Random Rooster Questions/chicken psychology

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Kris5902, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

    Oct 12, 2018
    British Columbia, Canada
    Hi, I have lots of Roosters (7) and have developed some questions about how they interact with the flock and their hens. I’ve been keeping chickens for just over 1 year now, and have grown my flocks to a total of 79 birds. I do a little free ranging, but mostly keep my birds in Chicken tractors in groups of between 7-20 birds. I should really be outside building out some more housing for them but wanted to post and maybe get some insight from the more knowledgeable and experienced folks, so here I am on the internet wasting daylight...

    1: has anyone noticed Roosters smell? Like the same way male goats Stink, I’ve noticed a very distinct tangy/musky smell from my Roosters that is different than the smell of my hens. (I should stop cuddling my birds near my face...I know!) it seems stronger in my Leghorn Cross Boy than anyone else. Can anyone give me some info on this?

    2: is there any correlation between those gorgeous tail feathers and a Rooster’s masculinity? I recently had a very proud boy have his Tail plucked bare by his hens and he is now behaving quite differently, more cowed and hen like, he’s stopped tidbitting, mating, and seems a little depressed. They were his first GF’s, though last night he returned to the top roost with the more dominant ones (the tail pluckers...)

    3: I have one Rooster who hates a particular girl. He’s ok with most children, adults, and cows; he’s wary of dogs, cats, goats, sheep, and strange cars. He Hates and wants to murder this one kid, bicycles? (even if it’s a friendly feeder like me on it), and the angle grinder of doom (that’s on me for having them too close to where I was using it). Does he remember something about her in particular that has him upset? Like the horse and the Black cowboy hat example frequently mentioned by Temple Grandin. Or how Crows will recognize and attack certain people who’ve abused them?

    Looking forward to any insights or experiences people have on this, and any other rooster/chicken behaviors anyone would like to share! Thanks
  2. Ms Clucky

    Ms Clucky Songster

    Jan 22, 2019
    Salem, Illinois
    Question 1: Has your roosters been rolling around in anything smelly?
    Question 2: Put some hot pick spray on your roosters. The hens will not like it. You won't either, so be careful not to spray near your face.
    Question 3: Maybe this hen is the feather picker or she is a certain color that he don't like. My chickens are afraid the color orange.
    Hope this helps
    MROO, Kris5902 and Chris-n-Kate like this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Shadrach, MROO and Chris-n-Kate like this.
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
  5. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

    Oct 12, 2018
    British Columbia, Canada
    No, they haven’t been rolling around in anything stinky recently. It’s kind of a constant tangy musky smell, and it seems to be more around their oil gland, distinctly different from the chicken smell that the hens have, (I have one who likes cuddles and snuggles on my chest almost under my chin). I probably only noticed the differences because I handle one boy daily, swapping my free ranging roosters, and I had another other living in our RV with us for several days (after the tail plucking incident).

    Sadly, the no-pick, hot pick, etc. has been an absolute failure in my experience. (before the more aggressive boys from the cockerel pen joined freezer camp I tried this stuff). He is doing fine health wise and recovering, no further feather picking or hen pecking has occurred since his reintroduction (he even mated a girl shortly after my post!) I’m more interested in why they did it, and it’s affect on him behavior wise. The same thing happened to my meat Rooster before I got him (by another flock) and when I rehomed one Cockerel in March his new flock did the same to him (on another farm, and a different flock than the Meat boys former girls). Is it a dominance thing? Hens putting a new boy in his place? I’m not worried about it happening again, it’s the “why” I’m interested in.

    As to question three... I may have been a little unclear. It’s a human girl my rooster hates. One particular person, as he has been exposed to other children and not reacted the same way. I was brooding them as baby chicks in a garage two miles from my place, so I didn’t have 100% control or supervision over the brooder, and I’m wondering if he may have a reason for his vendetta against her. He reacts more strongly to this girl than my free range roosters “visiting” his pen and issuing challenges through the hardware cloth and trying to woo his hens!
    MaryJanet and MROO like this.
  6. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

    Oct 12, 2018
    British Columbia, Canada
    Thanks @aart ! Just to be clear I’m not worried about my boys, everyone is doing fairly well, and everyone manages to get along and mind their own business for the most part.

