemed to be losing feathers from tail and wings the last couple weeks and another is getting the bare patches on her shoulders from mating. Then I went out and the hen who was losing feathers was bleeding so I cleaned her up and separated her for the night. In the morning I put her out to free range with the others. When the rooster began to show attention to her the hen with the bare shoulders started chasing her around, attacking her, and pulling her wing feathers so I separated her into a small pen within the larger pen so the aggressive hen couldn't get at her and plan to bring her in again for the night.

    The aggressive hen seemed to stay really close to the rooster after that and I'm wondering if it is possible that she has become possessive of him and doesn't want him to mate with the other hens? Which would explain why she has bare shoulders and none of the other hens do because he does not seem to be an abusive rooster generally. Has anyone seen this in their hens before?

    I have just upped their protein and I'm hoping that now spring is here that they will be outside more and it wont be an issue. I'm also going to try the Vick's vaporub to deter the feather picking that was suggested elsewhere.

    Any insights into this strange behaviour would be much appreciated
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Peeps are a-peeping Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Hens that stick with a rooster often get higher status and protection in exchange for matings.

    She will not grow back her feathers until the fall molt. If she's being ripped you will need to get her a hen saddle. I personally catch all my roosters a couple of times a year and trim all nails and spurs to prevent them from wounding the hen.

    The pecking order, and chicken politics, are quite complex at times and things are always changing. Removing any member with often cause disturbances so it's best to never remove a member. Penning them within the coop or run will help to keep them a part of the flock.

    Your hen is using the rooster to up her position in the flock because he will often back up favorite hens and protect them from other hens.
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by