Normal Rooster Behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by elfgirl, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. elfgirl

    elfgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Two of our roosters are 17 weeks old. The past several days, they are jumping on then pullets(same age) and trying to mate, and they are really rough. I know from what I've read here that that's normal for their age, but I was wondering at age do they start to outgrow that and start being more gentle with the
    girls, if they are going to. They are both Easter Eggers, if that matters.
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, it's normal teenage boy behavior. The boys mature faster than the girls, which is why you are seeing the roughness - the girls aren't mature enough yet for mating. It will settle down some when the pullets start laying. Then the roosters will mellow more as they age.

    How many pullets do you have for the 2 cockerels?
     
  3. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    In my experience, 'normal' is whatever the breeder of the last few generations of ancestors of that bird believed it was. If they believed violence was normal --- it will be, at least in their stock. What they believe is normal and natural guides their breeding selection and therefore which behavioral traits are bred on and intensified.

    Your breeding program, guided by your ideal of 'normal' or acceptable behavior, will eventually result in birds that suit that philosophy. I believe it's 'normal' and natural for male animals to be very careful and gentle with females, so mine are, even when the boys are going through the usually terrible teens stages. It took me some generations to get there but the results are worth it. I don't believe it's natural for a male to harm a female, so I don't breed males that do. Such behavior is highly heritable. But kind behavior is also highly heritable. It's really a matter of what you're willing to tolerate in your animals. In the wild, a male who harms females fails to pass on his genes, and the trait dies out with him. In domesticity, he'll be bred if people liked his color or type enough, often with no regard to his temperament.

    Personally, I believe it's necessary for a male to leave a female alone if he tries to mate and she rejects him; this prevents her being harmed if for any reason she is not in a good state to mate --- whether she's sitting on eggs or snuggling chicks or ill or injured or whatever. She knows when she's ready, and if he's a good mate she will almost always be willing. Nasty roosters tend to be met with the disinterested attitude of hens, but they force the issue anyway.

    Your boys may well grow out of it, the only way to find out is to wait and see, though if they're nasty about it I'd cull. Clumsy and callous or downright nasty are all different things, and only one of them improves. In the longer term, though, you can breed very peaceful poultry if you take a hard stance against bullies. 'Normal' is what you allow it to be. Best wishes.
     
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  4. elfgirl

    elfgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    There are sixteen girls. They don't seem mean, just clumsy. They both turn loose fairly quickly. One will give the girls any treats I give him, that's a recent development that I am glad to see. They are hatchery chickens purchased via the 4H program for my daughter, so no clue on the breeding.
     
  5. elfgirl

    elfgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    I meant to thank you both for your help. We'll just keep a close eye on the guys for a while. They seem confused after they attempt and the girls shake them off. They just stand there blinking for a minute, like they don't know what they did wrong, poor guys.
     
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    I think that what eventually happens is that as the hens age they begin to accommodate the roosters more willingly or else the hens become resigned to the roosters attention. When looked at from our jaundiced human perspective it just looks like the rooster is being more gentle. Chicken sex is just what it looks like it is, quick, brutal, and often.

    In my 60 odd years around chickens I have never seen a rooster give a hen a back rub, flowers, jewelry, or take her out to a movie or a Broadway Play.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
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  7. elfgirl

    elfgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Lol.I suppose not. They are all the same age so all of them are just learning aren't they. I wonder if youngsters raised by the mother within an established flock behave differently?
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    No.
     
  9. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: No, there are definitely rough and nasty roosters, and very careful roosters. Only a bad rooster is brutal. Having had both types I can assure you of that fact.

    Sounds to me like you have never seen a nice rooster. Hence, you are likely one of those from whom I would not buy a rooster, since your males are rough or 'brutal' --- going from what you've said.

    This is why I said earlier that what the breeder believes is 'normal' dictates what is normal for their flock.
    Quote: Yes, they do. Yours sound like they're still learning, but in my experience chickens raised in a normal family group will always do better socially than those raised in separated groups of male-only or female-only birds, hatched in incubators and reared artificially.
     
  10. CedarAcres

    CedarAcres Sunny Side Up

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    A good rooster is amazing. Our current rooster (he's around 25 weeks) is very gentle with his ladies. He never even messes up a feather. If someone rejects him, he walks away. He always finds food for them, and if I give treats, he stands aside and lets the ladies eat them. But when he first started mating, he was definitely clumsy. The girls didn't all seem to "get it" at first either. But after a week or two, they all had it down and the mating process goes very smoothly. I'd give it a few weeks and see if they get the routine down. Personally, I don't stand for rough or mean roosters. I just don't see the point. We've had nasty roos before and it really makes you appreciate a good rooster!
     
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