Do chickens pair for life?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by luludaxia, May 4, 2017.

  1. luludaxia

    luludaxia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hub is going to sell one of our roosters, a light sussex rooster. It does make sense:
    1. We have too many roosters, 27 free ranging chickens, 6 of them roosters.They fight often and interfere each other in mating.
    2. This one is unusually aggressive, he attacks me and my hub, and he bully other roosters.
    3. We bought him with our light sussex hen together from the same person, so they may be related, which causes inbreeding.

    But he and the light sussex hen are a pair, they are raised together, they are always together, the hen follows him everywhere, they perch together in the night. So I'm not sure what the response of our hen if he suddenly disappears. Would she forget him quickly and find other friend or would she pine? Anybody has experience in this aspect? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    No. Chickens do not "mate for life" as some species of ducks do.

    What you are likely seeing with your Sussex pair is an attachment formed when they were brooded together as chicks. That bond does indeed last for life, but it has nothing at all to do with mating.

    Yes, your hen will get over having her buddy gone. It will be a change, and she may be stressed for a few days, but she will move on.
     
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  3. luludaxia

    luludaxia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!
    I know it would be better to sell him. But sometimes you can grow just too attached to them. Always seeing them together I am used to the idea that they are a couple. Just now I went to the barn saw them perching closely to each other. And I felt tears filling my eyes when I think I would never see this again. Maybe I am imposing my own feelings on other animals, while they do not think as I do.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Your emotions are a lot more powerful than your Sussex pair. Their relationship is a habitual bond and nothing further. It's probably not even as strong as other "friendships" that adult chickens form as they go through life together. I have some chickens that have been friends for eight years and they're inseparable. A few months ago, one of the trio died, and the other two went on as if nothing had happened.

    Your rooster will have new hens to occupy his attentions, and your Sussex hen will hang out with the flock.

    The one sustaining relationship that is as crucial to chickens as our relationships with other humans is the one they have with their flock. As long as a chicken has other chickens, even if they have conflicts, they are content.
     
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