Newbie needs rooster advice...

Debrakinsky

In the Brooder
May 1, 2020
24
26
44
Hello. I’m a complete newbie. I’ve been reading and trying to learn as I go. We bought a house that had a beautiful coop and run and the previous owners left us their 10 hens and 1 rooster. They couldn’t take the chickens as they weren’t yet set up at their new home and didn’t want to stress the flock. I’ve added 3 starter pullets who are doing fine. My only problem is the rooster. He doesn’t challenge me, but I have witnessed him being brutal with one hen and have another one who has a partially bare back (have not yet witnessed him picking at the second one). At first I chalked it up to Mother Nature (thought there might be something wrong with the one hen). She is partially blind (one eye destroyed—don’t know if he did it, but honestly believe it’s possible). She also has most of the feathers on her topside gone. She is a fighter and still seems pretty vibrant and competes for food, so she’s holding her own. Tonight I saw him cover and mate with her (which really irritated me). If the rooster saw her as an outcast, why would he mate with her? Personally, I don’t see a need for a rooster. I don’t need him for fertilization (I don’t want to raise chicks). I think he’s very handsome and I love his occasional crowing, but I don’t want him beating up the hens. We have only had our home for 2 months, but have not seen any predators yet. Possible that he could keep predators at bay, but not sure about that function yet. I think our coop is pretty well defended. I don’t want to get rid of him if I don’t have to, and I certainly don’t want to butcher him. But I’ll do what I have to. I’m thinking about first trying to isolate him for a bit to see what that might accomplish. Any ideas? I’m so new at this that I would appreciate any ideas and thoughts. I’m just at a loss as to the next steps. Thanks so much in advance for your ideas and thoughts.
 

JacinLarkwell

Free Ranging
Mar 19, 2020
11,431
20,432
681
South-Eastern Montana
Breeding can sometimes be rather brutal especially if the hen isn't willing. You have to remember that roosters don't see mating the same as humans. We see someone as an outcast and thus don't want a relationship. They see them as another female they can use to spread there genetics to the next generation with.

Those two may be his favorite hens and thus get the most attention. Have you looked into chicken saddles for them? They're cloth that covers their backs so they don't get as hurt from being mounted.
 

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
10 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,459
5,459
502
NW Oregon
A good rooster will not be overly rough with his hens. While there can be some mild feather damage, they shouldn't be stripped bare. He should woo, dance, and protect...to a degree. For any real threat most roosters are pretty ineffective generally losing their life for the flock at best, running for their own life at worst.

You don't need him and aren't enjoying him. Re-home or eat.

My thoughts and experiences.
LofMc
 

JacinLarkwell

Free Ranging
Mar 19, 2020
11,431
20,432
681
South-Eastern Montana
A good rooster will not be overly rough with his hens. While there can be some mild feather damage, they shouldn't be stripped bare. He should woo, dance, and protect...to a degree.

I've gotta disagree there just a bit, not trying to start an argument though. My mixed breed rooster his a great male. He gets the job done and seems to be the second best rooster we've had for this coop (his dad still beats him though). But he has one hen he loves to breed with and by the end of summer, she simply has been bred so much by him that she has no back feathers. He isn't being mean and picking at her, he literally just loves to breed with that one particular hen
 

Debrakinsky

In the Brooder
May 1, 2020
24
26
44
I’ve watched him quite a bit (I’ve sat nearby the coop quite a few times and just observed). He’s quite brutal with this one hen. I couldn’t understand why just her, which is why I just sat and observed. I had decided there must be something wrong with her, or maybe she was one of his favorites. But she is obviously at the bottom of the pecking order. She is always at the bottom of the roost (even below the new pullets). It shocked me to see him mount her today because of my other observations. She is obviously partially blind (but it looks like it was caused by physical damage—to my untrained eye). After witnessing a couple of attacks I believe it’s very possible that he caused the damage. His favorite hens he doesn’t pick on, and when I feed table scraps he is always the last one to get anything (I have even seen one of his favorite hens pull food from his beak! I love the guy, but I don’t want him brutalizing the hens. I’ve decided I’m going to try isolating him for awhile before I give up, but I’d like to hear from experienced flock keepers before I give up on him.
 

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
10 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,459
5,459
502
NW Oregon
If he is great with the other hens, cull or re-home the one he is abusing. It doesn't sound like her flock life is pleasant. She may need to be in a very chill flock or her health is poor such that you need to cull her.

