Pecking Order Problem?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RedRoo30, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. RedRoo30

    RedRoo30 New Egg

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    Hello guys, I'm actually new here :) I had chicken problems since last 2 weeks. I have 2 separated coops for my 2 older hens(11 months) which grew up together since they were a week old and a cockerel(5 months not yet crowing) which i bought when my hens are already 6 months old so i decided to keep his cage separated from the hens. And these last few weeks, i noticed that my cockerel is getting bigger, kinda near the size of my hens but still smaller. I tried to introduce him to my older hens, and i was shocked when my hens jumped and pecked the comb of my poor cockerel. I didn't know anything about the "pecking order". And i think that's very traumatic for my cockerel because obviously he stays away from the hens, and whenever he passes through them they peck him again and he made noises which tells me he is hurt. And so i let them roam in our backyard, i fed the cockerel far from the hens. And he never went near my hens anymore. But 3 days ago, i heard him attempt to crow. Like 2 times and i find it funny because it's like a premature crow lol. So i was very happy, very proud of my cockerel, also by that day, i saw him encountering my other hen, the other one was resting. They were standing still up high, with hackles raised up both of them, and that's kinda nice sign for him because his hormones are making him a little tough already, i walked a little near them and they ran already, looks like i had interrupted them. But for me that was a nice experience. So i thought my cockerel was practicing to crow already, and was showing dominance to my hens already. But as i have said, that was 3 days ago. Until today i haven't heard him attempting to crow again which made me very dissapointed. Well i guess he's just not matured enough yet to crow. And when i tried to make him and my hen get near to each other, he runs from my hen again, and when i tried again, he gets pecked again without even defending himself,and just ran away. :( I thought he was brave enough already. And when i caged my other hen with him, he gets pecked and just sat down the floor like submitting already. He looks like submitting to me, like he is the lowest of the pecking order. I don't know what's the problem. If he already submitted and accepted being dominated by my older hens already, will he still be able to show my hens who's the real dominant leader and climb to the top of the pecking order after a few months when he gets matured enough? Is it really the matureness or what? And do you think he will attempt to crow again maybe when he is matured enough too? Or is it really the matureness too? Sorry for this long post :D i just have too many things running in my mind right now. All informative answers will be very much appreciated :) and sharing of experiences are also welcome :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Yep, he will probably do just fine. What do you have for space and hide outs? The word caged is bothering me, but perhaps you mean a coop/run?

    Space is vital to healthy chickens. It improves their flock dynamics, and lack of space causes bad habits.

    Generally it is best to put them all together, have multiple feeders and waterer, a few hideouts such as a pallet leaned up against a wall, a couple of roosts, and then let them work it out. Unless they are killing him, each time you separate them, then put them back together, they start all over.

    Mrs K
     
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  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    x2 - Your little cockerel is only half as old as the hens. He will have to earn his place in the flock and that's not going to happen if you keep separating them. It takes some time for them to establish their pecking order. Sometimes days, sometimes longer.
     
  4. RedRoo30

    RedRoo30 New Egg

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    Aug 24, 2014
    if he is in the lowest right now, being pecked by hens, in a few months will he be able to climb at the top of the pecking order? I want him to be the dominant one, like hens afraid of him and mating with hens aggressively lol :D
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Why would you want your hens afraid of him? Ideally, they will respect him because he's a good flock leader, finds them treats, warns of danger, etc. If they are afraid of him, it means he's not a good rooster. He's hard on them and being too aggressive. Which leads to my other question - what does it matter if he mates them "aggressively" or reasonably? If he's being aggressive with them, he's stressing them out which will decrease your egg production.

    But yes - even though he's at the bottom of the pecking order now, he will most likely eventually work his way up to the top of the order as he matures. If the hens are pinning him down, drawing blood, pecking relentlessly, he may be too young to be with them yet. If they're just chasing him around, giving the occasional peck or two, and resisting his "advances", let them work it out. At this point, though, I'm not exactly sure why you want a rooster if it's to be aggressive and cause your hens to be fearful.
     
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  6. RedRoo30

    RedRoo30 New Egg

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    Aug 24, 2014
    Sorry :) I thought a good rooster is an aggressive one, i guess i was wrong. Thank you for answering.

    And about the crowing thing... Is it normal for cockerels to make their first crow once or twice and won't try again the next days?
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Yes. He is being dominated, and dominated roos don't crow (unless they are away from the flock, and feel like they can get away with it without drawing the ire of the alphas.) Give him time. It's normal for older hens to dominate a young cockerel. And, I agree with Bobbi. A good roo finds treats for his girls, he dances for his girls, he protects his girls, he lets them eat first. He is NEVER human aggressive. If you end up with chicks, he defends the chicks. One concern that I have is that you have 2 hens? Only 2? Once he gets his bearings, he's going to be overbreeding those poor hens, and they'll loose a lot of feathers.
     

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