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Do hens force roosters to the low end of the totem pole?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FarmerCluck, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. FarmerCluck

    FarmerCluck In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2009
    I have observed an interesting phenomenon within my little flock of 5. I have 4 hens and 1 rooster. Originally I had a stepladder in the coop for a roost and the hens staked out the top rungs while the rooster was always down lower. Today my husband and I constructed a roost for them that is all one level with a droppings board below. Our primary motivation is that they were pooping on one another and I wanted a dropping board which would be easy to scrape off. I just went out to shut them in for the night and to see how they were adapting to their new roost. With PLENTY of room to roost (over 50 inches of roosting space for 5 chickens) 2 hens were cuddled up next to each other on one end, with the other 2 spaced a foot or so apart.........the poor rooster was trying to roost on the piece of wood we nailed diagonally across the back to stabilize the whole thing. Could it be that my sweet hens are forcing him to take the "bottom" roost? I'm just curious as to whether or not anyone else has observed this within their flocks.

  2. SC_Hugh

    SC_Hugh Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Santa Cruz, CA
    My 28 sq. ft. coop with 4 chickens: 90% of the time, 3 hens are on the top roost and 1 rooster on the lower middle roost. Sometimes I catch the hens pecking at his comb from the upper roost...mean girls! Once in a while, roo makes it to the top roost, but not very often because the girls go to roost earlier than he does and they grab the top bunk spots and knock him back as he tries to advance to the upper roost. Maybe when it gets cold, they will all get along and roost together for survival warmth. He does go to the upper roost in the morning after the girls go to eat, my roo is always the last one out of the coop in the morning.

    I think it may depend on the dominance of the rooster and their breed. I have a Cochin rooster and Cochins are known to be a docile breed. Also as a youngster, Little Ricky (my roo) was pushed around by the 2.5 week older Dominique pullets. Ricky's sister (his age, 2.5 weeks younger than Doms), she used to block and defend him from the larger two "mean girls".

    A friend of mine had an Ameraucana rooster (I think) and that guy ruled the roost, well until he attacked too many humans and was sent off to the soup kitchen.

  3. mamaKate

    mamaKate Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    SE MO
    I only have two adult standard chickens, a hen and a roo. When they were little, he was an awful bully. He chased her and guarded the food. Now it's reversed. She eats first and roosts first. He has a tizzy if he even thinks someone is bothering her.
  4. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    My roo used to have to roost on the bottom a lot. I think it had more to do with him being bigger/heavier and he had trouble getting up as high as the ladies.

    Heavy RIR roo vs. flightly Leghorns.....them pullets go up 8+ feet if they can, poor Rooster can't get up that high.
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    Maybe it depends on the boy? We have one older Ameraucana flock rooster and 50 hens of various breeds. Our roost is a free-standing hinged A-frame thing so that the hens don't poop on each other. He sleeps top center with hens curled up on either side of him. The hens pick at his tail feathers some times, but mostly he's the boss.

    We also have 3 20 week boys who sleep on the bottom rungs.
  6. The Zoo

    The Zoo Songster

    May 13, 2009
    Hayward, CA
    My EE rooster is 3rd (of 4) on the pecking order and sometimes the big girls let him roost up with them, but at other times he's down on the edge of the nesting box. Poor boy.

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