Is this wrong? Roosters being mean to the hens.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by m_shuman, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. m_shuman

    m_shuman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    Springfield, GA
    Let me begin by saying I did not want roosters but got stuck with 2 even though I bought chicks from the pullet bin. I need to rehome 1 because I only have 7 girls. I want to wait and see which one is less agressive with the girls and me. With my luck I would rehome one and then get stuck with the mean one.

    They are at an age where the roosters want to breed and the girls do not. There is alot of screaming going on in the run every day. In fact yesterday my son thought one of the roosters was killing his chicken because he so forcefully held her to the ground. She was screaming and then stopped and let him do his business while she laid there limply, like she was dead. She even laid there for a minute or two after he was done and had walked away from her. Sometimes in the morning I have also thought there was a predator in the run because of all of the noise looked out and it was the roosters chasing and tormenting the hens. I have decided to let the roosters free range all day to keep peace in my run and hen house. Of course they don't go far because the hens are locked in. Yesterday it was peaceful and quiet and actually kind of fun to watch the roosters in the yard. They come running when a car pulls in the driveway. I am actually considering free ranging them from now on. Is there anyone else who does this? Is there any reason I shouldn't do it?
  2. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Well, no, not in your case. They are more at risk from predators, but, you need one gone anyhow. Win, win either way.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The way I understand your problem, you are trying to decide which of the two roosters you want to get rid of. In the meantime, you want to keep them separated from the pullets, which sounds like a good idea from your description of what is going on. Free ranging the roosters and keeping the pullets penned seems like a good all around solution. I encourage you to continue doing that.

    The problem comes in where, if both young roosters are going after the young pullets, one of them is dominant, even at that young age. Which one is dominant may change as they continue to mature, but the dominant one will be the one that might turn aggressive or mean. The dominant one has certain responsibilities and certain priviledges. The one that is not dominant also has his role to play in flock protection, but he is not the main flock protector. It is highly unlikely the non-dominant one will start attacking people. And the way he treats the girls can change if he becomes the dominant one.

    All this can change if you remove the dominant one. The other is suddenly thrust into the main role of flock protector. He may change and become mean. Of course, it is also very possible he may not become mean. Until they are actually in the dominant role, you just don't know how they will act. To make it even more complicated, a dominant rooster may go for months and not be mean toward people, then suddenly flip. You are dealinng with living animals. It is hard to predict exactly what will happen.

    I don't know your circumstances, but if you live under conditions where you can free range chickens, I suggest you let one rooster free range every day, including sleeping separately from the flock. Keep the other rooster with the pullets. Well, maybe it would be a good idea to wait a few weeks before putting in one with the pullets, say until a couple start to lay. Give the pullets time to grow up some. They have a part to play in how peaceful or traumatic mating is. Try one rooster with the pullets for a week or two. Then swap roosters. See which one treats the girls better when he is the flock master. There is no guarantee that the rooster won't change later, but I think this gives you the best way to judge the two roosters.

    There is another option. Since you did not want any roosters to start with, get rid of both.

    Deciding which rooster to keep is not always easy, especially because of the way the flock dynamics change depending in whether one is in charge or subordinate. Good luck!
  4. Heathero617

    Heathero617 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2011
    just started freeranging my big birds about 2 weeks ago. My boys and my girls. I've had 2 flocks and both times i've had more than 1 roo and never had a problem between the boys and all have been personable. I just encountered my boys yesterday trying to practice their "skills" on a little cochin hen i got which was bizzare because my boys are big barred rocks! One actually picked the little hen up off the ground by her back feathers! I think i've just decided to keep the cochins seperate from the others forever. Soon i'll be letting the other younger guys in with the big birds and out to freerange as well. They are happier birds and as long as you keep an eye on them you should be safER.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by