Raging Hormones-Please help

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TwoDogFarm, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. TwoDogFarm

    TwoDogFarm Chirping

    Jun 16, 2014
    North Carolina
    All right, so we've got the hormones raging here and I need your help to figure out what to do. My flock consists of one rooster, three hens, 11 ducks and 4 drakes. (Of the four drakes, two are Khaki Campbells and two are Mallards).

    We've been having issues with the two Khaki Campbell drakes overmating a few of our Pekin ducks. One of the Pekins became egg bound about two weeks ago. I knew something was wrong with her, but I witnessed one of the Khaki's chasing her down and mating with her again and again. (This was before I found out that she was in fact egg bound). When we let them all out to free range on a warmer day right before this, I watched one of the Khakis mating with one Pekin and he grabbed her three times in less than five minutes. The girls are very distressed and try everything to get away from them. I've been advised to separate them from the rest of the flock to give the girls a break, but I'm also worried about them fighting each other and being unhappy if they're by themselves.

    Also, like I said, we have two Mallard drakes as well. We bought the Mallards when we got our chickens and last year around this time, they were the only two ducks we had. We had problems with them last winter trying to mate with our chickens and I was worried they would hurt them. They had pulled feathers out of one hen's back where they kept trying to jump her. I thought that this year, things would be better since we have a lot more female ducks, but I think they're entering the mating season again and they're running after that poor hen again. Then, I realized that Mallard ducks mate for life and if they've picked this hen as their partner, we are going to have a repeat year. I worry about them even more now because I have more knowledge of things that could go wrong if a duck mates with a chicken, but I don't know what to do with them. Last year, they continued this behavior until around September.

    Another thing I've witnessed has to do with our female ducks. For some reason, they have decided they want to imitate the behavior of the Khakis and they jump on top of each other and pretend to mate with each other. I had to run one of my females off my other female the other day because she just wouldn't stop and I was afraid she would hurt the one on the bottom.

    Our rooster has also gone crazy over the past month or so. I have seen him overmating our hens and one of them (this is the same hen that is a favorite with the Mallards) has almost all of her comb gone where he keeps grabbing her. He is usually a very laid back rooster, but over the past month, he has decided that he has issues with me and has jumped on me and flogged me several times. I don't know what is wrong with him either. Like I said, this is very unusual behavior for him. While he never has liked to be touched, he usually is okay with me being in there and walking around beside him.

    What can I do to stop this behavior and keep my animals from getting hurt? I really don't want to have to rehome any of them. If anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know. I'm hoping the weather is causing this (we have had warm days-- up to 50 degrees--followed by very cold days--down to -9 degrees). It's making me crazy so I have a hard time believing it's not affecting them too.
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    #1: Get rid of that rooster. He's hurting your hens. He's human aggressive. He needs to go.

    #2: Get rid of 2 or 3 of your drakes. Keep the one who treats his duck ladies the best.

    #3: If you can't provide separate housing for ducks and chickens, decide which ones you want to keep, and get rid of the other species. To allow a drake access to a female chicken is beyond good husbandry.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
    2 people like this.
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    This. Especially #3.
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    x3. If you can't separate them, you need to let them go. Its not worth putting up with any of this behavior, even just once, and it seems to me that you can expect to deal with it year after year. Your duck hens might settle after the excess males are gone, but you've got way to many males running around.

    Good luck.
  5. Eggette

    Eggette In the Brooder

    Mar 17, 2014
    NE GA
    I feel for you, cause I'm running into raging hormones myself this year with my own flock of chickens, it's like all the boys have went wild and want to do nothing but commit rape!

    At the moment though I would try separating all the girls from the boys for a while, till they recoup. I'm not sure about drakes fighting, but to be safe I would separate the rooster all together from the drakes or he might kill one of them. Then after everyone's recovered, I would pair them off in small individual flocks of who belongs with who, by this I mean drakes with ducks, and rooster with hens.
    And you should probably get rid of two of the drakes and maybe get a few extra hens for your rooster?

    Have you tried chicken saddles?

    As for the rooster aggression, when I run into this kind of behavior I just let him know I'm not going to be done this way. I stand my ground and I don't let him win when he comes at me. I'll also start to catch him and handle him a lot, this takes courage and caution but it works; Be careful though if you try this! Never get down to his level or he might get you in the face if he's very aggressive, and if he's that mean then I would by all means get rid of him.

    In my own experience though my roosters have always came around to me and the ideal of me being in their space. Once they see that I'm not scared of them and that I'm not out there to hurt them or their harems and that when I come I only bring good things with me like fresh straw for scratching and treats, then they lay off.
    Chickens are all about establishing a pecking order, so you have to let the rooster know you're at the top of that order. When I raise young roosters up around a rooster that respects me and isn't upset by me, then that generation grows up friendlier and fonder of me. I have a young rooster now that was last year's offspring who is like a big cat he's so friendly to wards me.
    This May not work for every one or for every rooster, and if all else fells there's always the stew pot, but so far this has worked for me.
    I love my roosters, they may not lay the egg but the flock would not be the same without them.
    I hope my advice helps.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  6. HerbGir1972

    HerbGir1972 Songster

    Mar 16, 2014
    South Carolina
    My Coop
    Having an issue as well, my hens are getting bald around the back of the head. Have one sold just awaiting better weather to pick up. Have the opportunity to get a couple more hens but they'll have to be quarantined anyway, not really solving prob. I have no other housing at this time that is suitable

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