My Poor Rooster!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ravie, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Ravie

    Ravie Songster

    Aug 4, 2010
    Greenfield, Indiana
    Let me preface this by saying that I'm a new chicken owner. My hens are 24 weeks old. I've had them since they were 2-3 days old. I purchased the rooster fairly recently. This is my first flock.

    My 2-year-old rooster Lyle was introduced to my 24 hens about 9 days ago. As the only rooster, he seemed to fit in with the ladies right away. I've been pleased at how well he's done protecting them and keeping them in line. 2 days ago, I noticed that he had a little blood on his comb. Since he's enthusiastic about his manly duties, I figured that one of the hens had had enough of his attentions and pecked him. I didn't feel bad for him at all. It was the same yesterday too. He greeted me in the morning with some blood on his comb. No big deal.

    Last night, I visited the chickens to top off their water and noticed that Lyle was bleeding a bit more from a wound on his head. He was scratching at it so I assumed that he'd just been picking at the older minor wounds and had just torn them open again. My husband offered to separate him from the flock, but he seemed absolutely fine. Still manly, still in charge and still quite happy. I told him I didn't think separating the rooster was necessary. I was wrong.

    Fast forward to this morning. I opened the door to the coop to find my rooster's head matted with blood. He was lying on the floor of the coop and his breast and tail feathers were all bedraggled. He didn't have any interest in leaving the coop or in the fresh warm water I brought to him. We filled a dog crate with bedding and brought him into the garage. He had the energy to crow for 10-15 minutes before quieting. I'm hoping to keep an eye on him and let him heal before letting him join the girls again.

    I guess my questions are as follows:

    Would my chickens really hurt a mature rooster? If so, why would he allow such a thing?

    Could he have caused these injuries by picking at his wounds?

    Is there anything i can do to prevent this from happening again?

    I'm in the coop ALOT. I visit 4-8 times a day and stay out there for 5-10 minutes each time. I haven't noticed any fighting.

  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    You know, I don't think that this is a hen attack? I mean a two year old roo, should be considerably bigger than the hens, and if he is the only roo, should be having the hormones to take care of himself. If the hens were picking on him, they would be doing it in front of you. When going to the coop 4 times a day, you would see this behavior if a hen was picking on a roo.

    Bedraggled feathers almost sound like a mammal attack, could it have been a coon or a mink? How tight is your coop/run? I had a 6 foot fence, that our coons crawled with ease both going into dinner and hauling dinner out. I finally went to totally enclosed run.

    This time of year, predators are much more desperate, seems like a funny deal, no other hens are bothered. Have you lost any other chickens?

  3. medan

    medan Songster

    Apr 1, 2010
    I dont doubt (some) hens would attack a rooster but its more likely a dog or other verman It seems like too many hens for a single rooster
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  4. Ravie

    Ravie Songster

    Aug 4, 2010
    Greenfield, Indiana
    My coop is solid and hasn't been breached. It is surrounded by deep snow and the only tracks around it are dog tracks. I have two dogs, but so do the neighbors. My husband theorized that maybe one of the neighbor dogs came over and barked at the chickens (which can't be seen from the outside, but most definitely can be heard) and caused the rooster to go into protect mode. Maybe the rooster harmed himself at that point.

    The chickens were pecking at him today while he was down and bloody. But I've seen NOTHING like that before this morning. He is nearly twice the size of the largest hen. Maybe he caught his head on a nail or something. I'll have to look more carefully when I go out next.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    you know, that might be it. Once I had two hens with blood blisters on the side of their head, they stuck their head through the chicken wire and then pulled back fast and hard, catching their 'ear?' part. Looked tough for a while.

    You will have to keep your eyes open, something will click as to what happened, as often as you are down there. I just really don't think that the hens did it. I think it was something else.

    If you were going to have problems with the hens, it would have been imediate, not 9 days later. MrsK
  6. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

    Oct 7, 2010
    Conroe, Texas
    Sounds like he had a minor wound that sparked the others into pecking him.
    Chickens are drawn to blood and will peck and can cause either serious harm or cannilbalize the wounded bird if the wounded bird is not seperated and treated. (This is the dark nature of the chicken)
    I would not recommend putting him back until he is healed up.

    You need to add blue kote to your chicken care products so when you see one with minor wound you spray this on them after cleaning and medicating the wound to discourage the others from pecking at it.

    You can use Neosporin to help with their wounds. Avoid the one with the meds ending in cain as these are bad for the chickens.
    Other more experienced folks can offer you more care tips to help get your guy back on track and for treating any future wounds that will pop up from time to time down the road.
  7. wbruder17

    wbruder17 Songster

    Jun 7, 2010
    Portland, OR
    I have a polish crested rooster with 9 chickens. One chicken, a brown leghorn and the only one he mates with, has plucked out all of the feathers on the back of his head. Only the back, where he can't see them coming. I spoke to several "chicken experts" and they've never heard anything like the situation I have, so I believe that the girls definitely can gang up or damage a full grown rooster for several reasons.

  8. Mak

    Mak Songster

    Dec 12, 2009
    Londonderry, NH
    My hens pick my Polish rooster bald all the time. He has a big bald spot in the middle of his head. From what I have read, this is not unusual with Polish. The hens see that funky crest as different and pick at it.

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