Help - Rooster picking on hen all of a sudden.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by HuffyJen, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. HuffyJen

    HuffyJen New Egg

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    Nov 7, 2013
    We got 8, 1 day old, peeps the middle of July... they have been together since we brought them home. It was suppose to be 8 hens, but the Easter Egger turned out to be a rooster. In the mix we have 2 Barred Rocks (Moe & No Name), 1 Golden Lakenvelder (Princess), 1 Delaware (Peco Train), 1 German Spitzhauben (Peep-Peep), and 2 White Sultans hens (Hawk Eye & Clinger), plus the Easter Egger rooster (Bunny).

    A few days ago, when I went out to care for them, the Delaware was staying away from everyone... when the other was outside she stayed in, when they were in she stayed out. She was super clingy and wouldn't leave my side. When she did get near the others the rooster would "attack" her and chase her off. She did have a soar about her beak on, at the lower part of her comb. So, I did put her in a cage to heal up and watch her. The first day she was still clingy, she seemed to be fine after that evening. We keep her out for about 3 days, nothing seemed off. She ate & drank well, she wasn't sluggish and moved around a lot, her droppings look normal and there wasn't any odd odors coming from the cage. She has lots of strength and nothing looked odd at all about her.

    Tonight, I returned her to the coop... I feed treats & extra feed at dusk. Plus, I have a talk with the rooster - yes I talk to them... I know it's like talking to my kids, he most likely will not listen to me, but I'm trying. When I did the rooster didn't seem happy to see her. He did go after her and she tried running out the main door. I did get them calmed down with the treats and then they all got perched on the roost, but I am worried about what I might find tomorrow.

    Why would they just start picking on another bird after being together since they were just little bitty things. I could understand a bit more if I was introducing new birds to the coop, but they have been together for so long. What really doesn't make sense to me is before this week, she was always right by his side. The other hens don't seem to mind her, just the rooster and he only seems to mind her.

    Please any help or ideas... I really don't want to give up my pretty boy "Bunny", but if it doesn't stop I might have to. We got them to be our pets and lay eggs... rooster don't help with the eggs. So, he would have to go if things don't stop... but I can't stand the thought of what might happen to him. He usually isn't aggressive - so it really bothers me that this has happened in my coop.

    Just a little more info... the coop's floor is 8 foot x 4 foot, with a 9 foot ceiling. The run is only 8 x 8 for now, but will be increased in the spring, after the land behind us transfers completely. We have a 6 foot roost in the coop and will have 3 nest installed in the next few weeks. They should start laying sometime next month... hopefully.

    Thanks for any ideas or help you can provide!
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Sounds to me like the roosters is ready to start mating and the pullet isn't quite ready yet. You don't have tons of space for her to get away from him, but it's a fact of chicken life that adolescent chicken sex isn't pretty. Roosters can be pretty relentless in chasing a hen, with lots of squawking and feathers and drama. You can try giving her places to hide behind, see if that helps. Other than that, I really don't know except pull the rooster out until more hens are ready to mate. Even then, you have to decide what your personal tolerance for chicken sex is--it's often distressing to humans.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yep, Donrae's got it covered.
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    As chickens grow, they need more space. A coup/run set up that worked before can rapidly get too small, and you start to see behavior problems that were non existent last week .

    Also, I see pictures of lots of runs with nothing in them. This sounds counter intuitive, but a quick and easy and cheap way to make more room in your run is to put pallets in it. Place them on cement blocks, making a platform that chickens can get under or stand on top, instantly another 4x4 of space inside the run you have. Add a couple of roosts just by sticking a broken shovel handle kitty corner through the wire. Again more space, lets chickens get away from each other, or out of each others' sight.

    If that doesn't work, pull the roo

    Mrs K
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I hadn't thought of that! I have plywood leaning against the side of the run, and a galvanized steel trough, and an old Christmas tree, but we have lots of pallets go through our place, I'm sure I could divert some to the coop. My birds love to be on the steel trough--it's currently on it's side so it doesn't fill with rain water--I'm sure they'd love the pallet idea also. Thanks!

    I agree, a bare run is no fun. They need something in there, at least places to get out of each other's sight. IMO that's why houses have different rooms, so family members can get out of each other's way. Imaging if your entire family had to share one room and couldn't get away from each other--I know I'd start pecking at folks pretty darn soon!
     
  6. HuffyJen

    HuffyJen New Egg

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    Nov 7, 2013
    Thank you everyone... she did ok after being returned to the hen house. She is still a little timid around the rooster, but is back interacting with everyone. I will work on trying to find things to put in the run for more space & also for them to do. We are going to expand the run & maybe even build a bigger coop next year, but we are waiting for the city to transfer the land we bought & paid for from them. Thank you again!
     

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