Is Roo our dinner guest or does he deserve a chance?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickenBurn, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. ChickenBurn

    ChickenBurn Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm encountering a problem with a newly matured rooster bloodying the heck out of a much-loved Rhode Island Red hen. She and her sister are about a year old and have been inseparable. They were introduced to 6 new chicks and were accepting of the new flock for the most part--only a few lunges here and there to remind the little ones who knows best. The chick who turned out to be a rooster (a very handsome Dominic about 5 months old) has always been the largest of the six, who are all cross-bred and vary in size, color, feather, and demeanor. Another is showing signs of being a rooster but hasn't shown his- or herself just yet. They have been sharing the coop for almost 4 months now, free-ranging on the weekends and when we're home. They would generally range separately: two hens on their own and 6 newbies following each other around most of the time. They would join up in the yard occasionally, and especially when I came out with treats. No problems until..... this week. Roo has gone after Lucy, leaving her head featherless and her comb bloody. She's the only one. As of last night, I've separated her because she needs time to recover from a SERIOUS injury--her skull has been exposed. [​IMG]

    She gives big, yummy, healthy eggs almost every day, even now. Yesterday morning, they were at it again inside the coop--at least, he was. By the time I got dressed and went out to them, Lucy was roosting inside and everyone else was ready to be let out of the run for the day (I was home this AM). I checked on her after an hour or so, once the rest of the flock (Ethel, the sister, now joining them--or they joining her) was far away. There was Lucy, still chilling inside. Not laying, just resting--or hiding. By the time I got home early evening they were all back in the coop roosting together, but Lucy was taken to the tool shed, her injury reaching what could now be life-threatening.

    HOW MUCH TIME DO I GIVE THEM TO SORT IT OUT BEFORE I CHUCK THE ROOSTER?? I don't want to wait too long for things to settle down and lose my pretty little hen or any others. The Rhode Island Reds were my first chickens ever, and so this is also my first rooster. Is he just an over-aggressive jerk who needs re-purposing? Or does he have enough merit to warrant giving him a chance?

    Hen will remain separated till she heals fully, but I'm asking about the rooster because I don't want him to target another.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’m usually a proponent of giving a young cockerel that age a chance to mature, but if he has caused that much damage he’d be gone. There are too many good ones out there to keep a brute. You wouldn’t want to hatch his chicks anyway. Certain personality traits can be inherited.

    How much room do you have? These problems can be made worse by not giving the chickens enough room to get away from a brute, whether the brute is male or female. The less space you have the more likely you are to have these types of behavioral problems whether from a rooster, during integration, or just a pecking order dispute.

    That still does not change my recommendation. I’d get rid of him.
     
  3. ChickenBurn

    ChickenBurn Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, @Ridgerunner , for your input. The roo, so far, is the only rooster to 7 hens. The run is fairly large and they are regularly let out to free range.

    We are taking steps to remove the rooster from our flock. In the meantime, we'll be keeping our eyes on him to ensure he doesn't terrify any other bird like that.

    Tom says the run is about 15ft x 15ft. For 8 chickens ( 1 rooster: 7 hens).
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    That should be plenty big enough. Just your rotten luck getting a bad rooster. Your next one should be a lot better.
     
  5. ChickenCurt

    ChickenCurt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Name him Fryer, B-B-Q, Rotisserie, etc. and enjoy him for his better qualities. ;) If you haven't the heart for that give him more space, since free ranging my birds are less board and more laid back and rarely abuse each other. If problem continues after giving him his freedom go back to naming, Parmesan, Garlic Roast, you get the idea. :)
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Get rid of him.

    To start with, sounds like you didn't intend to have a rooster in the first place. So, you don't need to keep one just cause you got one by accident.
    I've raised several young cockerels to maturity and agree they go through a pretty wild, unpracticed time with mating, but nothing like that. If I had any rooster injure a hen to that extend, I'd eat him, no matter who he was. Roosters are a dime a dozen. If you really want one, try another.
     
  7. ChickenBurn

    ChickenBurn Out Of The Brooder

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    We are currently housing our injured hen separately so that she can heal.

    We should have removed her as soon as we saw blood a few days ago, before it got this bad. We're new to chicken-raising and didn't know how drawn to blood chickens can get.

    Roo is doing great with the other chickens right now. I'm pretty sure he's only showing mating interest in the other 1-hr-old RIR. He's not tearing her apart, though. Maybe my injured hen fought back too much or something??

    Either way, we're interested in keeping the rooster and are watching him closely to be sure he doesn't try anything rough with any others. How he behaves once (and if) our injured girl is rehabilitated and reintroduced will be the big test.
     
  8. ChickenCurt

    ChickenCurt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This'll be hard for many to digest, but if all is well without the hen it is possible that things got out of hand do to a dominance struggle (the pecking order thing) and that the two may never get along and you may have to cull hen or rooster or just keep them separate. It'll depend on the goal you want to achieve.
     
  9. ChickenBurn

    ChickenBurn Out Of The Brooder

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    @ChickenCurt , it's a tricky situation, you're right.

    It looks like roo is doing well with the rest of the flock and even showing signs of being a GOOD roo and flock leader. He's gentle when taking treats from my fingers and sometimes stands still and allows the others to take the treats instead. He has made some interesting noises when my dog comes close by, especially at a quick pace. Once, he kind of growled and they all froze--I think due to a crow coming to rest in a tree nearby. He's strutting around the other RIR hen (injured hen's sister and the only laying hen presently) and she nibbles his neck and shakes her tail feathers in his face. It appears to be an actual courtship instead of a brutal molestation. He's so pretty and crows wonderfully. I pick him up as often as I can and he lets me pick up all of the others without fuss, though he hollers when one of the caught ones holler.

    We're going to keep the rooster for now. If he shows life-threatening aggression toward another chicken again, he's gone. If we successfully rehabilitate our injured Lucy and have a repeat offense, well.... it may be that she's the one that has to go. I have more affection for Lucy, whom I've had longer, who has a sweet demeanor, and who gives great eggs. But doctoring a wounded chicken over and over again just isn't going to happen, especially if the flock functions happily without her. Sad, but true. I know I have to get used to raising chickens AND culling chickens, but it's tough for me not to grow attached.
     
  10. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Young roosters can be a pain in the butt until their hormones settle down. Once they mature(if they are going to be gentle/take care of their girls)you will not see this behavior,if this is a recurring problem then you will have to remove him.
     

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