He did it again and I don't know what to do - Updated with a question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by The Zoo, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. The Zoo

    The Zoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 13, 2009
    Hayward, CA
    My 7.5 month old roo who had already injured a hen through over-eager dominance-showing and mating put another one into the ER today.

    I heard her squawking first thing this morning and by the time I'd gotten down there she had a huge gash on the back of her neck from sticking her head through the walls of the run trying to get away. She's in the loo with her sister and this one will take longer to heal but at least she didn't lose any feathers. I now have 2 chickens in the bathroom and 2 in the coop. I can't have this - it's ridiculous. I think I just don't have enough room for an overly randy roo and 3 hens. The two hens he has injured are a year older that he is, the hen he grew up with he's fine with and hasn't injured, but she also thinks he's the bees knees.

    Suggestions? Thoughts? I'm about ready to freecycle him and let him be someones dinner (even though I'm a vegetarian).

    I'd had a thought of putting plastic up around the bottom of the coop so that they could no longer stick their heads through it but do I *really* need to a keep a roo in a small backyard flock? Is he becoming more trouble than he's worth or am I just REALLY ticked off he hurt another one of my girls? AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2009
  2. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nope, no need to have a roo at all, and one roo to three hens is a pretty small ratio, so no, I wouldn't have one either.
     
  3. BeccaOH

    BeccaOH Morning Gem Farm

    Oct 3, 2008
    east central Ohio
    I have an over dominant male that is on death row right now. He never sliced a girl, but he did mate to the point that he bared 4 hen's backs. One hen wouldn't leave the roost when he was close by.

    You don't need a roo unless you want to breed and have chicks. When free ranging, a roo can be a good guard, but you can do without a roo.

    I would rehome the nasty boy. You can always find another one to try.

    ETA: my boy is around 15 months and a beautiful BO. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    On the one hand, if he is only seven and a half months old, his "technique" will likely improve over the next year. It seems to me like a lot of cockerels' problems injuring hens while mating is just a combination of excessive enthusiasm and poor balance/coordination.

    On the other hand you might well run into problems with even a coordinated gentlemanly rooster with just 3 hens (once the feathers are worn off their backs, they are much mroe easily injured just accidentally), and may well not have the *option* of waiting a year and seeing whether he gets better at it.

    Personally i would be thinking in terms of another home for him, either upright or in a stewpot depending on what opportunities exist.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  5. claud

    claud Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    PA
    I agree with the posts above.

    Your two problems are that he is 7 months old(think sex-crazed teenager) and you only have 3 hens.
    He'll probably get better with age but considering he is injuring your girls and you seem indifferent to the idea of having a roo I'd say re-home him.
     
  6. The Zoo

    The Zoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 13, 2009
    Hayward, CA
    See the problem is that it's not his mating that's hurting the hens, it's them trying to get away and sticking their heads through the wires of the fence that's doing it. He's not intentionally hurting them. In fact he was concerned when I was taking her out of the coop and he calls to her.
    The hen he grew up with adores him, he's her 'birth coach' when she lays an egg, he gives her treats and in general is super nice to her. I have seen him trying to court the older hens but they're used to being the bosses and haven't taken him up on his advances so he just jumps on them.
    I know he's just doing what a teenage rooster does and hopefully he comes out of it but I'm not sure I can wait that long. I can't separate him, the injured hens are in the only place I have and I'd really rather not keep chickens in the bathroom.

    I should say that right now they're in a coop/run that while it is technically plenty of room doesn't allow free ranging. We're having construction done on the backyard so they haven't been able to free range in a few weeks. When the construction is done, we will put up a fence in a good size area that will be connected to the coop so they can have an area to free range in.

    But right now I'm worried about taking a holiday or being gone any length time.

    Shoot - I wish I had a magic mirror so I could see how this all turns out. I hate sending him off to his death for just doing what comes naturally.
     
  7. toletiquesbysam

    toletiquesbysam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2008
    Nebraska
    If they are sticking their heads through the wire, maybe you need to change the wire you have, put something that's smaller they can't get their heads into!
     
  8. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 7, 2008
    Zoo, I would never try a rooster in my flock just for these reasons, but if you want to give him a fair chance, try putting some boards around the perimeter of your enclosure on the inside, from the ground up to the height of the chickens heads, so they can't put their heads throught he wires. This is obviously a hazard with a roo or not. Cardboard or cloth sheets or a tarp might even help, or you may need to work on your design in general. What kind of wire are you using?? Also, if they don't have much room to roam, hens can be irritable and pick on eachother. Are you sure it is the rooster causing all the problems? I also wonder if his spurs could be dulled with an emery board to make him a bit more suave with the ladies. Good luck!
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Well, it is extremely extremely easy to put sumpin' over the lower part of the wire fence to keep them from pokiing their heads through. If that were the totality of the problem, then it'd be fixed right there.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  10. The Zoo

    The Zoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 13, 2009
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    It's rectangular wire that we got from HD. Not exactly sure what it's called maybe 2" by 3" or 4" in size and they can stick their heads right through it. I'm pretty sure they are getting injured when they stick their heads through it and he's on their backs trying to get purchase. Whoever said they're off balance and clumsy as teenagers described him perfectly.

    I do recognize that he's trying to become the leader of the flock too. The two older girls were not nice to him and the younger hen when I introduced them and made sure they were in their place and always tried to take their treats. Their is definitely much more equality now that he's older. The younger, smaller hen can even walk around without worry.

    I have black plastic fencing we could put around the bottom portion of the coop so they could no longer stick their heads through it.

    The weird thing is, yesterday this same hen was squatting for him and seemed to have few issues with him, it was just this morning that it became a problem.

    I didn't want a rooster - he was supposed to be a she (same story I hear a lot from other people too) but since I had him I figured I'd give him a shot.

    I am a mix of emotions.
     

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