How to protect from overzealous roos?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sjisty, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    I would really like to breed my Brahmas, but the roos just keep on tearing up the girls! These guys are huge and even with the aprons on, the girls sides are getting ripped up. It's not just a matter of losing feathers on their backs, their skin gets ripped on their sides. Some of the gashes run pretty deep. My guys don't even have spurs to speak of yet. What's a mother to do? Any suggestions?

  2. terrilhb

    terrilhb Songster

    Dec 11, 2010
    I don't know the answer but I have a roo that is rough at times with the girls. Especially 1 of the hens. Hope someone answers that knows. I could use the advice too. Good luck
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You don't mention how many roos or hens you have or their ages. How much room they have can also make a difference.

    There is no magic ratio of roosters and hens to correct this problem.. Some people keep three roosters with two hens and never have this problem. Some people have one rooster and 18 hens and have this problem. The more roosters you have, the more likely you are to have a problem, so my normal advice is to keep as few roosters as you can and still reach your goals.

    One of your goals is obviously to hatch eggs. For large fowl like Brahmas, a ratio of one rooster for every 10 to 12 hens will pretty much assure fertility. That ratio does mean something regarding fertility.

    If your chickens are fairly young, this behavior is worse. Young roosters are like teenagers with overactive hormones. Their instincts are telling them that their purpose in life is to assure that every egg is fertile. Every egg. "Did I fertilize those eggs a few minutes ago? I can't remember! I get so confused!!! I better do it again." Such stress these young roosters put on themselves. They have not yet matured enough to learn that with certain pleasures come responsibility. To make matters worse, often the young pullets have not matured enough to accept the advances of the rooster. They resist, usually by trying to run away. The rooster is usually bigger and stronger and is stressed by his instincts so he forces her. Maybe if the pullet did not resist so vigorously, the rooster would not be as rough. These types of problems are often shared responsibilities. Often the problems are greatly reduced when the rooster and pullets mature. Another complicating factor is that even a mature hen does not automatically squat for just any rooster. He has to WOW her with the magnificance of his personality or she will not willingly submit. I've had 15 week old roosters that could WOW a grown hen and I've had grown roosters that could not.

    With all of that, some roosters are just sadistic brutes. They never mature. Their technique is vicious, even if the hen willingly submits. I don't need those sadistic genes in my flock. I don't give those roosters a chance to breed. By the same token, if I have a hen that never matures sufficiently to submit to a rooster but always resists, I don't need her genes in my flock so her daughters can also destroy the peace and tranquility of my flock. As I said, a shared responsibility.

    I don't know if any of this helps you or not. If your chickens are fairly young, there is a chance they will grow out of it. Since they don't have spurs, I think this is part of your problem.

    In the meantime, you can trim the boy's toe nails. It is just like trimming yours or a dog's. If you don't get in the quick, it does not hurt them. I use a dremel tool and cut the sharp tips off, leaving them with blunt toe nails. There are other ways that work.

    You might watch and see if one is more damaging than others and remove him. That is not as simple as it seems since behavior can change when a rooster goes from being not dominant to the dominant rooster. Often the non-dominant ones are the ones causing the problem since as non-dominant they cannot as easily WOW the girls into submitting willingly.

    Be careful about separating them. If you separate roosters from the flock and try to reintroduce them, the roosters will almost certainly fight to establish who is the dominant rooster. Those fights are often pretty vicious. If roosters grow up together, they normally (but not always) get dominance established without real vicious fights.

    They are living animals and no one can predict for sure what they will do. Hope this helps you some.
  4. spook

    spook Songster

    Some breeders keep their roosters separate from the hens, allow one rooster a day out into general population while your out doing chores, or better yet, in the evening then after they go to roost, put them back in their pen. I have been doing this with 2 roo's because the girls are looking ragged and its coming in for a good number of cold days yet.
    (That is two Standard Cochin's to 16 girls. Fortunately I can keep the fellas together at this point)
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Allowing the roosters limited access to the hens one rooster at a time could help your problem. Several roosters trying to breed a hen at the same time as well as large clumsy roosters can cause problems. Watch how your roosters operate. Use the most "gentlemanly" for breeding and monitor their interactions. A hen's eggs cann easily remain fertile for two weeks from one mating.

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