Moved Rooster out - now hens are fighting!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by WIchickens, May 23, 2016.

  1. WIchickens

    WIchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I've got about 20 layers and 1 rooster I put in with them this spring. He just kept growing and growing and got HUGE. Then he was over-mating with the hens to the point of bald heads and backs. Enough I thought, and moved him out of the coop so they could heal.

    Well, that is NOT what is happening. Instead - they are now beating each other up!!! Some looks worse than before! I expected a little disturbance and pecking order bickering for a few days - but we are going on 3 weeks!

    They have plenty of space, both inside and out. I just don't get it! Is something else wrong? Do I put that rooster back in? He makes me nervous because he is just so big and not what I would call friendly.

    Any suggestions???
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    How much is plenty of space? I personally pen my roosters in a pen where the hens can still see and interact with him but he can't mate them. It does sound like either way you have troubles.
     
  3. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    x2 constant social fighting is generally always brought upon by too little space... And IMO too little space might also be why you experienced over breeding with a 1:20 ratio...
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  5. WIchickens

    WIchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The 20 birds have indoor and outdoor space - I would say 12x10 inside and 12x10 on the outside. They don't seem crowded at all to me - and we haven't added any new hens since last fall. The birds range in age from 1-3 years. The 2 3year olds that I have don't seem to be involved in the fighting.

    This is no confusing. I saw it myself yesterday. One jumped on the others back like a rooster and ripped some feather out of her head!! That hen is definitely not a rooster! SO weird!

    Why can't we all just get along????[​IMG]
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You would say...but is it really 12x10?
    That's good size for coop, but run is a bit small.
    They are fighting for dominance, mounting is not always sexual....and chickens can be vicious.
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Coop size is okay, run size is too small. Chickens need to move and do chicken things, they are probably physically and mentally bored and have pent up energy. What do they do all day? I would enlarge the run as much as possible or let them out to range.

    When chickens feel crowded the natural response is to try to drive out members. It's usually high ranking ones who go after lower ranking birds. Under natural settings the birds would leave to find their own territory, in a penned up situation birds will kill birds.

    Your birds are probably finally getting used to their new home and have more confidence. That why they are now fighting and didn't before. You could decrease the numbers but the run would still be too small to keep them from finding other more deadly outlets to their boredom. That's also why the rooster was over mating hens, and he probably a bit over stimulated from the lack of exercise.
     
  8. WIchickens

    WIchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, it is indeed 12 x 10. I asked my husband who built it.

    They have all lived in this coop together for over a year - and they were fine until I pulled that rooster out. I really prefer not to have a rooster in there - I am not hatching eggs from them or anything - but is that the problem? Do I need a rooster to keep order? Maybe I will put I silkie roo in there - at least it would be more friendly lol.

    I breed silkies but they are kept in another coop - that is why I suggested it lol

    They of course have pecked off every plant in the run and are on dirt. I throw them scratch every day and food scraps if I have them. Maybe I will have the huddy build them a swing set to cure their boredom.
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    If you don't like the rooster don't keep him. I have had silkie roosters with my large breeds, they have been good rooster. Your hens could handle two of them.

    You will need to provide places for hens to get away from each other or some visual blocks. Chairs, logs, tables, water trough, wooden shipping crates and extra perches can go a long way sometimes.

    Also creating a deep littler in your run can help. We throw lawn trimmings and garden weeds in ours. You can also put down boards or rocks which you periodically turn over for bugs or dig them some holes to turn the earth for fresh scratching. A couple of handfuls of scratch throw on the ground to find is always fun, and any left overs from your dinners can go to them to keep them occupied.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Adding another cock might just stir things up again......might want to give the hens some time to work things out.

    Agrees more run space and/or more variety in run can really help a few logs, a pallet leaned up against run wall or up on concrete blocks, some roosts, boards on ground that are moved once in while for the hiders underneath..mine need no helps digging holes, it looks like a minefield out there...all that stuff can help.

    I tacked a piece of 1x2 fencing on a run wall, hinged at bottom/bungied at top, and fill it with weeds from the garden. They can pick at it thru the 1x2. Grazing frames are another option.
    Start to build up some deep litter is a good idea too.
     

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