Gender Confusion?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by the5ksinusa, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. the5ksinusa

    the5ksinusa Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 8, 2012
    We got new chicks in July as our flock was decimated down to one hen. We got one rooster with our chicks. At first we thought he would naturally take over the flock but it seems that older hen seems to have a different idea. Over the last couple of days she got increasingly aggressive towards the rooster. Every time she sees rooster jumping a hen she attacks him. But not only that, she made an attempt at crowing and this morning I saw her her jumping a hen (not fighting - jumping) and after she was done she proceeded straight to laying an egg. How weird is that...

    No really a question here as I just intend to let it play out. but it is so weird to watch.
    1 person likes this.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Flock dynamics.
    When the rooster becomes mature, he'll most likely take over.
    A hen that has ruled the roost doesn't want to give up dominance so easily.

    You're taking the right approach.
  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Gender roles can be somewhat fluid amongst poultry due to chickens having both male and female sex cells. It can even go beyond behavior. Chickens, if the right environmental stressors are present, can even change appearance, hens taking on rooster characteristics, though it's much rarer for roosters to take on characteristics of hens.

    Sometimes hens can have spurs and crow from time to time, apparently for no reason whatsoever.

    Nothing about chickens should surprise you. They are inherently fascinating creatures.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    What you are describing is not as unusual as you may think, I had something similar happen. What you have is one mature hen with a bunch of pullets and one cockerel. The hen is mature, the cockerel is not. Right now she is the dominant one over all of them. Once he matures enough he’ll take over but for now she is the boss and is not shy about letting the others know it.

    Sometimes hens without a mature rooster in the flock will mount other hens or pullets, going through the entire mating procedure, down to touching vents. I’ve seen that. It’s not that she is weird or kinky, mating is a dominant behavior, the one on top is the dominant one. She’s in a flock, she is the boss, and she is letting all the others know it. When the cockerel tries to mate another pullet that is a direct threat to her dominance so she knocks him off.

    I saw all that play out in my flock a few years back. When my cockerel finally matured to the point he would face up to the hen, he actually was fairly brutal to her for a couple of days. He’d attack her just out of the blue. Since he was bigger and finally had the nerve to face her, he won. After two days of that behavior she finally submitted to him. She quit fighting or trying to run away and squatted for him. Before long they were best of buddies.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by