    Aside from “Barney”, everyone has a mix of almost POL pullets and several mature hens. I mixed up pecking orders a bit, but everyone settled amazingly quickly. Barney has had some journeys of late and is currently in with 20, 8-9 week old chicks after spending about 1 week at another farm (Hubby is anti-Rooster, new chicken farming wife was interested in trying one and maybe some ranging... there’s no cute rhyme like “happy wife, happy life” for husbands that I know of...) hopefully, everything goes smoothly as the Littles age up. I will be culling those cockerels for our freezer as needed, and will be able to separate by gender if/when it becomes necessary.

    I’m more interested in the “Why” of these things. I’m thinking the smell is kind of like billy stink, or Boar taint? “It’s a guy thing”, the tail plucking must be a “social” or psychological thing, considering it’s happened to three different Roosters in three separate flocks? One just coming into sexual maturity and the others on introduction to “new” hens. It’s just the rooster’s tail, no other injuries or bald spots... balanced diets and healthy birds. And it’s just the one person my otherwise awesome Rooster has a problem with...
    MaryJanet and MROO like this.
  7. Peppercorngal

    Peppercorngal Crowing

    Feb 5, 2018
    Feather Falls, CA
    Very interesting questions and I don't think I can help you. I will follow hopefully to learn something new. I have 5 roosters and have not smelled anything awful from any of them. My main rooster Harvey, is molting, lost his "rooster" tail feathers and acts just the same. Mating, strutting, etc. My entire flock (42) is terrified of things that are white. They squawk and run from white cars, white tarps, anything white seems to freak them out. Why? Who knows? There were all raised together and as far as I know were never teased by anything white. Chickens!! Go figure!
    MaryJanet, MROO and Kris5902 like this.
  8. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

    Oct 12, 2018
    British Columbia, Canada
    It’s not awful smelling just different, tangy and musky. I wonder how many people are now sniffing their roosters because of me? I’m tempted to check them all myself now. I will say I’ve only noticed it with the two boys (but then I also usually don’t have them close enough o my face to smell anything over the usual chicken run smells “ok, who just did the cecal poop by the feeder?” :sick).

    Interesting about the fear of white things...
    MaryJanet and MROO like this.
  9. MROO

    MROO Crossing the Road

    My DD's Herman, a blue splash Silkie, HATES me! I know and understand why, but that doesn't make him any easier to be around. Herman came out of his shipping box cold and pasty-butted. Guess who had the job of treating the poor little guy? His was the most persistent case I've ever treated, and he was touch-and-go for almost three weeks. And for almost three weeks, every time I picked that poor little baby up, I hurt him. Anyone who says chickens don't remember hasn't dealt with a bird like Herman. He adores every other creature on the planet. He chirps and warbles to DD and her friends. He even tidbits her and does the "Don't You Think I'm Sexy?" rooster dance for her. Me? Not so much. I get semi-friendly overtures only as long as the treats hold out. Once there's nothing in it for him ... the little bugger sneak attacks me. If DD wasn't so attached, and he wasn't so good with everyone else, he'd have been gone two years ago.
    So yes ... chickens can have it in for a specific person. Something about that particular young lady likely triggers the memory of a bad experience, and she's paying the price!
    Villainess, Ribh, Kris5902 and 2 others like this.
  10. a rooster can sense when someone is scared of them. if your Girl is nervous around this rooster and shows it in subtle ways, your rooster will pick up on that and single her out to intimidate. i dont doubt other children ( or adults) will be next. sounds like he is young and needs watching around others.
    i know horses are the same way, they will misbehave and pull all kinds of shenanigans with an inexperienced rider, but put someone with knowledge and authority in the saddle and they straighten right up and perform beautifully.
    good luck with your roosters.
    Ribh, Kris5902, MaryJanet and 2 others like this.

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