Cockerel biting hen's neck

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by messianicmom, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. messianicmom

    messianicmom In the Brooder

    Jul 21, 2009
    Tonight, for the first time, my son and I noticed one of our cockerels (around 15-18 weeks old), a Buff, attacking the two Buff pullets. He will bite onto the back of their necks and hold on; the girls are making a most aweful sound. Plus, when we were rounding them up for the night tonight, he bit my son's hand; again, that's never happened. This male is usually very docile so I don't know what's going on.
    Anyone have any idea? Is he going to have to be our first kill? I was thinking he was going to be the one we'd keep since he was so calm-up till today.


  2. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Crowing

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    He's just fertilizing your eggs for you. Some Roo's are a little more aggressive when they hit their prime and start liking their girls. But, everyone around here usually says, all mean Roo's must go to freezer camp.

    Mine are very docile.

    What breed is he? You just say buff............ Is that a Buff Orp? I don't have any, but I have heard they are a docile breed.
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Hi and welcome to BYC!
    What you have described sounds like early mating behavior to me. The young cockerels can be pretty dang clumsey about it. The cockerels usually mature a little bit faster than the pullets, so the pullets are resistant and chaos erupts.
    As far as biting your son or anyone goes, he's testing the waters. He has all this testosterone hitting his little brain at once and he thinks he's king of the world. There's lots of threads here about showing the young upstart who is boss.
    Good luck to you.
  4. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    The hormones are raging!!!!

    He's getting ready to try out his stuff, but the ladies aren't very receptive yet. It will probably work out in time as he gains experience and the ladies reach maturity too.

    Don't know what to say about biting you. The only one I had that bit me constantly was my first kill.
    The rooster I kept only attacks things that provoke him, which might have been the case if you guys were "rounding up the hens" but his brother "Mr Biter" would walk up to me when I was just working in the yard and bite my arms for NO reason. I can put up with aggression that I can control and understand the reason behind (there are probably calmer roosters than mine, but we get along), but not unprovoked attacks! I refuse to put up with it!

    Why do you have to round up your chickens anyway??? Mine know where the coop is and they are already in bed by the time it's too dark to read. I come home from work, do a head count, grab the late eggs and lock the doors. Easy!

  5. Does he also do the sideways dance around the hen, with one wing down?

    Does he first pretend to have a tasty treat on the ground to lure the hens over to him?

    Did he "grab on" to your son just as he was trying to grab a hen by the neck?

    Is he grabbing the back of her neck, to hop on top of her?

    The biting thing turned into a trick my littlest son calls "put your dragon on" for a piece of banana (the roo's favorite hen lure). One day the littlest son got bit, so we studied what the heck was going on, discovered the above noted mating behaviors, and learned to watch out for that stuff. Now that the roo is more accustomed to his testosterone, he can be talked out of biting very easily "move on, already, nothing going on here....oh, its you....oh sorry...." or whatever small talk to save face. He is, after all, trying to impress the ladies. He can fluff out his mane and tail like a fantastic dragon, very showy, very beautiful.

    One son also provided a "humpy duck" (see that Adam Sandler movie about the remote control) which provided the young roo with some fine entertainment while his ladies grew up another few weeks.....
  6. Chic Chick

    Chic Chick Songster

    Dec 30, 2008
    East Central Alberta
    Whatever you do, don't try to scare him away from the hens/pullets or stop him while he's attempting to mate with them. He might start to associate you or your kids with being competition for them and really start to attack. The young cockeral really don't know how to do the deed at first, and the pullets aren't receptive yet so they don't squat and wait for the mating to be done.
  7. messianicmom

    messianicmom In the Brooder

    Jul 21, 2009
    Thanks everybody! CAMMY, he's a Buff Orpington and he's huge; is the most alert and "cocky" in his walk, has the biggest comb, wattle (sp?), etc...though isn't the top cock...yet. I think he's trying to take the position of the Barred Rock male. They have cockle dooing competitions frequently.
    Anyway, I think your all right. He's been fluffing himself like mad. He's been very docile; my son (9) can pick him up and he just so still but now I'm worried.
    Thanks, GRITSAR; I'm trying to be prepared to grab his beak and pin him down or something. But to be honest, I'm a little afraid and I don't want issues with the children, safety wise. I'm probably over-reacting; this is our first experience.
    TALA, he watches me more than he used to and was following me around tonight; I keep being concerned that he would do just as you said! He crowed when I went out there to clean. So did the other male (the third male is another Barred and he neither crows nor is the slightest bit aggesive or interested in what is going on, I know too many males per females-we have to remedy the situation) So I walked around with a broom.[​IMG]
    As for the "rounding up", I'm still waiting for my husband to finsh the tractor. It's partly done. My husband has seizures and back deterioration, so it's been a slow process, so we round into large dog crates in the shed every night. During the day, they walk around the fenced yard and if the hawks are out, go into 2 partially finished extra large dog crates. I'm praying it will be finished within the week; I know it makes things worse. How did you get them trained so nicely?
    ST. CHARLES, he doesn't do all those dancs yet. My son wasn't trying to grab any hen at the time. It seems he acts this way as the sun is going down. My children have been out there for hours w/them with no problems. But around 4 pm, things seem to change and at round-up time he is the first in, but gets very aggitated if the others do not come in with him and he's alone.
    He was just grabbing the back of her neck with what I saw and what the children have been seeing. They say he harasses or 'bully's' the hens. There's only been one instance where they have seen him try to get on top.

    What should I do? I know not to interupt him. But as far as being out there with him, I'm just nervous and I don't like being being nervous in MY OWN BACKYARD! My son's not nervous, just me. I'm thinking, since we pay so much attention to hawks after our first set of 5 wk olds were slaughtered by one (and our mobile tractor will be covered overhead now ), then we should just have males to raise to butcher weight so I don't have to deal with this hormonal stuff.

    thanks in advance

  8. kelidei

    kelidei ~*Dances with chickens*~

    Mar 18, 2009
    Northern Illinois
    Quote:Hi! I have had an on-going issue with one of my 6 roos. My Blue Andalusian Capt'n Jack [​IMG]

    I almost sent him to freezer camp because he flogged me several times and I ended up looking like someone was beating me!!! I started walking around with a broom as well but it didn't seem to deter him. I read some good threads here about rehabilitating mean roos and I discovered that just like with dogs you have to become the pack leader or in this case the alpha "roo" . I was afraid of him and I think he knew it. So--- I put on heavy clothes, including gloves and when he started coming at me I just grabbed him tucked him under my arm and held him until he settled down and then would set him down. I just did this over and over again then I read in a post here that when you hold him put your finger on top of their beak (or head) and hold his head down--- looking at the ground for a few minutes--- do not let him look up! This made a big difference. I also do things like make him wait for his treats (I hand feed him)... I also ignore him a lot and just go about my business. Things are MUCH better these days. Once in a while he will try a sneak attack (and I just grab him and put him in his place) but now I can actually go sit with my girls again in that coop and pen and he doesn't bother me. It took patience, perseverance and fearlessness. I do not know if this will work for you--- and I also did not have the concern of having young children around since mine are adults and I have no grandchildren yet (what are they waiting for!?!?!?) so I could rehab him without worry about little ones I would say that if he is otherwise a good roo (like my Jack) and you feel you can keep little ones safe I would give it a try. I am sure someone will post links to the thread I read earlier but if not just search the boards for "taming a rooster" or "mean roosters" Good luck!

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