Is this ok?

KennytheRancher

Hatching
Aug 9, 2016
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0
7
I started raising chickens for 8 weeks now is it ok for my 8 week old chicks to start mating for that is what i am seeing my rooster doing to one of my 3 hens as he grabs her neck and gets on top of her Is that normal behavior or do I need to do something (1 new hamp red rooster,1 new hamp red hen,1 golden comet hen,and1 Dominique hen) my rooster does this to my golden comet or that is the only one I see him doing that too
 

Cynthia12

Always Grateful
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Apr 11, 2010
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I agree, pecking order is being established.
 

KennytheRancher

Hatching
Aug 9, 2016
3
0
7
My chickens are about 16 weeks now and I have them to a attached run but I want to know what age can I free range them without watching them during the day time can they protect themselves from Hawks or other predators at this age I have 4 1 rooster the rest hens
 

QueenMisha

Queen of the Coop
Jan 14, 2015
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Placerville, California, USA
Welcome to BYC! It's great to have you.

Rarely will a cockerel start mating so young. It's likely a dominance display. He may turn out to be a pest as he matures though, the quicker maturing cockerels have a tendency to be jerks once they're grown.

Free ranging can begin once they are fully grown. They should reach physical maturity anywhere between 16-20 weeks. Keep in mind that they are still vulnerable to predators at any age, just a bit less so when it comes to small predators (hawks, cats). Free ranging is accepting eventual loss of some birds and acknowledging that since the predators are not being excluded from the area, you will remove them when they cause issues.
 

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