My roosters have suddenly gotten mean to the hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by annroberts54, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. annroberts54

    annroberts54 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 25, 2011
    I have 2 roosters and 3 hens. Red Wyandotte's that were born last spring. They have a nice large safe coop at night, a run they really don't use much and the great outdoors to roam in most of the day. The hens are laying well and everything seemed fine. Up until today. For some reason, the 2 roosters have started ganging up on my shyest hen, Ophelia. They keep mounting her over and over, until finally she got stuck in the fence trying to get away from them and I think they would have killed her if I had not come to the rescue. I grabbed her and got her unstuck and took her to a fenced in dog run we no longer use for dogs at all. On the way, I inspected her back and she was nearly featherless and even had some bloody spots.

    As soon as she was confined, they started in on another one of the hens. She is a bit heartier tho and fended them off fairly well. My 3rd hen had not come out of the nest box all day. I am not sure if she has gone broody or is just scared to come out and face the wrath of the roosters.

    If I don't find a solution we will have to let the boys go and that will break my heart. But the hens have a job to do and we don't have to have the roosters to accomplish that.

    We also have 4 baby girls that will need to be integrated into the flock in another month or so. So that also becomes part of the equation for anyone offering me any ideas or opinions.
  2. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    sounds like your male to female ratio is too high. for just three hens, i would think only one rooster would work or else they would be constantly trying to outdo each other and consequently abusing the girls. since it hasn't happened until today, maybe it's some other dynamic. i'm very new to the chicken world. mine aren't even grown yet.
    good luck getting things smoothed out again.
  3. annroberts54

    annroberts54 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 25, 2011
    I have been told that 2 roosters were too many for 3 hens. But they seemed to all be doing so well and I will be adding the 4 new girls soon and thought that would help with the ratio.

    But now, how would I choose which rooster to go first? One seems to be a bit bossier but not by much. And if he is gone, will the other continue the wicked ways after he is top dog, so to speak?
  4. annroberts54

    annroberts54 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 25, 2011
    And does anybody know if separating my shyest girl is a good idea and for how long should I keep them apart?

    I know, probably all silly questions but this is my first flock and I have learned to love them all so much. But not so much, that I will let any roosters spoil the dynamics of the flock
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    With only three hens, two roos is way too many. You're lucky it's been okay until now, but you need to ditch one rooster and see how things go. I've also had a rooster stalk a specific hen, when they were free ranged and he had 20 other hens to chose from. I'd pull them both out, let the hens heal and regroup, then put your favorite rooster back in and monitor. If he's too hard on the hens by himself, pull him and try your alternate. You might just need to keep them both out until your littles are old enough to take some of their attentions. As stated, your first responsibility is to your working hens, they're the ones that make your product.
  6. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I agree that you need to remove one of the roosters. Generally you should have one rooster for every 10 to 12 hens; as a minimum. I had two roosters with almost 30 hens and still had issues between the boys. They are being boys!

    As far as separating your shy girl... probably not a good idea as she'll have to come in as the bottom hen when you put her back in with the rest. She'll be a target again. You need far more hens or no roosters or only one rooster.

    One thing I have done - I have one adorable little silky hen and the rest of my 30 some chickens are twice her size. (Except my silky roo) At night we lock her up on a protected side of the coop. She is with the other birds but has chicken wire between them and her. During the day she is let out with everybody in the run or to free range. Since there is no place for her to get protection from the bullies of my bunch, this is the best way to protect her when there is no where for her to run to get away from being chased.

    It's interesting that even my two boys had their favorite girls - those poor girls had no back feathers and did, at times, have blood. I ended up re-homing my most aggressive rooster as he was just too hard on my girls.

    Finally, there are never any silly questions... always ask. You are learning and wanting to take care of your flock the best way you can. We all started as complete newbies at some point in our lives.
  7. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 13, 2008
    Sun City, California
    I'd say to separate the ROOS from the hens. And immediately. Keep all of the hens together. If you want both roos, would advise to keep them in the other dog run for majority of the time and only allowed occasional short visits to the hens.

    The roos are being too aggressive. If you still want one and part with another, watch their "supervised visits" one roo at a time and see which one is being more of a gentleman to the hens.

    But seriously, confine both roos to the dog run ASAP and keep them there until the hens have recovered well. They don't really need a roo to be with them anyways.
  8. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    I had to re-home one of my roosters recently - for the same reason. I knew I only needed the one roo - so I picked my favorite and sold the other one. I usually can find buyers for my extra roos pretty quickly via Craigslist.
  9. AllTheseCreatures

    AllTheseCreatures Chillin' With My Peeps

    I wouldn't tolerate a rooster that wasn't a gentleman to the hens. Getting rid of my first rooster broke my heart too (he was so pretty), but I'm sure he won't be the last.
  10. genesis1verse1

    genesis1verse1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2012
    North East Texas
    I have 2 jersey giant roosters in a pen with 11 hens. The roos are the same age and are just gettting mature, 6mos. 6 of the hens are laying and 5 are due pretty soon. We haven't had a problem until today when both roosters began attacking one hen. They singled her out and were inflicting some damage. My quick solution was to throw an older rooster in there to break it up until I figure out what to do. What would cause those two roos to just begin picking on one hen severely? (She is a good layer). The reason I have two roosters is because I plan to breed them this spring and one is a back up. I only have one spare pen right now. Should I remove the young JG's for a while and leave my spare mixed rooster in there with them (he's several weeks older and more mature acting) or just remove one JG roo for now? Or a completely different strategy?

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