RIR rooster killed chicks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by huntinfamily, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. huntinfamily

    huntinfamily In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2010
    We had 12 chicks hatch last week. We have always left the chicks with their mothers while growing unless we sold or gave any of them away. Other than predators or sickness killing them we have never had any problems with the other chickens bothering the chicks. The only thing I do is keep the broody hens in a seperate pen while they are sitting on their eggs and for a month or two after the chicks hatch. This afternoon I went out after work to turn the chickens out and my one year old RIR rooster ran over to the other coop and proceeded to start killing the newborn chicks. He has never been violent and is actually a really good rooster. I can't figure out why he did this. When we had chicks hatch over the past couple of months he ignored them but now he seems really ticked off. I closed the chicks in a cage where he couldn't get to them and he went nuts trying to get to them, even running into the fencing a few times.
    Has anyone had this problem before? We usually cull out the Roosters to use as food and keep a few hens for eggs and fryers when they quit laying. He is usually a good rooster, I don't want to get rid of him or make dinner out of him but if this is going to become something he will continue to do I may not have any choice. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Oh and he is the Father of the chicks if that makes any difference. He didn't eat any of them he just jumped on them and pecked them to death. It took me a few minutes of fighting with him to get him out of their coop and he has been acting really strange since then.

  2. Shiloh Acres

    Shiloh Acres Chirping

    Jul 16, 2010
    Wow, that's awful. I don't know. Like you, I usually separate the chicks with the hens for a short while. Sometimes I don't even do that -- one banty used to go AWOL and just show up with chicks. I never had a rooster do anything but ignore them. My roos were always over a year when I raised chicks, but once I had two 18 month old roos.

    Wonder if he's confused and doesn't realize they are chickens? Like he might kill mice?

    I really don't know. I would hope he wouldn't keep it up but I'd be afraid he would. I doubt if he realizes the chicks are his. Chickens don't seem (to me) to have any inclination at all about who is related to whom.

    Sorry to hear of this though. I hope someone has an answer because I'd be really curious too.
  3. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Songster

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    Is he your only roo? Got to admit that is a first. I have seen roos kill hens by being overly aggressive with them......pecking the head too much. Never kept a roo like that though. Never had a problem with a roo killing chicks. I did have a tom kill a baby turkey. Of course he died less than a half hour afterwards. I don't know what to tell you, but I would be tempted to replace him if he was mine. If you can keep the chicks contained, you have it covered for now, but if thats not really how you want to handle things, then he is a problem. Maybe he should go in the brooder instead of them. Thats twice someone on BYC threw me for a loop. And I thought I had heard everything.
  4. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    Roosters are a dime a dozen. I don't care WHY he did it, he would be gone at my place. My boys are expected to at the very least ignore the babies and the majority of my boys will be nice to them.
  5. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Songster

    Oct 16, 2009
    Sorry to hear this. it is really awful for momma hen and for you.

    I am vegetarian, keep all kinds of waifs and strays (blind lamb, aggressive goat, ancient ewe, several placid roosters) BUT I would not keep a roo who killed chicks. He will probably do it again. I would get my husband to humanely destroy him and feed him to the dog. Sorry if I sound a bit of a hypocrite as I won't/can't do the deed myself, but I would not keep one who turns on their own,

  6. huntinfamily

    huntinfamily In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2010
    Update: We decided to make a meal out of him. We didn't want to but it had to be done
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010

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