i thought roosters were meant to keep the peace?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by wullus, May 26, 2012.

  1. wullus

    wullus Chirping

    May 7, 2012
    Queensland, Australia
    To start with: we have one roo and one hen, who is currently laying. Our friend has given us three baby chickens a few weeks ago, and they've always been locked up in the coop. They never roost, they always huddle in the corner. I've also bought four pullets two weeks ago and put them in. The original roo bosses them all around, pecking them and running up minding everyone elses business.

    Anyway, as usual the original hen and the roo jumped up on the roost to go to sleep, and the four pullets I bought jumped up and were immediately pecked down by the hen, and retreated to the nesting boxes like usual (by the way, how do you stop this?!?!)

    However, I also noticed one of the baby chickens which is like 8 weeks old now, she tried to jump up on the top roost by herself next to the rooster, and the ROOSTER pecked her down! I thought they were supposed to keep the peace between all the hens. Why would he be doing this? (I'm pretty sure he's a Barren Rock. if it's relevant, he is very scared, has never tried to attack me, and usually lets the hens eat food he finds when free ranging. I saw him mount a few of the hens today, which was quite awkward, though normal.

    How long til they all work things out and roost together? They all hang out together when they free range, but they still have this bossy hen who seems to exclude them all. Thanks.
  2. Mattemma

    Mattemma Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    You could lock up the original hen,but she might just fight her way to the second slot anyway once re introduced.I thought my roo would tame issues,but he just makes sure everyone knows HE is top,and then sits back to let the ladies bicker,lol.
  3. wullus

    wullus Chirping

    May 7, 2012
    Queensland, Australia
    Oh **** that must suck. Yea maybe it depends on the rooster. But seriously this hen does not let up! I just ordered 6 day old chicks, hopefully they come next week. Gunna be hard to introduce em to this hen once they are grown up a bit.
  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
    Flock dynamics can get difficult. Make sure you have enough space for the number of birds you have. Make sure you have enough roosts to allow all birds to find a spot for the night. Yes, roosters will put a low ranking hen in place. He has his favorite gal, and usually she decides where she wants to roost for the night. He's making sure the slot next to him is open for her. So long as the confrontations don't get bloody, I keep out of their affairs. Otherwise, I start thinking about rehoming the aggressive birds to people who know the temperament of the bird.

    If you have the space, put roosts on opposite ends of your chicken house. You might even try having separate food and water stations to lesson the aggression. Eventually, if you add more chickens, you might want to consider adding another chicken facility to your farm.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Your big problem is the variety of ages in the flock. Once everyone gets to be an adult, and adult size, things equal out more, and you will get a flock dynamic.

    Really considering the diversity in age and size of your chickens, I think what you have going is going very well. And I would leave it alone. They are not killing each other, and really I am surprised that you got away with putting in chicks at 8 weeks old. Maybe that roo is doing better than you think.

    Another point, is how old is your rooster? Mine did not really figure out all the flock stuff till he was close to 14 months. As they get older, they do get better.

    Leave things alone, and when your chicks get to be about 4 months old, you will have a peaceful flock.

  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I never put 8 week old chicks in a flock like that. They can be killed.

    You expected too much of your rooster. He will keep peace between his hens, but these are babies. They are not in his group yet and he will probably not protect them from his hens.

    You also didn't follow quarantine procedures and risked introducing disease into your flock.

    How are you feeding babies when the hens must eat layer feed with proper calcium levels and 8 week old chicks need starter/grower feed?
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  7. Sakmeht

    Sakmeht Chirping

    May 19, 2011
    I have 9 weekers in with 3 adult hens. They also get pecked down from the roosts and end up in the nest boxes. I just go out after full dark and put them back on the roosts. I was told to feed the starter/grower to all the birds with oyster shell on the side for the adults. Just thought I'd offer what we've been doing. The babes have been fine otherwise and have been with the big girls since 6 weeks, although they did start out in a separate wire enclosure for a week so they could get use to everyone.
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    when I have a broody hen with the flock with chicks that is what I do too, feed everyone chick started and add shells and oyster shell on the side. Mine seem to be do fine.
  9. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Songster

    Apr 22, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    My Coop
    Can't say anything to the roo (haven't had one yet), but will say that the original hen and roo probably haven't fully incorporated the new pullets into the flock yet, and probably won't for some time (a month or more). Some chickens take longer to adjust to new members. Very aggressive roosters have been known to kill "intruder" (newly added) hens, so count yourself lucky that they're just getting kicked off the roost! Just give them more time. If you're really concerned, consider adding in another roost. Also, to get them to stop roosting in the nest boxes, you have to block them off in the evening, then open them again in the morning for a few days. Good luck!
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Pull dominant hen and place her where rooster can not readily hear her. This makes rooster think he lost his hen. A rooster without a hen then becomes much more willing to take in juveniles. His logic may be that if no adult hens present, then he can raise his own. I make use of this with game roosters where juveniles are placed in with a rooster and after a day or so he goes into a broody rooster mode where he protects interest of juveniles and can be used to suppress dominance battles of young males. He also speeds the movement of chicks from the on ground / in nest roosting habit to the up roosting habit. Take time to listen up close to chickens going to roost in the evening. First birds, usually males gives a soft call that I think actually induces balance of flock to come up faster. This interaction maybe why in our language roost and rooster are related becuase somebody way back made same observation. In nature this normally works at least with my games on walks where when hen sets on a subsequent brood or is lost to something (i.e. predator) then rooster can tend promote survival of his own offspring.

    After a few days, return hen. She may be a bit of an "old bittie" or female dog but if rooster does not join her efforts, then young will be allowed to stay. In my setting, juveniles are allowed to stay.

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