I Did This Rooster WRONG!!! HELP

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Melissamay, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. Melissamay

    Melissamay Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 24, 2014
    New Hampshire
    Im raising my first flock of 12 Rhode Island Reds, 2 Golden Comets and 2 Easter Eggers.. Naturally, out of the hens I ordered 3 were roosters (2 RIR 1 EE). I started to research (wish i could find the link) and found this page on raising a friendly roo. I read to NEVER pick them up, it'll show a weakness let out a loud hoot when their getting rough or intimidating to you. So i just ignored the roosters when i'd give the hens attention when id go into the run to feed or what not. Get loud when they'd attack the hens... I planned on keeping one or maybe two. The EE roo started to get really mean to a few hens specifically, pinning them down by their neck onto the ground and the hens screech and were losing feathers. I was starting to get worried he'd kill them. So we culled the EE roo. THEN! 3 weeks later its happening again. I understand theres a pecking order in the flock but the aggressiveness is extremely excessive!! Soooo we cull the mean RIR roo yesterday. NOW! the last RIR roo is just as mean. Do i need to get over it?? Is there a way to make him nicer? IS THIS WHY PEOPLE DONT WANT ROOSTERS?? Now im worried theres too many hens and hes mean cause theres too many to protect (they dont free range tho check my photos for my coop/run) where did i go wrong? Thanks for your time guys :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    How old are your birds? It sounds like they're trying to breed them. There is a person here on BYC that goes by the name Ridgerunner. He has described very well the mating process. Read it through. It's very descriptive - especially about the adolescents. This could be what you're seeing. (Ridgerunner - I hope you don't mind my using you as a reference, but you are such a great teacher and are much better at explaining things than I am.)

    " A good chicken mating goes like this:

    The rooster drops his wing and circles a bit. That mating dance is to tell the hen he is interested.

    The hen squats on the ground. That gets her body onto the ground so the weight of the rooster goes through her entire body and not just through her legs. That protects her legs and joints from damage.

    The rooster hops on and grabs the back of her head with his beak. That head grab not only gets him in the position to hit the target and helps him to keep his balance, it is also the signal to the hen to raise her tail out of the way so the target is exposed.

    The rooster quickly touches vents and hops off. His part is done.

    The hen stands up, fluffs her feathers and shakes. That shake is to get the sperm into the right container near where the egg yolk starts its journey through her internal egg making factory.

    Not all matings go this way. Some roosters just jump the hen instead of dancing. That signals he does not have that much confidence in himself and does not impress the hens.

    Sometimes the hen runs away instead of squatting. The rooster might ignore her if she runs. He might chase her. Some hens will quickly squat if he chases. She was just checking to see if he was serious. Sometimes she tries to get away. He may give up or he may keep chasing until he catches her and forces her. As long as the hen squats and he does not damage her, it is all OK, though it can be unsettling when the hen won’t submit.

    For this to work the rooster needs to impress the girls and the girls need to do their part. Some roosters remain brutes forever. Some hens will never submit and do their part. These are rare in mature chickens but pretty common in immature birds. When the hormones first start flowing the adolescents don’t know what is going in and can’t control it very well. It can get fairly nasty with chasing and forcing. But eventually the boys and girls mature enough to do their part and get the technique right.

    With a mature rooster like one a year old and laying hens old enough to be laying the best way to introduce a new rooster when there is not another rooster in the flock is to turn him loose with them. He will quickly mate with a few to show he is the boss and life is then good in the flock. You are dealing with living animals so no one can give you any guarantees, but mature chickens can usually handle this stuff pretty well. It’s those adolescents that you have to watch out for."
     
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree with the above post.

    However, some roosters are too aggressive. You may have gotten 3 that were so. Personally, I think that roosters that are raised just with flock mates, tend to out grow the girls quickly, and often are bigger and more likely become a bully, than roosters that are raised in an established flock of multiple ages.

    It sounds like you are just getting started in this hobby. And that the roosters are decreasing the enjoyment you are having with your flock. The advice I often give new chicken owners is just go with an all hen flock the first year or even couple of years. Get some poultry experience.

    However, if you want a rooster, contact your feed store, or your local poultry club, or your county extension agent. There are people near you with flocks that have a really nice rooster, that flock wise should go into the pot, but he is so nice, and nice ones should live, that his owner is wishing to give him away to another flock. Currently I have just such a lovely boy myself. Never a bit of aggression, but he needs his own flock. I really do not have a need for two roosters.

    An older rooster that is proven to be a good rooster is an easy addition to the flock. I would wait until your girls are laying eggs, then add him. A good rooster is a joy in the flock, and a rotten one is misery.

    Mrs K
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
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  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Very good advice! Mrs. K is also a good teacher and very wise.
     
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  5. Melissamay

    Melissamay Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 24, 2014
    New Hampshire
    They are all the same age, their about 18 weeks, my husband brought them home from the farm supply store April first. i REALLY appreciate both of your responses. I think im going to go with the advice you gave Mrs.K. I think we'll cull the last roo and go with just hens this year. Bobbi j Thank you, your totally right it was soo fun with the brooder to the coop watching them run. THEN THIS im sooo irritated and stressed with this. One more question tho... i should have mentioned this before. So we were gonna take both of the roos last night but "chickened out" ;) because i wanted to see how the roo would do being solo. sooo the roo got away and was out of the coop last night i got him back this morning. BUT when i went to shut the hen door last night there was a hen out and she was pecking at me and freaking out when i put her in. That never happens, it was like she was looking for him and mad at me! what do i do when i take him?? i feel like im stressing them out right before they start laying.
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Take a deep breath. You're over thinking it. Your hen was probably stressed because she was trying to get in and then (I'm assuming) you picked her up and put her in? She may have been looking for him, but she was not mad at you. Probably just in a dither over being left outside. She'll be fine. When we butcher, we just grab our chosen bird and take care of it. When it's time, just go get him. Yes, it will cause the hens some stress but not necessarily because they're thinking, "OH NO! Now George is gone, too! When she grabbed Bob and Harry they never came back, and now she has George!" It's because there is another change in the flock dynamics and every time that happens, it throws them. Chickens don't do change well. And every time a bird is added to or subtracted from the flock, they have to reestablish the pecking order. Bob, Harry and George were at the top of the order. Now that they're not, one of the hens will take that place and they will have to work it out. It may take some time, but they'll adjust and be just fine.
     
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  7. This is why I love BYC. So much information at your fingertips to store for later use. Thanks.
     

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