Plymouth Rock Hen v. RIR Roo


6 Years
Sep 18, 2013
We got a Plymouth (barred) Rock hen 4 days ago. We put her in the coop with 6 other hens and a RIR rooster. Every time I got to check on them, the PR is up on the roosts while everyone else is either on the floor of the coop or out in the pen. She gets down sometimes while I'm there or I put her on the floor. When she's on the floor the rooster kind of comes at her and goes to circle her (similar to mating dances I've seen) but she scrambles to get back on the roosting bars. The roo will peck her and gets a bit aggressive towards her so she moves up the roosting bars to the top and the rooster goes away and leaves her alone. Is he trying to mate with her and she just doesn't want it, or is he being aggressive towards her because he doesn't want her there?
His motives are not real clear. It is possible he recognizes she is not a regular member of his flock and he is trying to protect his flock from a stranger. But that would really be strange. Most roosters are glad to add to their harem. It’s usually another hen that might try to run a strange hen away, not the rooster. So while it’s possible, I really doubt it.

How old is she? Fully grown or still a pullet? Mature chickens will often pick on immature chickens, part of the pecking order thing. One way chickens have learned to live in a flock is that weaker chickens run away from or avoid stronger chickens. She may be up there to avoid bullies. Or since she’s new, some of the hens may be picking on her. In spite of what you think you are seeing, it may not really be the rooster that is the problem.

The mating ritual is not just about sex. It’s also about dominance. The one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. That’s basically how a rooster accepts a new hen to his flock. He mates with her to assert his dominance. Since he’s doing the mating dance toward her, I’d think this is what is going on. For whatever reason she’s not ready to accept his dominance. Or if she is immature, she may not understand what is going on with the mating.

What you are describing is not all that strange. I’d just give them time.
She's full grown. I noticed the other hens avoid her when she's off the roost, but I haven't noticed them picking on her.

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