Gentle Rooster getting Bullied

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by HuttonFarm, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. HuttonFarm

    HuttonFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 2, 2010
    Afton, NY
    Current flock: I have a very gentle black Orpington Rooster (Monty). He has a hatch mate, Stewie. We have 5 young hens and 1 old hen (no one messes with her so I don't think she counts). We have an elderly guinea hen and rooster (pets) but they are pretty irrelevant as far as flock dynamics go.

    A couple months ago, the two boys were challenging each other but it never amounted to fighting. Monty was the dominant roo. Then Monty got frostbit pretty bad and was hurting for quite a while. I think this was the turning point because then Stewie became head roo. This would be fine, except that poor Monty gets bullied so bad. Never beat up, but chased and chased and he hides until I go out there and lock Stewie up. Our coop (12x12) is inside our barn so we open up the coop into the big barn for the day. We let them outside once in a while but we have a major predator problem so that's not going to be frequent until we get some leaves on the trees. the few times they have been outside this season, Monty has been chased across the yard and he sits by himself under a tree.

    I never separated them until I realized that Monty had lost so much weight. So now I have a dog crate in the coop and the roos take turns during the day in the crate so that Monty can eat and get a break. Also, so that the hens can get a break. Stewie's attentions are relentless to my poor girls.

    If left to their own, Monty hides in a corner or sits on the roost all day and won't eat. (yes, I have three different food bowls and water throughout the coop and barn).

    I was hoping that this is just Stewie's hormones? He's not even a year old yet. I need to get this figured out before he gets sizable spurs and really can hurt Monty. Stewie does not show signs of aggression, just bullying if that makes sense, to both chickens and to us. He has never bit or pecked me, has never beat on Monty except to just chase him away.

    I'd love to keep both roosters, especially since we need a replacement protector for when they free range, since my elderly roo is in his golden years. Stewie seems to be the one for the job, but Monty is such a teddy bear that I don't want to give him up.

    What can I do? Do you think this will pass with time? We are aware that we have too few hens for our 2 roos and will be adding to our flock this year. But Monty does not try to take any girls from Stewie, doesn't pay attention to the girls until Stewie goes in the crate.

    It's a good thing I'm home all the time so I can tend to the roos, but if we go away they have to stay in the coop and I just hate crating them.

    Please help!
  2. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    What you describe, and you did an excellent job, is completely normal flock dynamics. In fact, when you have two rooster, it's desirable for one to become dominant and the other to accept a minor role. It beats having them trying to kill each other all the time.

    I think you realize this on some level, and you also know what needs to be done if Monty, your favorite, is to have any kind of a life as a rooster in a flock.

    If you can bring yourself to rehome Stewie, Monty would probably recover his self esteem and would fulfill his role as flock leader, almost certainly. But as long as Stewie is around, Monty isn't going to be anything other than second fiddle to Stewie.

    If you really love Monty, you'll do this for him.
  3. windtryst

    windtryst Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2008
    I totally agree. Get rid of the younger rooster. Monty deserves a peaceful old age. He will defend his girls this spring when you let them out.
    Peace, quiet and calm are important to me in the coop. Two roosters do not get you there.
    Just my opinion. :)
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Stewie is not a bully. He's simply the dominant rooster. The joy of being top dog is first access to the food and the females. Chasing the beta away takes up a lot of the alpha's day. This is normal in pretty much all group animal dynamics. You're probably much unhappier over it than Monty is. Animals accept their places in the group dynamics, while humans want every to be friends and hang out together.

    You can continue as things are, letting Monty be the beta and live on the outskirts of the flock. You can rotate them. You can sell or give one of them away. Butchering doesn't sound like an option for you.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat!!^^^^^
  6. HuttonFarm

    HuttonFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 2, 2010
    Afton, NY
    Thank you all so much for your feedback. I never thought of it in a way that Monty is more comfortable with the situation than I am. I am just concerned about him eating enough. He's lost muscle and needs to gain some weight. But he seems otherwise fine. No blood has been shed. I'm still crating Stewie once a day for a couple hours to give the girls and Monty a break and allow them to eat in peace. He goes right into his crate without me having to chase him, he knows the routine. So far so good. I also really don't want to get rid of Monty because he is a Black Orpington, while Stewie is blue. So Monty increases my chances of getting blues significantly. (100% blue with my 4 splash girls).

    I really appreciate your help and reassurance!
  7. Kristen5894

    Kristen5894 Just Hatched

    Jun 14, 2016
    I have a sweet young French Copper Maran rooster and I have him with my two older hens. Today I noticed that he wasn't quite himself and that he kept going off alone. I let them free range and I am beginning to think he's being bullied by the hens. He's not really eating but if I seperate them, he seems hungry. He's bigger than the hens but they are dominant. I have never had a rooster before so I don't know how this works. Will he eventually 'man up' to them? I think for a while I should separate them when they eat - I don't think he gets his share of food and water. He looks depressed- if that's possible. Any advice to a new rooster owner?
  8. Eli1977

    Eli1977 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 20, 2016
  9. Eli1977

    Eli1977 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 20, 2016
    I have the same problem just got a wonderful roo named Leonardo he is 5 months old and we got him from a friend. I have 5, 2 yr old hens and Leo is about their size. They have chased him around in a run and when he went to the coop they all ganged up on him and pecked him so bad I had to go and spray them all with water so they would leave him alone. Sneaky terrorist hens. Now Leo is alone in his own coop and I am going to give him a break for a week or so. Than I'll try to bring the hens one by one to his coop and we will see if that will work.

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