Newbie chicken owner having issues with a young rooster.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chido, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2011
    El Monte
    I have four young chickens now, they were all born mid to late March, so they are about the same age, give or take a week. I started with three mystery gender and breed chicks that my brother-in-law found in the street (cue to long story involving a neighbor who lets hi chickens free in the street, and us finding dead chicks often, thus we kept these ones we found alive and separated from their flock). Two of the pullets seem to be of a regular size, but one is very small, so I think she is a bantam mix. My brother-in-law wanted to get a rooster for the hens to both help protect them from stray cats and because for him it just feels more natural to have a rooster with hens. Well, I got a rooster, a regular light brahma from a lady I know who raises chickens every year, and she got some cockerels she had to rehome.

    Now, at the beginning everything was fine, but my bantam mix, Rusty, got sick with a yeast infection after I treated her for a sour crop. She's had to spend pretty much every night for the last 2-3 weeks inside the house, because Roostroyer (the brahma) began to peck her. He's sweet with the other two pullets, and they even flare and peck at him to put him in place, so he never bothers them. He, however, pecks at Rusty mainly in the back when she gets close to eat, and since I started to let her get in the coop to sleep now that she's better, he pecks at her rather hard when everybody is settling to sleep. Tonight I was watching them interact and he even made her run out of the coop into the run with his pecking (they are free range most of the day, my coop has a run but it's rather small, so I only lock them inside at night). He even got out of the coop and into the run to chase her, but I grabbed him and didn't let him go until Rusty got back into the coop and settled down. Then I let him back, to which he got into the coop, went to peck at her again a couple of times, and finally everybody settled down.

    I know I've made some mistakes about adopting the brahma. I didn't know how big my hens would be, I didn't even know I had a bantam mix until I saw she is still smaller than the other two, and I had never seen a brahma chicken in person, I just read about them when I knew I had the chance to adopt a cockerel, and I know the breed is very tame and gentle. I am concerned about how he treats Rusty, and because I've never had chickens before, I don't know chicken language and behavior yet [​IMG]. I already know I'm gonna have to upgrade my coop/run to accomodate him, but I'm worried about him pecking her and bullying her at dusk and when they all gather to eat. My nieces and I handle the chickens all the time so they never attack us, and I make sure Roostroyer knows who the boss is. I just don't know how they interact with each other and I'll have to choose between Rusty or Roostroyer if things don't get better.

    Edit: also, my two pullets and cockerel are about 12 weeks old, Rusty is 11 weeks or so, she's a few days younger. The older chickens already cluck, Rusty peeps, and peeps peep peeps a lot. When are chicken supposed to break their voices?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  2. 2DogsFarm

    2DogsFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    NW Indiana
    Not much help here, but I can commiserate (misery loves company, right?)

    I've had my hens for 2 years now and added 2 chicks last August when one of my hens went broody for nearly 3 months. The idea was to break her broodiness & then she'd raise them...but No.... [​IMG]
    Ended up raising the chicks myself & one of them turned into a rooster.

    Teen rooster has started picking (literally!) on one of my hens - the odd one out, a Houdan, so she looks different than the others.
    Her back is pretty much completely bare, no open wounds and she's still laying.
    But I've seen her run to hide from the rooster inside the coop. She dodges under the nestboxes.
    I chase him off her if I'm there and she does have a pal who hangs with her and has chased him off too.
    I'm having a saddle made for her to give her back a chance to re-feather.

    I'll be interested in seeing if anyone here has a solution to this problem.
     
  3. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

    294
    3
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    Apr 16, 2011
    El Monte
    [​IMG] He hasn't pecked her constantly as to remove feathers from her back, but he stresses her when in the coop. They do fine otherwise, except when eating, so now I have a feeder and a dish with food separated for them. I hope he pecks her inside the coop because I've been keeping her inside the house as she was sick (tongue still a bit messed up from a yeast infection), and now I let her hang out outside during the day, and they do fine. Maybe he's been possessive of the coop and doesn't like the intruder? [​IMG]
     

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