Can my hens be "OVER-SEXED"?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by buildingmyark, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. buildingmyark

    buildingmyark Songster

    May 2, 2010
    Apologies in advance for such a strange question...I know that we don't completely understand the chicken psyche, but I feel like a few of my hens are getting "it" a little too often. I know animals don't tend to be romantic while mating, but by gosh... Watching the chickens do it looks like something illegal! I just don't want my girls to be mistreated.

  2. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Songster

    Oct 16, 2009
    Chicken mating is ....well....rough!

    i see my huge Brahma boys thundering along the path and grabbing the hens and feathers flying with quite a bit of commotion. The hens can be scratched on their backs.

    I have provided the boys' three 'favourite' hens with chicken saddles and that has been an asset to prevent back feather loss.

  3. buildingmyark

    buildingmyark Songster

    May 2, 2010
    Thank you Sandie, I have not had any problems with feather loss YET, thankfully! So should I not be concerned about this... Or rather, when should I be concerned?
  4. Jasmine1998

    Jasmine1998 Songster

    Mar 14, 2010
    Montgomery County
    My GLW Roo does not even know what to do yet. It is terrible & he is make a mess of the hens. Everytime I have seen him, he is either on sideways or backwards. Hopefully for then hens sake, he figures it out.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Quote:Some feather loss is normal and is not a concern. The next phase is bare spots beginning to show up, either on the back, on the top of the wings, or on the back of the head. This is not a case for panic but you should start to watch and maybe take some action. It takes some judgment on your part as to how critical it is getting. The critical, I better do something right now, phase is if you see blood or raw flesh.

    I have no idea what to do if the problem is on the back of the head. A saddle can help if the problem is on the back. Trimming spurs and cutting off the sharp tip of his claws can help both the back and the top of the wings. Some people think this is mutilation of the rooster, but I find it is like trimming your toenails. As long as you don't go deep enough to get to the quick, it does not hurt him at all.

    What often appears to be mistreatment to us is really just instinct to the chickens. Some roosters are just brutes and bullies. No other good way to describe them. Many go through that phase when they are adolescents but outgrow it as their hormones calm, their technique gets better, and the hens cooperate more.

    Usually, if you have any barebacked hens, it is only a few, not all. Some people think a rooster picks out his favorites and overmates with them. I think it is more that certain hens like to hang out close to the rooster so they are more of a target of opportunity. Maybe a bit of both. I think the size difference plays a big part. My smaller hens are the ones with the problem, not my larger hens. A hen will more willingly submit to a rooster that treats her right, that gets her treats, protects her, dances for her instead of just pounce, does all the things that a good rooster is supposed to do when he is wooing a girl. For a hen to more willingly submit, the rooster needs to overwhelm her with his personality. That's where the adolescent roosters often get into trouble. Until they get a certain amount of maturity, the hen's personality dominates theirs, yet the hormones are raging and they are big enough physically to force the hen. What's a boy to do? If the rooster's hormomes demand he do his instinctive duty and fertilize those eggs and the hen does not cooperate, it can get pretty physical. But them I have that Australorp (physically very small) that will squat for anything wearing spurs and she is missing some feathers. I'm pretty sure it is more complicated than I made it sound.

    Bottom line is that a few feathers flying or even a small bare spot is not a big deal. But the bigger those bare spots get, the more serious it gets. It is not a problem in most flocks, but it can be a deadly problem when it gets serious.

    Hope this helps.
  6. CCFarms9559

    CCFarms9559 Songster

    Jul 16, 2010
    Jeffersontown, Ky
    I had to rehome a hen that got her neck cut by the rooster. Everytime I got it healed up, he would get her again. Never could get feathers regrown to protect it - so I finally found her a home.
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The drive to reproduce their species can't be called "over-sexed". They're animals. It's what they do.

    ETA: that said, too many roosters with the hens is a very bad idea. They can be killed from overmating.

  8. geebs

    geebs Lovin' the Lowriders!

    Sep 28, 2008
    It's Jungle love.. Or in this case Jungle fowl love.. ha ha [​IMG]
  9. bigstack

    bigstack Songster

    Jan 4, 2010
    Texarkana, TX
    I had way too many roo's and my girls paid for it! I had 19 roo's in with 23 hens. The boys would litterally grab the head of the hen and hold it while the mounted roo did his thing. Then the next one would jump on as soon as there was room! My girls have bald spots and a few have even had the back of their neck/head ripped open! I have since gotten down to 4 roo's for the 23 hens. 1 big 1, 1 pretty one, and 2 wimps that almost never get a girl. ( they are my lap chickens, they are so sweet and gentle!) I still feel so bad for the girls!! Every time I go out and see their necks i feel guilty! I just couldn't decide. BUT, finally enough was enough. I had to do it for the girls sake. They are so much quieter and calmer now. I know I am horrible for waitting so long but I have a soft heart when it comes to animals. They all had their own spot in it. But I finally realized the girls were suffering. That just wasn't fair. So I placed an add on CL and gave away 7. I had processed 8 before. So I guess the asnwer is a HUGE YES!!!!!

    Good luck and God Bless

    P.s. The roo's never really fought! They just took turns.
  10. buildingmyark

    buildingmyark Songster

    May 2, 2010
    Thank you all for the wonderful responses. This makes me feel much better!

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