fighting roos kill hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by klf73, May 7, 2011.

  1. klf73

    klf73 Mad Scientist

    Jun 1, 2008
    Maine
    I have a pen from last year that I didn't downsize yet as the roos weren't fighting. they recently started fighting, pen had 4 roos and 11 hens. I am waiting for someone to pick up the roos for processing so I only needed to wait a few days. The hens started hiding in the coop to stay out of the way and the fighting wasn't constant so I thought I had time. The first hen had a bloody nose and looked beat up, was near the pop door so I thought maybe she just caught with the others running in and out of the coop. I heard a racket the other day and realized the roos started fighting indoors too. I went to check for eggs yesterday and found another hen, she had just laid an egg(wasn't there an hr earlier), she was dead. No obvious trauma. Checked her over...no parasites, no nasal discharge, all other hens look fine other than they are starting to look a little beat up. Roos are leaving tonight, will pull them early. I have 6 pens, no other casualties, no birds brought in. Has anyone ever lost hens due to the roos fighting?
     
  2. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    I have never heard that before; so it must be unusual...maybe someone else has some input.
     
  3. BANTAMWYANDOTTE

    BANTAMWYANDOTTE Chillin' With My Peeps

    530
    11
    121
    Mar 2, 2011
    Kentucky
    I am a proud lover of American Gamefowl, and this story is an unfortunate event and I am sorry that you had to loose a hen. However, there may be a bright side. I am researching this issue as we speak. I have lots of experience stopping Game roosters from fighting.

    Before I give my opinon on the breed I love the most, can you tell me what breeds you have in this coop? All of them if possible and the breed/age of the roosters.......

    I will reply soon
     
  4. klf73

    klf73 Mad Scientist

    Jun 1, 2008
    Maine
    Surprisingly they are ameraucana... admittedly the pen is not large enough for the hens to get away from them..they are a year old and really didn't start to breed till the weather warmed recently, hence the fighting. The hens were an ameraucana and a slw.... dh is building a 12x20 coop but it will be a few weeks til its done.
     
  5. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

    2,435
    15
    171
    Oct 7, 2010
    Conroe, Texas
    Sometimes you just end up with individuals that can be aggressive. Before I seperated 4 of the extra Wyandotte roosters out of our main group noticed one that would be particularly mean to the girls. He took out his aggression on anyone whether male or female. He was the first to become dinner. So I can see how the girls can be seriously hurt or killed if the aggressors are really worked up.

    Every once in awhile I will read a post about a rooster killing a hen but this is rare and normally it is a very aggressive rooster that the person ended up with. If they are having major smack down in the coop the girls could be getting hurt because there is no where to run to get out of the way.

    Having a really high rooster to hen ratio triggers some serious smack downs; however, there are folks that have multiple boys and everything is fine. Just never know how it will turn out sometimes.

    Hope you do not loose anymore girls.
     
  6. BANTAMWYANDOTTE

    BANTAMWYANDOTTE Chillin' With My Peeps

    530
    11
    121
    Mar 2, 2011
    Kentucky
    It is my opinion that while the roosters were fighting this hen likely caught one of them off-guard (probably tryin to get away) and got hit in the head. The impact likely killed her instantly with no pain or suffering, this would explain no signs of physicality.

    My advice:
    Hens develop a "pecking order" when in a flock with a rooster. Without a rooster this is not needed so hens co-habitate well. The signs all say that not only is your Rooster fighting but the hens are as well. I have seen many American Gamefowl hens kill one another to get rid of competition for breeding. This is sad but true for most breeds.

    The cause can be many things here a few causes and how to correct them:

    Too many roosters over-breeding hens and causing stress (solved)

    They likely fight over food too (spread it out)

    They fight for breeding rights (remove the rooster for a little while and slowly return him to the flock for hours at a time. Increase his time with them until he remains all day and night)

    Locate the Dominant Female(s) of the flock and be prepared to either separate , re-home or eat them. (After returning the rooster, if this continues locate the guilty hens and put them in pens all alone. While they are gone a new pecking order will come about and hopefully the new alpha hens will be less aggressive. Keep them separated around a month)

    If that fails, then your hens are not happy and need more space (solved)

    Best of luck friend


    Hope this helps


    Timothy from KY
     
  7. klf73

    klf73 Mad Scientist

    Jun 1, 2008
    Maine
    I did notice the one california white that is in with them is picking the girls beards [​IMG] .... I will probably try her with the free range flock once the roos are gone(separating them tomorrow since the person that was going to take them to process couldn't come)...my free range girls run the place, they will show her how to behave [​IMG] . I feel bad because individually these roos are nice, never attacked me or my kids....but I can hear them bouncing off the coop walls when I go to let them out and my girls seem to get the brunt of it [​IMG]
     
  8. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    BANTAMWYANDOTTE wrote: Hens develop a "pecking order" when in a flock with a rooster. Without a rooster this is not needed so hens co-habitate well.

    Hens always develop a pecking order with or without a rooster. The fighting among the hens does elevate when rooster battles are taking place with such regularity. I think the hens sort of align themselves with a particular rooster sometimes and form sub groups which fight with each other.​
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by