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Hen hiding from the rooster in the coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Hummingbird Hollow, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I need advice as to how to handle an issue in my flock. I purchased two Silver Cuckoo Maran pullets and an Easter Egger pullet this spring and ended up with an Easter Egger rooster instead. This brings my total flock to 9 hens and 1 rooster. He's discovered that he is a rooster in the past few weeks and chases the hens all over the place from the moment the pop door opens in the morning.

    Unlike the last rooster I had, who ended up in the crock pot after harrassing the girls so badly that they stopped laying, I think this guy has some potential. He at least trys the "hey girls, I've got treats over here for you" routine, and he isn't the monster in size my last rooster was. Also, when he grabs an unwilling hen and muscles her to the ground, my two Speckled Sussex hens run over and flog him and chase him into the corner. So, I'm thinking that in time he may learn some manners and become a good flock guardian.

    However, in the meanwhile, my smallest and most docile hen (also and Easter Egger) is being pursued unmercifully. He is on her the moment she comes out of the coop in the morning and won't leave her alone. While she was low chicken on the pecking order, the flock has enough space that no chicken really suffered abuse from the other chickens, but it seems that having the rooster single her out has led some of the other hens to pick on her as well. These past few days when I've gone out to check for eggs or let them out to free range I find her inside the coop on the top roost. I've brought her food and held it for her so that she can eat at least once or twice a day, but I'm worried about her.

    I don't really need a rooster, but I'm sort of hoping that in the spring I can incubate some of my Easter Egger eggs for some more blue egg layers and really excited about incubating some of the Silver Cuckoo Maran eggs and perhaps hatching out some little Olive Eggers. However, I don't want my girls to suffer.

    Any advice?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I would set up a separate food/water station so she can sneak food, and perhaps give her a saddle to prevent overmating feather loss on her back. It's good for them to have hiding places, too. Maybe if she gets out of sight for a moment, he will get distracted by one of the others more often.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/patterns-chicken-saddles
     
  3. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, I've examined her back and it seems fine, but there is feather damage at the base of both of her wings. Will a chicken saddle cover that?
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    It might. When I made a few of mine saddles, I had to make 2 or 3 trials til I got one that fit well. As I recall, some of them sort of extended over into that area. If you have some old sweatshirts or polarfleece garments to play with, you'll no doubt get one that helps.
     
  5. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is pretty normal adolescent rooster behavior. He should calm down a bit as he matures.

    Like Judy says - a saddle may help, more cover may help, and some additional feeding stations may help. You're basically trying to make sure he doesn't do too much damage while he matures.
     
  6. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, having a 23 year old son and a 20 year old son I completely understand that advice! Almost there (God willing) with the boys, still a way to go with the rooster....how long do you think?
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Definitely multiple feed/water stations and hiding places.....you could also segregate the rooster out in an adjacent pen for couple weeks/months.
    You're probably going to need an adjacent pen anyway if you plan to incubate some eggs.

    It's good the older hens are schooling him and it might be best to leave everything as is and let them work it out as long as no copious amounts of blood are being drawn.....pecking order in the chicken world can be vicious, but it's how they roll and interfering can cause more problems than you think it might solve.
     

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