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Help the chicken newbie! Gentle Rooster starts attacking his hen - she runs around with spread wings

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Carrla, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. Carrla

    Carrla New Egg

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    Oct 28, 2015
    Sweden
    Hello everyone!
    I am a new backyard farmer in Sweden and this summer also started my chicken adventure with a little flock. I have a rooster and a pullet of a mixed dwarf breed and two pullets of a Swedish heirloom breed. They lived in a tractor all summer, but moved into a coop in the barn a few weeks back and enjoy unlimited free-ranging outside during the daytime. They are fairly tame, eat out of our hands and have always been gentle, even around the kids. The dwarf hen started laying half a month ago, the other hens are still too young to be laying.
    Yesterday I noticed that our rooster was roughly chasing around and pulling feathers of the dwarf hen. She's always been his favourite and he's always been very gentle to her, so I was surprised to see him so rough with her. She seemed to be scared, kept running away and trying to hide in bushes and on higher branches. Later that day they seemed to calm down, but I noticed her clucking almost non-stop, not her usual behaviour.
    When I let them out this morning, I noticed that she wasn't coming out of the coop and found her in a nesting box. Thinking that she might be broody or laying, I left her there. Now in the afternoon I checked on her and found her in a different nesting box. I felt no egg under her, so I gently pulled her out. She gave no resistance and when I put her down, she proceeded out of the coop - her movements were normal. Outside the rooster saw her immediately, came over and she stood with her wings slightly spread from her body, her neck feathers ruffled and her head slightly down, not sick looking, but maybe aggressive? The rooster again started chasing and pecking her violently, until she fled back into the coop. She is eating and drinking normally.
    I'm a bit worried now - is this normal chicken behaviour? Is there something wrong with her or with him? The rooster seems to be his usual gentle self towards the other hens. What could be going on? Help!!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    [​IMG] It sounds like pre broody behavior. Her change in personality and probable unwillingness to breed may have the rooster regarding her as a 'stranger'. Regardless, his behavior is unacceptable, and I would be tempted to remove him from the hens if he starts causing physical injury to her.
     
  3. Carrla

    Carrla New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Oct 28, 2015
    Sweden
    Thanks for the answer! Yes, I think you're right, she's broody! She seems healthy as can be, but won't leave the coop. This morning she was driving the rooster crazy by just staying in - he kept running back and forth between the other hens who were browsing outside, and the dwarf hen who was still sitting inside.

    ...a maybe stupid question: When chickens mate, what eggs get fertilized? The ones that get laid the same day? Or the day after? Or two days after? I'm just wondering because we've been taking her eggs the last few days, so if she's broody and lays a new one, would it be fertilized?
    On the one hand I don't mind her being broody, but the time now, just before winter, seems a bad time for chicks...
     

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