Do roosters notice illness first in the flock or is mine gifted? lol

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickcrack, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. chickcrack

    chickcrack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 4 year old Old English Game Bantam that tips me off every time a hen is feeling under the weather. I admit it has taken me years to come to this conclusion and trust his judgement!
    He is a very attentive and sweet rooster to his flock of 2 OEGB hen and 6 barred rocks. I have witnessed him several times approach a hen and stare straight into her eyes for 5 minutes or more and then suddenly attack the hen and attempt to chase her away from the flock or even deny her access to the coop. I was alarmed the first time I witnessed this and chased him away several times. Sure enough that hen was dead the next day in her nesting box with no signs of a fight having taken place. I had not noticed any signs of illness. I have witnessed this several times over the years with different hens and each time sure enough that hen was ill which I was able to confirm by separating her and observe poop, eating behaviour or laying. As soon as the hen was fixed up and returned to the flock the rooster would do the same inspection and then accept her back and go to find her treats. Has anybody else observed this or am I giving him too much credit?! Lol. He is always the sweetest boy to his hens so I trust his judgement now on the rare occasion I see this. Just very curious. Thanks!
     
  2. BabyandCotton

    BabyandCotton Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Actually that sounds very possible. It is most likely their instinct to chase away a sick or injured hen so not to pass on disease or attract predators.
    -Liv
     
  3. chickcrack

    chickcrack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the reply. I think I should change his name from Sherman to "Doc"! He's pretty helpful to assist in nipping things in the bud.
     
  4. BabyandCotton

    BabyandCotton Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like you have a great little boy! I'm actually getting some old English game bantams in August.
    -Liv
     
  5. chickcrack

    chickcrack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You will love them! Friendliest little birds. Sherman does have small-man complex tho. I have added 6 large fowl Cochin's that are just 9 weeks old now. Not sure how he will react when he figures out there's a rooster in that mix. So far he ignores the lot of them. Time will tell if they can work things out. But he has not been accepting of his sons in the past!
     
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens have a ritual called the pecking order, and it basically determines who gets to fight, peck, and bully who and what the pecked bird is allowed to do about it.

    Therefor chickens are very very in tune with the health and vitality of every member of the flock because the relative health and vitality of each bird determines, or helps determine it's place in the flock. Chickens are KEEN to detect the first signs of any distress or weakness in the flock members and they are even quicker to act on it to demote an ailing bird.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    He will accept his sons as long as his sons know their places in the flock, or at least their place in the flock as "Doc" sees it. If they bow up, challenge him, or talk chicken trash to "Doc" then all heck will erupt, well depending on "Doc's" health and vitality. Since your OEGB is or will soon be like 4 summers old I do not expect him to keep his place in the pecking order much longer under any conditions.
     
  8. chickcrack

    chickcrack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed. When looking to add to my flock Cochin's appealed to me because I have read that they are generally a docile breed. I'm hoping my tiny Roo can accept stepping down for a break and things can go smoothly. Otherwise cochin roo will need to go. Sherman (Doc) has earned my thanks and a peaceful exsistence for as long as he has.
     

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