Help my rooster is attacking one of my hens!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lyoness876, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. lyoness876

    lyoness876 Just Hatched

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    I have 11 hens and 1 rooster (and 4 ducks) all since the were 3 days old. So they've all grown up together. The hens and rooster are black sex links. The roo was an accident, they were all supposed to be females but we've never had a problem who him until now. Any time there's been an issue with bullying or pecking, we've separated them and after putting them back everything was fine. At first the ducks tore a bare spot on the roo and the other hens started attacking him so we permanently separated the ducks into their own pen and let him heal before we put him back with the other hens and everything was fine until one hen started up again. I separated her (and then the other two that also were being jerks) and when I put them all back, just the one hen was attacking everyone still. I gave her a few days by herself, even at night (which I never have had to do even when they were separated during the day they did just fine at night), but when I went to put her in the pen today, the rooster started attacking her. Not mating, attacking. Yesterday was the first day I've seen him attempt to mate with one of the hens so I know the difference. He was attacking her and she was running for her life. When I picked her up her comb and face were bloody and she was relieved to be separated. I don't know what to do. They are 4 months old now and will be laying soon but not yet. He does will with the others (though one hen I periodically have to put in time out because she's being an ***), but I don't want to have to permanently keep the one being attacked separate from the others. I'm at a loss on what to do. Thank you for your help.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    At 4 months everyone is hormonal and in puberty. Your hens are getting moody and your rooster is wanting to dominate and mate. I personally will remove troublemaking roosters at around that age. I pen them within the shed so they are a part of the flock but can't cause troubles. I often leave them penned for months with occasionally letting them out to see if things improve. Eventually the rooster wants hens and the hens want the rooster. I would certainly keep the rooster separated for at least 2 weeks to break the behaviors that they are doing. At 4 months your sex link hens are about to start laying and will get a bit more rambunctious and moody before everyone calms down again, so be prepared for a bit more trouble.

    You didn't say how large their set up was, being crowded or confined to a smaller area can make behaviors worse, so the more room the better.
     
    3 people like this.
  3. ValerieJ

    ValerieJ Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm having a similar problem. I wondered why one of my hens was staying inside the coop when everyone else was out running around the chicken run. I thought she was going to be a broody hen, although they are all only 13 weeks old. But, yesterday, when I wanted to clean the coop, I put her out and immediately the rooster attacked her! And then a couple hens got riled up and started charging her. I immediately picked her up and sat down with her standing on my arm for about 15 minutes. She was so happy and secure, although the rooster was strutting back and forth just waiting for me to put her down. She began to preen and almost seemed like she was chasing an itch or something. I had a neighbor, who has had chickens for a couple years, look at her and she says she doesn't have mites. When I put her back down, the rooster immediately attacked. She just ran behind me. At first, I separated her into a different space, but when nightfall came, she was so stressed I was worried about her getting hurt trying to get through the fence. So, I put her in the coop and all was well all night. Then I read everything I could find on this site about what this might mean. This morning when I opened up the coop, I took the rooster to the isolation pen. That seems to be the consensus here. He is pretty stressed right now, but the hens all seem to get along with each other just fine when he is not there stirring things up. I really hate doing this to him, but it seems I need to keep him separated for a while. There is only a fence between him and the chicks, so they will all continue to see each other. I also have a chicken who has opted to sleep in a tree rather than go into the coop at night. I wonder if he has been mean to her in the coop. We shall see if she goes in tonight, or stays up in the tree. This is my first attempt at raising chickens, and there always seems to be something new to learn. And we are only at week 13! BTW, I didn't actually intend to get a rooster, just turned out one of my peeps grew a tail and an attitude. LOL
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome! My chicks range from 16 to 8 weeks of age, and the older cockrels are getting--busy-- while the pullets aren't interested. It can get pretty intense, even with a lot of free range space. As long as no injuries happen and relentless chasing isn't happening, I just watch. One of the bantam boys spent two weeks in 'stir' and came out better, and many of them will be going to new homes this weekend. Can't wait!! Mary
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    For all of the folks who are having these issues, My first question is this: Do you have enough space in coop and run? Minimum recommendation is 4 s.f. in coop and 10 s.f. in run/bird. More space is much better. If you have a small flock, you may very well need more than the minimum recommendation because a small flock in a small coop/run still won't have enough room to allow a bird being picked on to get far enough away from her aggressor(s) to satisfy flock social behavior needs. I also strongly suggest that unless you have 10 or more females, with plenty of room, that you NOT have a rooster. You can also do much to alleviate boredom. (assuming that you are not able to free range your flock). If the grass has been stripped from your run, build up a deep litter. (grass clippings, wood chips, litter cleaned out of the coop, even used stable litter, garden refuse, leaves, and any other yard debris) Your goal should be to make that deep litter at least 6" deep. Give them a couple of tree stumps to play on, hang a swing, give them some hay bales, perhaps a pallet leaning against the fence posts, or laid across a couple of hay bales.
     
    2 people like this.
  6. ValerieJ

    ValerieJ Out Of The Brooder

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    My chickens are in a 5000 sq ft run, with a coop large enough for 8 chickens. I have 5 chickens and one rooster, and that not intentional. One of my chickens grew a tail and an attitude. I call him a rooster. So, now I have been told to take the rooster out and put him in an adjacent run, so I did. But, tonight when I went to close them in, he was in the coop with the chickens. I guess he flew over the 5' fence. LOL I guess he was motivated. But, they are peaceful in the coop tonight. I will see how they are doing in the morning. Definitely want to protect my little hen he is attacking. He doesn't do it at night, and has not YET drawn blood. Oh, and my run is full of grass and forest plant. It is my orchard, albeit small for an orchard. I do have some "obstacles" for them to climb on and obviously lots of room to run around. They seem to be happy, except for the rooster attacking this one chicken. I'm a first time chicken raiser. I am looking for any meaningful advice here. Thanks.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Feet by feet please?

    You may just have a rogue cockerel...sometimes bad behaviors show up early.
    With you being a new chicken keeper, I'd suggest keeping him separate until you get rid of him asap.
     
  8. ValerieJ

    ValerieJ Out Of The Brooder

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    My coop is 4x8, or 4x10.5 if I include the nesting boxes. But, the coop isn't the problem. He doesn't pick on her inside, only when she comes outside.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Either get rid of the cockrel, or rehome his victim. She doesn't deserve this kind of life. And, I'm guessing that as soon as you remove her, he'll choose a new victim. He needs to meet a crock pot.
     
  10. Golden Lace

    Golden Lace Just Hatched

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    @lyoness876, I really think it would be best to get rid of you rooster. I have lived with chickens all my life, and from my own experience I would say that it would best to do away with him. Then, if you decide you want a rooster, choose one that has been treated well and is tame. I have three roosters who live together with the hens. Two of which were raised by me, the other one we bought. There has never be any fighting between the two and when the third arrived, he quickly learned how to behave. It's a rooster like that, that you would want.
     

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