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Hen fighting with Rooster

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 76972clb, Dec 25, 2016.

  1. 76972clb

    76972clb Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2015
    East Texas
    I Shadow, 2 yr old Australorp (clearly the top of the pecking order), who challenges our Mr. Rooster, 10 month old RIR. She has started challenging Mr. Rooster.
    Mr. Rooster has always taken care of his hens. Very protective and loves to mate with each one of them early in the morning. Two weeks ago one of my top chickens died as from a hawk attack. He had taken the hens over to safety while she fought off the hawk. After that he has been more aggressive. He pecks at my feet and legs and even chased my daughter away. I have picked him up, talked with him in a calm voice and then put down, trying to let him know that I'm top yet loving.
    The saying "he may rule the roost but I rule the roster" is Shadows tagline. Since the hawk attack, Shadow has been more aggressive towards Mr. Rooster. This am I saw lots of feathers on the ground in the coop, clearly from Shadow due to the amount of feathers that she is missing. She also challenged him beak to beak this morning.

    At first glance I thought they had a go around and she lost a lot of feathers. After watching for awhile I saw her pulling her own feathers out. We have nice weather this week, NE of Dallas, but concerned for her loosing so many feathers on her neck and back in winter. She is laying. Eggs are down from 1 a day to 1 every 2 or 3 days. Please don't say that my top laying chicken is multing now.

    So is my real concern is Shadow challenging Mr. Rooster, him pecking at me and her loosing feathers.

    Any advice on any of these issues?
     
  2. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Overrun With Chickens

    I'd just let them sort it out. I've had hens take on young roos and totally kick their butt. He'll become more dominant as he gets older.

    I suspect that she is molting, and fighting with Mr. rooster isn't helping anything. RIR's have a reputation for being agressive; I've had great reds, and then really mean ones, so there is a chance that he's hit puberty and is trying to "grow up." Don't hold him. Ever. Give him his space and let him figure things out. If he attacks you, kick him back, and then hold your foot in his face til he backs off. Only kick at him if he attacks you. Roosters don't get loved in a flock. Show him that you're the big boss, but don't be "rude" and fight him all the time.

    Does it look like she is just pulling out loose feathers, or actually plucking herself? If she's plucking herself then she must be under alot of stress. Maybe she was close friends with the chicken who was killed by the hawk?
     
  3. 76972clb

    76972clb Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2015
    East Texas
    Thank you very much for the great advice!
    I try hard to keep a peaceful environment for all of our animals not just the chickens. I will do as you said with the kicking him back only when he attacks me then hold my foot in his face until he realizes that I'm top of the order. What I have done is face him as he circles me trying to get me to go where he wants me to go, like he does with his hens.

    Nelly, the hen that died, was number 2 in the pecking order. Shadow, number 1 in pecking order, may feel the affect with the void / change in the order below her.
    Shadow's feathers are loose that she is pulling out.

    Thank you again for your suggestions and advice. I do appreciate it.
     
  4. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2013
    Pennsylvania
    I notice you said your rooster is ten months old, the age when their testosterone goes into overdrive for a while. Hopefully with time he will settle down a bit when the terrible teens get over.
    If they get really people aggressive, that's a different story.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Did Shadow molt this year?
    She may be molting...and doesn't want to be mated so is rejecting his advances.
    A bird being killed both put them in panic mode and spurred a pecking order change.
    They'll be jumpy for awhile but should calm down soon.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  6. 76972clb

    76972clb Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2015
    East Texas
    Mr. Rooster hardly ever was aggressive before the attack. I wondered if it put him on a high allert status. He even pecked one of our cats & pulled while still holding on for eating an apple core we threw out. Cats & chickens have been together since day 1 here with no problem.

    We got our first chickens (shadow was one of them) in July this year. She lost neck feathers earlier in fall and came with a lot of back feathers missing. She looked bad when lost neck feathers but now... well she looks horrible. I can take a pic of her.
    The chicken we lost was #2 hen (Shadow #1), #3 chicken. It looks like Shadow is trying to be #1 over Mr.Rooster.
     
  7. 76972clb

    76972clb Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2015
    East Texas
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    yep, she's molting.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  8. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Overrun With Chickens

    Oh wow. She's got it rough this year!
    If they fight alot, then isolate mr. rooster til she's got more feathers. Mating in the middle of a molt like that can't be any fun [​IMG]
     
  9. 76972clb

    76972clb Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2015
    East Texas
    When I originally poated,I thought they were fighting. She had gone face to face with him and had lost a good amount of feathers. I kept watching after I posted. I think that was an isolated incident. Since then they've been normal but lost even more feathers.
    I've read quick loss of feathers = quick regrowth. Do you know if this is true? She has lost all of these feathers in two days and already has new growth. I hope she will be fully feathered before weather gets cold again.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Usually.....time will tell.
    Make sure she has plenty of protein in her diet to help those feathers grow out faster.
     

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