New Layers, Rooster behavior, Curiosity...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Drewnkat, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. Drewnkat

    Drewnkat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am new to keeping chickens. My little flock are about 21 weeks old, and just started laying in the last 8 days. I have 7 hens and one rooster (I ordered 8 female day-old chicks, it happens). So far the rooster has been great, watches over the hens, dances for them, doesn't hurt them or treat them roughly when mating. He hasn't shown aggression towards me or the kids, in fact today he was doing his "flirty" dance when approaching me. I laughed and told him to go bother someone else.

    Today, I got to witness an egg laying. Super cool, and fascinating of course.

    What has me curious is the rooster's behavior leading up to the hen laying her egg.

    She was "complaining" and walking a bit funny for quite some time beforehand.
    Then she sang the egg song really loudly. I checked, but she hadn't actually done anything! The rooster sang back to her, repeating every note of her song.

    She went back to "complaining" and waddling awkwardly around the yard. The rooster came over to her, and seemed to be following her around to make sure she was OK. She went and hunkered down in some leaves, he seemed like he was standing guard for her.

    This "complaining-egg song-rooster checking in to make sure she's OK" routine happened two more times, until finally the hen found a spot she liked and settled in. After about 20 minutes of arranging and re-arranging the contents of her "nest" she finally let loose. She laid the cutest little pale light brown egg.

    After that, she didn't sing anymore, she just went over to the waterer and had a big drink.

    Does anyone else have a rooster who follows the hen around and paces in front of the nest box like a nervous daddy whose wife is in labor? Am I just a silly first-time chicken owner getting funny ideas? Probably a little bit of both, ha ha!
     
  2. ShockValue

    ShockValue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From what I've read, that's not unusual. Especially when the hens are new and making a fuss like your girl was.

    However, your rooster "flirting" with you is a warning sign that he could start trying to get dominant with you. Watch those signs.

    We had a guy who went from 'flirting' to outright attacking in just a few days. He lives someplace else now. Hopefully yours doesn't go like that as well.
     
  3. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My rooster also likes to sit next to the best box while a hen lays her egg. It's super cute!

    Watch out for that rooster becoming aggressive though. The flirty dance can also be a sign that he is expressing dominance over you. My roo is doing it to me sometimes these days. I don't know if he will become aggressive or not, but I don't think I'd trust him around kids. Just in case.
     
  4. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds like you have a nice cockerel there. My males will also stand and guard hens while they sit to lay. Sometimes they will even get in the nest boxes and call to say here's a great place to lay.
     
  5. Drewnkat

    Drewnkat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ahh, I figured he might be trying to show dominance towards me.

    I look him square in the eye when he approaches me, dance or no dance, and I don't turn my back to him. I pick him up and carry him around at least a couple times per week in order to reinforce that I am higher up in the dominance order than he is. So far he seems to "get it" pretty well. And like I said, overall his personality is fairly laid-back. The kids don't generally go out there unsupervised, except the teens who are big enough to handle things themselves. I've told them all not to show fear or back up when the rooster is walking towards them.

    We have no reservations about the rooster being demoted from "security guard" to "stew pot," but if we can keep things from getting to that point I would prefer it!
     
  6. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Never walk around your rooster. Make him move out of your way. And never let him mate one of your hens in your presence. Push him off her and chase him off. You have to show him that you are the top roo and those are YOUR hens. That's how a dominant roo would act around other roos. You have to be the dominant roo if you want him to be respectful to you.
     
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    x2! Move through him rather than around. Eye contact is tricky; just act like he's a nobody, rather than getting into a stare down situation. Mary
     

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