Chicken foreplay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Marksnagel, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. Marksnagel

    Marksnagel Hatching

    Sep 14, 2013
    Here is a question for all you master chickens out there. We have a young rooster and he had never shown any interest in the hens. While the wife and I were out there this afternoon, "Frank" chased and knocked down our turken hen. She just lay there on the ground very still and Frank looked at her kinda weird. Was that chicken foreplay? Was Frank aggressive? Is Frank confused? Are we confused? Was she being submissive?
    My wife now wants him gone. I say it was normal.
    A little info please.


  2. Marksnagel

    Marksnagel Hatching

    Sep 14, 2013
    OK, Just went to youtube. You can find anything there within reason. It looked like what Frank was up to only Frank is dumb and hasn't figured it all out yet. Still the wife won't watch the video so I need you to let her know if it is normal.
  3. kaybats

    kaybats Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    I think it sounds pretty normal....also watch for him to "do a little dance" before he tries to mount a hen. Youngsters just starting out are usually pretty clumsy at first but they get the hang of it soon enough!

    There are so many mean rooster horror stories so I'm sure your wife is just worried. But really, in my opinion as with most animals (including humans) a "mean" or aggressive chicken is pretty easy to spot.
  4. Marksnagel

    Marksnagel Hatching

    Sep 14, 2013
    Thank so much. That eased some of her worries.
  5. LeviParker

    LeviParker In the Brooder

    Jun 10, 2013
    I have a young rooster and young hens .. He will run up to them and kinda push em down but that's it.. They aren't old enough yet but I think they are just learning following instinct .. Not aggressively

  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    In a “normal” mating the rooster dances. He drops a wing and sort of circles his target. That lets her know he is interested.

    The hen squats. She gets flat on the ground. That way the rooster’s weight goes through her entire body into the ground, not just through her legs.

    The rooster hops on the hen and grabs the back of her head. The head grab not only helps him get in the right position to hit the target and helps him keep his balance, but it is her signal to raise her tail up out of the way.

    The rooster touches vents and hops off.

    The hen stands up, fluffs up her feathers, and shakes. This fluffy shake is her way of getting the sperm into the right place in her body to fertilize the eggs.

    There are all kinds of variations of this. Not all roosters dance but some just grab or hop on. This is normally juveniles that have not reached enough maturity to have enough self-confidence. He should outgrow this.

    A lot of the time the hen runs away instead of squatting. That’s not at all unusual and there are lots of variations. Sometimes she runs and the rooster ignores her, just walks away. Sometimes he chases her. She might run a few steps them squat. She was just checking to see it he was really interested. Sometimes she keeps running and he keeps chasing. He might eventually just stop or he might catch her and force her. As long as she squats and does not continue fighting, she’ll be fine.

    Sometimes a rooster will dance for one hen and a nearby hen will squat. My rooster usually ignores the squatting hen and keeps after his first target.

    The mating behavior is not just sexual. It’s also dominance behavior. The one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. I’ve seen a hen in a flock without a dominant rooster mount another hen to show her dominance, all the way to touching vents.

    When you introduce a mature rooster to a flock of hens, remove the rooster form his flock for a few minutes then put him back, or remove a hen for a few minutes and put her back, he will often immediately mate with her of a hen in the flock to show that he is still dominant.

    A rooster needs to be dominant to perform his flockmaster duties. How can he break up fights and keep peace in his flock if the other chickens beat the crap out of him? How can he call them to food or warn them of danger if they ignore him? How can he make sure the eggs are fertile if another chicken might knock him off when he tries?

    Obviously for this to go well, the rooster and the hens all need to do their part. If a hen won’t accept his dominance he may need to force her a few times. As long as she squats at the end, it should turn out OK.

    A lot of times with young immature chickens they just don’t know what to do. The cockerel normally matures faster than the pullets. He has hormones running wild and out of control, telling him to fertilize eggs but also to establish dominance and be flockmaster. The pullets are usually more immature and don’t know what is going on, just that this upstart cockerel is trying to establish dominance and no thank you, they are having none of that! Eventually, they will all mature enough that peace is restored in the flock, but it can get real messy until that happens.

    When will that happen? Each chicken has its own personality and each flock has its own dynamics. I’ve seen a 13 week old pullet squat for a 13 week old cockerel. She didn’t lay an egg for another two months. That was pure dominance, nothing really sexual. Not often but I’ve seen it. I’ve seen a 5 month old cockerel be able to dominate a flock of pullets and perform his flockmaster duties. That’s a little early too. I’ve seen it take a cockerel 11 months to establish his dominance over all the hens in the flock. There is no set timetable. They are all different.

    How old is that rooster and the others? If he has reached much into puberty he probably should have tried mounting that pullet or hen. But it’s quite possible they were just bumping each other to establish pecking order status, not getting into the mating ritual, flock dominance, and all that.
    1 person likes this.
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    I heartily agree with everything that Ridgerunner said, x2.

    Thanks for typing all that out!
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
  8. Marksnagel

    Marksnagel Hatching

    Sep 14, 2013
    Wow! I really appreciate all your knowledge being passed on. You have answered all the questions I had in one posting.

    The rooster is recently filling out with all his fancy plumage. The hens are all older than he is. They were all given to us by a friend that has a huge flock so we took what they gave us. All good healthy birds already laying. What you described is what is going on. The hen plopping to the ground and being submissive. He is not quite into the mating dance yet but in time he will figure it out. He is not an aggressive fella and will take crackers and food from my hand.

    Again, I really appreciate your efforts to allieve my wifes (and my) concerns.

    Have a blessed day.
    Mark <><
  9. hosspak

    hosspak Songster

    Sep 2, 2013
    Lake Elsinore, CA.
    I think I just read my first chicken porn story.... Gosh, BYC really does have everything! [​IMG]

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