Chickens are very unforgiving of any infirmity in the flock. He may turn his affections to another, but if he is over rough again, cull him. I do not believe a rooster has to be rough with any in his flock or so lousy at mounting that he strips their feathers and injures them. I have some vent wear patterns on favorites but do not keep roosters who do more.

By the way, post a photo of her eye. Ocular Marek's also causes blindness. It usually appears as growth in the iris and a fish eye look. You don't want that to be the reason she is being hazed.
 
May 28, 2020
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100
60
So....here's my advice. Even though it might be hard to swallow.
Rooster are either 'agressive' or 'not agressive'.
There are many very handsome gentle roosters. And there are also many very handsome violent roosters.
And yes.....some are just plain...old....mean.
As some people previously mentioned...yes....some roosters will strip a hens back totally bare. Through mating...or through bullying. And some people might disagree as to whether they think it is normal or not. Or whether the rooster knows better or thinks the same way as humans.
But, none of that matters.....
You have a decision to make.
Know now.....that rehoming your rooster might be very difficult. However....you might find someone.
Also.
..isolating your rooster will do nothing.
Your roosters personality is set. He will not change.
Your rooster is most likely attacking that particular hen because she is at the bottom of the pecking order and therefor threatens the health of HIS flock, or she is taking valuable resources from the healthy strong flock.. Or so he thinks.....because he is just a bird and has no way of understanding that it's ok for that hen to be weak,.... because humans will always feed them and they won't actually starve. But this is instinct. He is just a rooster and will never understand that.
Your rooster will not stop hurting her. He is the boss. And he is set in his ways.
You need to ask yourself.....should I continue to allow this brutal behaviour? Or do I eliminate the problem and let that hen live a happier stress free life?
By taking the rooster out of the picture your also eliminating any possible future problems with any more hens.
As for predators ....there are many other ways of keeping predators away.
If you don't need the rooster, there is absolutely nothing wrong with deciding to take him out of the flock so that your hens can live a more calm and stress free life. They won't stop laying eggs if you take the rooster away. And they will be also be much happier. Just imagine the emotional and physical tole it would take for a hen or hens to have to keep up with a demanding and agressive rooster.
In your particular problem.... Because you don't need the rooster.....my advice is that you need to get rid of the rooster. It's unfortunate....but necessary.
And....it's actually more humane for you to get rid of the rooster.....then it would be if you kept it.
I hope my advice helps you have a more clear prospective, and helps you with your decision. This kind of thing is never an easy decision to make and many of us chicken owners have to go through the same thing. I wish you the absolute best.
 

LaFleche

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 22, 2012
5,252
19,744
802
Germany
Here is something you can do until you decide on his further fate:

Have a good look at is claws and spurs, if they are too long and pointed this might just be the reason for the excessive loss of feathers.

Pick him from the roost at night (headlamp!) and clip off the long pointy tips and use a lime to round the rough edges nicely. And in addition just as already mentioned above get some hen aprons for the most naked ones so their feather can regrow.

Also to take into consideration: Depending on the breed chickens do have different feather qualities, some breeds i.e. Marans (BCM) have very soft feathers and the hens easily look more ruffled than Kraienköppe which have a harder feather.
 
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Debrakinsky

In the Brooder
May 1, 2020
24
26
44
If he is great with the other hens, cull or re-home the one he is abusing. It doesn't sound like her flock life is pleasant. She may need to be in a very chill flock or her health is poor such that you need to cull her.

Chickens are very unforgiving of any infirmity in the flock. He may turn his affections to another, but if he is over rough again, cull him. I do not believe a rooster has to be rough with any in his flock or so lousy at mounting that he strips their feathers and injures them. I have some vent wear patterns on favorites but do not keep roosters who do more.

By the way, post a photo of her eye. Ocular Marek's also causes blindness. It usually appears as growth in the iris and a fish eye look. You don't want that to be the reason she is being hazed.
Here is a photo of the hen and her bad eye. Hopefully you can blow
If he is great with the other hens, cull or re-home the one he is abusing. It doesn't sound like her flock life is pleasant. She may need to be in a very chill flock or her health is poor such that you need to cull her.

Chickens are very unforgiving of any infirmity in the flock. He may turn his affections to another, but if he is over rough again, cull him. I do not believe a rooster has to be rough with any in his flock or so lousy at mounting that he strips their feathers and injures them. I have some vent wear patterns on favorites but do not keep roosters who do more.

By the way, post a photo of her eye. Ocular Marek's also causes blindness. It usually appears as growth in the iris and a fish eye look. You don't want that to be the reason she is being hazed.
 

MANNA-PRO

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