New to chickens-RIR issues!!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Endur50, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. Endur50

    Endur50 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 27, 2011
    North Carolina
    A friend of mine and I decided a few months couple of months ago to do a joint backyard flock, since her barn already had a coop built on the back of it when she moved in. We found a local "chicken person" and purchased 4 nice 4 month old RIR pullets. They settled in nicely, were easy to deal with, quite friendly, would eat out of our hands etc. At 6 months still no eggs, and two were looking suspiciously Roosterlike. One day we were out back and the two roosters started crowing, plus one of the pullets as well. We called the guy we got them from and he graciously offered to exchange the two roosters for two more pullets. We took them over and got two nice adult Barred Rocks, plus two probably 7? week old RIR/BO crosses as "sorry the other ones were roosters" gifts. The Barred Rocks settled in nicely and continued laying without a hitch-even after the stress of the move and new flock! The babies we put in a large wire dog kennel inside the coop in hopes the RIR would get used to them as they grew up and we would be able to introduce them successfully at a later date.

    Fast forward 4 weeks and the RIR have turned into holy terrors. We have gotten two eggs total from one of them, but that's it. They are very dominant over the poor BRs, and even mount them rather forcefully. Both crow now. I know based on behavior they both sound like roosters, but they definitely look like hens, plus the fact that we have gotten a couple of eggs from one. They also pace around the babies' kennel, trying to figure a way to get in there to attack them. I've also had two accidents while cleaning the kennel in which one of the RIR has snuck in and gotten ahold of a baby. They attack to kill and it took extreme force to get her off both times. Luckily they weren't hurt either time, and my DH and I finished our chicken tractor last night and brought the babies over to our house so they can lead a good chicken life now.

    I know RIR have a reputation for being aggressive but I'm surprised it is to this point, and also that it is trumping their egg laying instincts. Is it possible they could be hermapherdite chickens? We've decided these chickens need to go elsewhere-a stew pot possibly. We can't sell them as egg layers because of their current behavior, but is it possible they would straighten out if put with a dominant Roo? A shame since they are healthy, beautiful, 6mo old girls who should be in their prime.
  2. chicky_mommy

    chicky_mommy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 10, 2010
    Northeast Corner of CT
    my opinion...and i dont eat chicken...soup pot.
  3. Choco Maran

    Choco Maran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2009
    Ribera New Mexico
    I have never had rir that was so aggressive. All mine have been very freindly. I would try and rehome them to someone with a roo.
  4. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    RIRs can be a challenge. I have a mixed flock of all different breeds and ages. My observations of RIRs is that they are:

    adventurous- more likely to get into mischief, more likely to seek out new situations, less likely to shy away from danger.

    confident- able to stand up to the foibles that life throws at them, think they are the "head honcho", will fight for their place (high up) in the pecking order.

    aggressive- they will not back down. Period.

    highly motivated- they lay well, they deal with adversity well, but boredom kills them. Prone to behavioral issues and integration problems, as a result.

    If your RIRs are not working out for you then it's time to re-home them or cull them. I am removing some RIRs from my flock this spring because of their temperaments. They are great egg-layers, but their aggressive natures make them unsuitable for my flock, so they have to go. I feel that a happy flock is a healthy flock. The RIRs are making a nuisance of themselves and they are not working towards my goal, so they are not working for the flock or me. They are too much of everything I have mentioned.

    BRs are great birds. BOs are good birds. Perhaps the BO in the RIR cross will be enough to mitigate the RIR nastiness. If your flock is not working for you then it is time to evaluate why you have them. I started with birds to get some eggs and have some fun. Over time that goal has evolved to get some eggs, have a happy and healthy and stable flock, and have some fun. If a bird is not working towards that goal then they are put on notice. Once I notice them, they have a limited period of time to straighten up and fly right, or they go into the pot. Harsh? Yes. Effective? Definitely.

    My two cents. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

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