My rooster is mean to one of my hens

Siyabonga Mama

Chirping
Aug 19, 2018
27
36
59
Kennewick, Eastern Washington
Hi there! I have a problem that I hoped would resolve itself, but instead it seems to be getting worse. I have a roo who I think is an Austrolorp, six Gold Comet hens aged 2-3 years, and an older Buff Orpington hen - around 4-6 years old. The Buff Orpington seems healthy - I've looked her over and can't find anything wrong, she walks, eats, etc; I think she still lays occasionally - at any rate about once a week I get an ENORMOUS egg. She's calm and mellow, nice to the other chickens. But for some reason my roo just doesn't like her.

A couple months ago I noticed that he wasn't letting her eat when I fed them. (I used to free feed but that attracted mice, so now I feed them once a day, abot 1/4 cup layer pellets each, and they have free range of the large veggie garden, plus kitchen scraps several times a week.) I feed them on a large flat container, with plenty of room for all of them to gather around it. If he looks up and sees her eating he immediately rushes around and chases her away. I started putting down small piles of food separately from the main feeder, and he chases her away from those as well. I've had to start putting food down for her around the side of the henhouse, out of sight of the others, and that seems to work.

He isn't pecking her and she doesn't have any injuries, but she's starting to look depressed, hanging back from the rest of the flock. I'm in E Washington State and it gets pretty cold here ... I'm concerned that he might start chasing her out of the coop, or at minimum not letting her cuddle up with the rest of them at night - or she may just choose not to get too close.

Can anyone throw any light on this behavior? He's a great roo with the other girls; it's just this one. Any suggestions for how I can change this dynamic?
 

feathermaid

Egg Obsessed
Premium member
Feb 5, 2018
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I wonder if you could treat him like any other bossy hen and separate him for a few days. I've never had a rooster so I don't know for sure if it would work the same, but this method did work wonders in the past for a very mean hen that constantly picked on my Buff Orp. It gave the BO a chance to relax and gain confidence, and when the bully finally returned she had to worry more about establishing her own place again and didn't bother with bullying anymore.
 

Left Spur

Chirping
Nov 3, 2019
53
133
63
Chicken is thick headed and vengfull maybe your hen mess wit him first, and he still couldnt get over it.
Or maybe because your orpington looks like a male (how big is her and her comb).
Well, for now just separate them.
 

Left Spur

Chirping
Nov 3, 2019
53
133
63
How old is the rooster?
Are the other hens laying eggs regularly?
Is the isolated hen the top hen?
Oh right, younger rooster still inexperienced and not yet dominat alpha on the flock, they need to climb the chicken's social hierarchy by beating all the other member of the flock, including hen, usually he'll settle down after establising his rank, but sometimes he got carried away and he wont stop.
Dominant hen is like a finall boss so the fight will be more intense.
A big and old roo on the contrary settle quite easily, since the hen will get afraid and just accept him.
 
Last edited:

Siyabonga Mama

Chirping
Aug 19, 2018
27
36
59
Kennewick, Eastern Washington
Oh right, younger rooster still inexperienced and not yet dominat alpha on the flock, they need to climb the chicken's social hierarchy by beating all the other member of the flock, including hen, usually he'll settle down after establising his rank, but sometimes he got carried away and he wont stop.
Dominant hen is like a finall boss so the fight will be more intense.
A big and old roo on the contrary settle quite easily, since the hen will get afraid and just accept him.
She's not a dominant hen, and she's becoming increasingly timid. He's not a young roo; he's been with the flock for a couple years. They've been fine in the past; this is new. My flock has shrunk considerably over the past year - some just died for no clear reason - I've learned that Gold Comets do that - they're bred to lay, not last... :( Dogs got a couple. I used to have two Buff Orpingtons; now she's the only one - but they were all an integrated flock before. It's just so weird... :(
 

Siyabonga Mama

Chirping
Aug 19, 2018
27
36
59
Kennewick, Eastern Washington
How old is the rooster?
Are the other hens laying eggs regularly?
Is the isolated hen the top hen?
The roo is two or three years old, and has been good with the flock up to now. He grew up with them. With it being fall they're laying less - also, they're just coming out of moult. But everyone seems to be laying regularly. None of my hens is especially dominant, and the Buff Orpington has become very timid with his behavior and now is rarely with the flock.
 

Siyabonga Mama

Chirping
Aug 19, 2018
27
36
59
Kennewick, Eastern Washington
Chicken is thick headed and vengfull maybe your hen mess wit him first, and he still couldnt get over it.
Or maybe because your orpington looks like a male (how big is her and her comb).
Well, for now just separate them.
Well, they used to get on in the past ... and no, she doesn't look like a male. She's bigger than the other hens but much smaller than he is.
 

Siyabonga Mama

Chirping
Aug 19, 2018
27
36
59
Kennewick, Eastern Washington
I wonder if you could treat him like any other bossy hen and separate him for a few days. I've never had a rooster so I don't know for sure if it would work the same, but this method did work wonders in the past for a very mean hen that constantly picked on my Buff Orp. It gave the BO a chance to relax and gain confidence, and when the bully finally returned she had to worry more about establishing her own place again and didn't bother with bullying anymore.
Yes, thanks, I think that's the consensus. I'll try ... I can put him back in the summer run for a week and see if his attitude is any different after that. Stupid creature!
 
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