Overzealous Rooster

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MinnesotaChick, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. MinnesotaChick

    MinnesotaChick Hatching

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    I tried keeping one rooster with my ten hens this past year, but it got to the point where half the hens were missing most of their feathers off their backs and tops of wings. We live in Minnesota where it gets to -20 degrees in the winter so I can't risk having naked chickens this winter! Mr. Rooster was given to my neighbor for chicken dinner this spring....But now I have two more roosters from a hen that hatched out four eggs this spring. I really want to be able to keep them, they are so handsome, but I just don't know what to do. I have seen some flocks that have roosters, and the hens have all their feathers...Any suggestions? I don't really want to keep two separate groups. Are some roosters just more into breeding than others?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

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    There are a lot of factors in whether a hen becomes barebacked or not. Nobody can tell you for sure what is going to happen in your specific case. Some of it is how energetic the rooster is in mating. Adolescents tend to be a lot more active than adults, but this is a tendency, not always the case. The difference in size between the rooster and hen makes a difference. The rooster's technique makes a difference, again adolescents often having rougher techniques than mature roosters. Length of the rooster's spurs makes a difference. Whether the hens cooperate or run away can make a difference. A young energetic rooster will chase a hen and force her, being pretty rough. But on the opposite extreme I have an Australorp that will squat for anything wearing spurs. She's kind of barebacked because she is so available. Whether or not a hen has enough room to get away or maybe stay away from the rooster makes a difference. If a hen normally hangs with a rooster she will be available and see more action than a hen that does not hang near the rooster. So much if it is just the personality if the chickens involved, rooster and hens.

    If the feathers are broken off, the feathers will not grow back until she molts or you pluck them out. If the feathers are totally removed then they should grow back.

    Bottom line is that I cannot tell you what will happen. I suggest you try it and see.
     
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

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    Two will probably be one too many. Keep the gentler cockerel, and if he becomes unruly you can always rehome or eat him.
     
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    I've heard of some who trim their roos nails (and spurs)... I have a couple barebacked hens so I was contemplating it....
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

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    Quote:I did, using a dremel tool. It was actually pretty easy to do. Wrap him in a towel and cut off about half the spur. With the nails I just cut the sharp point off square. If you get too deep, it bleeds. The hens did not get any worse after I trimmed so I think it helped, but it will take a molt for their feathers to grow back.

    I had three active adolescent roosters and 15 pullets with none of them barebacked. When I reduced to 7 pullets and one rooster (a supposedly better ratio), I wound up with three barebacked hens. I kept the largest rooster and it is my three smallest hens that are bare backed. I think the size difference is much more important than the ratio. The one I kept was not my most dominant rooster and the pullets tended to resist him. I think his technique was kind of rough because of that. The three roosters got along fine, by the way.
     

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