How to protect rooster's "favorite" hens from over mating injuries?

mintdeer

Songster
6 Years
Dec 24, 2014
39
50
119
When I went to close up the coop tonight I noticed my buff orpington hen had what looked like a scabbed over cut on her side under her wing. I'm assuming this is from our rooster over mating her because she is missing a lot of saddle feathers as well. Her and another hen have been missing saddle feathers for a while but this is the first time I noticed actually broken skin. We have 1 rooster and 9 hens, but he definitely favors these two hens over the others (I have seen him mate the others, but not as often and they don't have any missing feathers). He is about 9 months old, the hens are all either 9 months or 7 months old. Other than this he is a very nice and quiet rooster. He is not aggressive at all, and seems to take good care of the hens, shows them food and keeps an eye out for them while they are free ranging. He doesn't peck them, chase them, they don't have any damage to their head/neck, so I'm assuming this injuring is accidental...he is also quite a large rooster. What can I do to protect his "favorite" hens? If I put chicken saddles on them will it discourage him? Should I clip his nails/spurs? I will get rid of him if I have to, he is nothing special as far as breeding stock, but they spend a lot of time free ranging and I like that he keeps them together and protects them while they're out. I just wish he would spread his attention more evenly instead of favoring these two hens, we are going to add more hens but that won't be until summer probably. Any suggestions appreciated!
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,357
38,392
1,142
Colorado Rockies
The best way to cut down on hen mating damage is to limit the amount of exposure she has to the rooster.

In my own flock, which has around 10 hens to rooster ratio, I keep the two roos separate from the hens for a good part of the day. The roosters have a small enclosure at one end of the run with access to the outside so they get to free range all day. In bad weather, they can shelter inside the enclosed run as they choose while having line-of-sight access through the fence to the hens all day.

Later in the day, the hens get turned loose to free range and the roosters get to have their sexy-fun-time then. They all roost together at night. This is so easy, once you set up your run for it, there need be no further concern about over-mating.
 

JJandtheBoys

Chirping
Oct 26, 2020
40
33
54
When I went to close up the coop tonight I noticed my buff orpington hen had what looked like a scabbed over cut on her side under her wing. I'm assuming this is from our rooster over mating her because she is missing a lot of saddle feathers as well. Her and another hen have been missing saddle feathers for a while but this is the first time I noticed actually broken skin. We have 1 rooster and 9 hens, but he definitely favors these two hens over the others (I have seen him mate the others, but not as often and they don't have any missing feathers). He is about 9 months old, the hens are all either 9 months or 7 months old. Other than this he is a very nice and quiet rooster. He is not aggressive at all, and seems to take good care of the hens, shows them food and keeps an eye out for them while they are free ranging. He doesn't peck them, chase them, they don't have any damage to their head/neck, so I'm assuming this injuring is accidental...he is also quite a large rooster. What can I do to protect his "favorite" hens? If I put chicken saddles on them will it discourage him? Should I clip his nails/spurs? I will get rid of him if I have to, he is nothing special as far as breeding stock, but they spend a lot of time free ranging and I like that he keeps them together and protects them while they're out. I just wish he would spread his attention more evenly instead of favoring these two hens, we are going to add more hens but that won't be until summer probably. Any suggestions appreciated!
SADDLES!
I have an 18 month old Easter Egger who is often rough with his favorite ladies. A little history: He was sold to us by Ideal Poultry as a pullet, so.... I was taken aback when he crowed. Anyway, Molly the roo has turned out to be a great protector of our little flock, but he only had 6 ladies (and only 4 standard size hens). Recently, we expanded our flock to give him more entertainment and we will fully integrate all the chickens in the coming weeks. In the meantime, as some of the girls sustained some injuries from him, we started using saddles. They have allowed great protection and permitted their feathers to regrow. My mom is actually a master-seamstress, and she made personalized saddles for the girls. I am not sure how I convinced her to do it!
 

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mintdeer

Songster
6 Years
Dec 24, 2014
39
50
119
Thank you all for the suggestions! I understand separation is the most effective but in our case it would kind of defeat the purpose of us having the rooster at all, since we have him to protect/unify the flock as they free range...we don't want to actually breed him. I think we'll give chicken saddles a try. I checked over a few of my hens closely today and the worst is only mild saddle feather loss on a few, with the exception of my buff orpington who upon closer inspection has a pretty significant (but dried up) wound on her side under her wing. I'm not sure if it's from the rooster or a predator since they free range all day, but I will be putting a saddle on her so it can heal better.

SADDLES!
I have an 18 month old Easter Egger who is often rough with his favorite ladies. A little history: He was sold to us by Ideal Poultry as a pullet, so.... I was taken aback when he crowed. Anyway, Molly the roo has turned out to be a great protector of our little flock, but he only had 6 ladies (and only 4 standard size hens). Recently, we expanded our flock to give him more entertainment and we will fully integrate all the chickens in the coming weeks. In the meantime, as some of the girls sustained some injuries from him, we started using saddles. They have allowed great protection and permitted their feathers to regrow. My mom is actually a master-seamstress, and she made personalized saddles for the girls. I am not sure how I convinced her to do it!

I love the personalized chicken saddle, how cute and fun! That's how we got our rooster too...I bought 6 "female" chicks and 2 ended up being roos, we kept the least aggressive one. How long do you leave the saddles on them? I'm going to try making some myself!
 

JJandtheBoys

Chirping
Oct 26, 2020
40
33
54
Thank you all for the suggestions! I understand separation is the most effective but in our case it would kind of defeat the purpose of us having the rooster at all, since we have him to protect/unify the flock as they free range...we don't want to actually breed him. I think we'll give chicken saddles a try. I checked over a few of my hens closely today and the worst is only mild saddle feather loss on a few, with the exception of my buff orpington who upon closer inspection has a pretty significant (but dried up) wound on her side under her wing. I'm not sure if it's from the rooster or a predator since they free range all day, but I will be putting a saddle on her so it can heal better.



I love the personalized chicken saddle, how cute and fun! That's how we got our rooster too...I bought 6 "female" chicks and 2 ended up being roos, we kept the least aggressive one. How long do you leave the saddles on them? I'm going to try making some myself!

I'm glad we have Molly, but he is a pill!

Depends on how much regrowth is needed on your girls. Put on the saddle and check after a week or two. Make spares in case it gets wet/too dirty. I machine wash and line dry mine. Yep, I do laundry for my hens. It's come to that!
 

FlauteUrbanFarm

Chirping
5 Years
Nov 30, 2015
3
3
53
Bexley OH
Hey folks! Similar problem here in Central Ohio. 2 of 4 the young hens had bad saddle problems. We bought 4 saddles but I'm concerned with summer rolling around if it'll be too hot for them. We're also considering souping Shelldon Cooper since he's been kinda shitty in the past couple of months.
 

Geckolady

Counting Chickens B4 They're Hatched
Sep 12, 2020
1,424
6,496
416
east central Arizona
I'm glad we have Molly, but he is a pill!

Depends on how much regrowth is needed on your girls. Put on the saddle and check after a week or two. Make spares in case it gets wet/too dirty. I machine wash and line dry mine. Yep, I do laundry for my hens. It's come to that!
How do you make them? Are there close-up pictures or a pattern anywhere?
 

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