Hens Hiding Out From Roosters - Help?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shalynnbrothers, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. shalynnbrothers

    shalynnbrothers Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    2
    58
    Jan 31, 2016
    Ramona, CA
    I have 2 roosters that seem to be causing a lot of anxiety for 2 of my hens. One hen in particular has been hiding out in the coop for the passed week now. Even for TREAT TIME! I've tried picking her up and bringing her out into the run but if our rooster, Chowder, even looks in her direction, she hops up on the ramp and goes back inside. I've even had to provide her with her own food and water dishes inside the coop. Our other hen will slowly make her way out in the morning but gets attacked by our roo, Franklin, multiple times throughout the day. If he attacks her inside the coop, she huddles herself into a corner face first and lays there frozen with fear. It's SO SO sad to see. I was hoping the boys would learn a gentler way to go about getting what they want but it just seems to be getting worse. I'm working on re-homing both roos, but is there anything else I can do?? Is this normal behavior? I know that it's normal for a rooster to have a "favorite" hen to mate but this is just brutal and the girls don't take it well at all. I feel so bad for them! Has anyone else experienced anything like this?
     
  2. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,156
    52
    218
    Jun 21, 2009
    Jacksonville
    Roosters can bully and be really aggressive. Do you need to have two roosters? Your chickens are hiding probably because she is being bullied or he is hurting her. They can be over bred. The roosters pull feathers out of the heads, necks and backs and can cause serious injuries. I had to put chicken aprons on my girls to protect them.

    Watch how the roosters treat the hens. That will tell you what is happening with your flock.
    Caroline
     
  3. shalynnbrothers

    shalynnbrothers Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    2
    58
    Jan 31, 2016
    Ramona, CA
    YES!! Oh my goodness, I've seen them grab them by their neck feathers, rip feathers out etc. It's BRUTAL! We don't need to keep them. We just raised them so we had gotten attached, but I can't stand all the bulling. It isn't fair to our girls. I guess I'm just slightly surprised by this kind of behavior. I thought roosters were supposed to be protective of their girls not bully them and injure them.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,237
    769
    206
    Apr 19, 2014
    NW Florida
    I have a rooster that is great to all my hens, but consistently tries to kill my BSL hen. I keep her in the coop/run when I let the other out, and the rooster stays out at night when I lock the girls up. That's the only way the poor thing can heal up and have any quality of life. The way I look at it, the rooster is a free loader, the hen produces eggs, so the hen will be locked up safe at night. Mr. rooster can fend for himself. In all other respects, he's a great rooster. Just has taken a dislike to this particular hen and can be really aggressive in trying to kill her. He isn't trying to mate - she submits and he continues to flog her without trying to mount her. If it doesn't resolve soon, I'll have to get rid of him.
     
  5. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,620
    1,102
    311
    Dec 25, 2012
    If you currently have 2 rooster then you should get 22 more hens to create the correct (or at least a better) ratio of males to females in your flock. As for an example, I once had a 4 coming 5 years old rooster who was put in a true free range environment with 45 hens. Now he did first go through a short conditioning period to ensure that he was up to the task at hand. However the old boy did sire an 80% hatch rate. And there was no other roosters anywhere within 3 or 4 miles to give him a hand. In a commercial hatching egg operation an 80% hatch rate won't cut it, but I think that this is an outstanding hatch rate for a rooster who was turning 5 years old. BTW, no eggs were saved for 30 days after this brood flock was established on an isolated farm so I am very confident that all the chicks were sired by this one rooster. I included this to help those without much practical chicken keeping experience to understand chickens better.
     
  6. shalynnbrothers

    shalynnbrothers Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    2
    58
    Jan 31, 2016
    Ramona, CA

    Oh wow!! This sounds exactly like my situation with Franklin! He's SO abusive to her, but even when she submits, he doesn't even try to mount her. He just likes ripping out her feathers and dragging her by the neck, its terrible!!! I didn't even think that he could dislike her and that's why he was bulling her, I thought maybe since he's a young roo, purhaps he just hadn't learned the proper way to mate her yet. Your thought makes so much more sense though. Ugh, my Franklin has GOT TO GO!
     
  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,620
    1,102
    311
    Dec 25, 2012
    How young is he? Most cockerels or young stags are too immature to make good flock roosters. They seem to have problems recognizing that they are now the leader of the flock and can act very insecure regarding their new found position.
     
    dbblaine likes this.
  8. shalynnbrothers

    shalynnbrothers Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    2
    58
    Jan 31, 2016
    Ramona, CA
    He's 3.5 months old. Immature? That sounds about right lol. What are you supposed to do then if you wanted to keep them?? Raise them seperately until they're older and reintroduce them?

    UPDATE: I separated both problem roos from the flock (while waiting to find new homes for them), in hopes that my hen that's been hiding would come out, socialize, and act like her normal self. It worked for one evening. Then the next day, she was back to hiding inside!! I do have one roo left in their pin but I've never witnessed him attempt to mate anyone let alone her, or be violent to anyone. However, I did see him follow her and give her a couple (decently gentle) pecks as she walked away from him and went back in the coop. Do you think she has a problem with him also? or could her hiding have to do with something else all together?? I'd hate to rehome roos if that's not even the source of the problem. It's just so hard to tell. Maybe the heat? Everyone else prefers to be outside though.

    Also, She is just a couple weeks passed 6 months old. Could her hiding out inside the coop have something to do with starting to lay? She has not laid any eggs yet, we're still waiting. I thought maybe she hasn't laid yet because she was stressed over the boys. Do chickens get egg blocked?? is that even a thing? LOL I'm racking my braaaaiinnn to figure this out.[​IMG]
     
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,620
    1,102
    311
    Dec 25, 2012
    Fortunately chickens grow up or mature faster than us humans do, but unfortunately every bird in a flock of chickens is subject to the cruelties (at least to the human eye) of the pecking order.

    Chickens don't do the milk of human kindness thing, love, or charity very well and any bird in the flock that is in some way disadvantaged, (like sick, weak, injured, timid, or younger*) is in for some real challenges until things get sorted out. You'll only need to witness the sudden reversal in fortunes that can happen to an alpha hen or rooster when illness or a injury suddenly demotes them from first place to last place on the pecking order to understand. When something like this happens it is not unusual for the whole flock to suddenly turn on the unfortunate bird and take revenge for the way that bird lorded it over the now superior or SUPER chickens. Of course in a flock of only two or three hens each chicken has less room to fall so it may not be as obvious. On the good good side chickens can only recognize about 100 other chickens. If not for this then every chicken house full of hens would become a pecking, flogging, kicking mess.

    The above IMHO is why sick chickens so often self isolate themselves. They don't do this to protect the flock from pathogens or disease agents but to spare themselves the the discomfort that goes with a loss in status.

    (*) I always say that the mama hen will do her babies heavy fighting for them and by the time that the hen has weened her brood the young chickens know their place in the pecking order and that place is below the older bird in the flock. As long as a chicken knows it's place in the scheme of things it will do fine because it is not viewed as a threat by its flock mates or betters. Then it becomes the young birds' job to prove itself by advancing up the social ladder. In this respect adult hens are very much like a room full of teen aged children
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by