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Roo is a little clumsy, balding hens. Help?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Nambroth, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    Okay, so you have some information. I hope this is the right place to put this... it's not truly an injury but more of a behavioral thing.

    Backstory:

    I have 6 hens, and one accidental rooster (cockerel still).
    My rooster is a very fine fellow... friendly with people (he likes me to rub his face), very nice to the hens, a great watchout for predators and protective of his girls, and overall is a really good boy.
    All 7 are 7 months old this month, so he's still a bit of a teenager.
    He's still a bit clumsy... and a few of my pullets are a bit small. I have noticed that on the larger pullets, he does his deed without a problem and they are not roughed up.
    On the smaller framed pullets, he started roughing their backs up a bit (feather loss) when he mates them. I got them saddles and the saddles work great. The trouble is, that the rooster is even more clumsy on the saddles, and uses the head feathers on the hens (pullets) to steady himself. Sometimes when a hen in in a big hurry to get back up, she jerks loose and he ends up with a beak-full! He is not pulling the feathers out himself nor being rough with the girls. He waits for them to squat before climbing on and doesn't chase and pin them to mate. He doesn't eat the feathers and it only happens during mating. Actually he just sort of stands there and looks dazed like he's confused about what happened. [​IMG]
    As for the hens, they have minor bald spots. No wounds or anything, just some pulled head feathers.

    Is there anything I can do to prevent this? (Short of removing the rooster) I really like him and I hate for such a minor thing to cause us to get rid of him, as otherwise he's fantastic. I also hope that as he ages he will get a little more graceful?

    Here's a photo of Gullincambe just so this isn't so boring!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. creekrats

    creekrats Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm afraid I don't have an answer....we have one doing same thing. Just wanted to say what a handsome fellow you have there!
     
  3. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    Any ideas? Would a bitterant (like Bitter Apple) applied to the head feathers deter him from grabbing them? I don't know if chickens react to bitterants at all. I know that they do not process/taste Capsaicin like we do, for example.
     
  4. LoveNewChicks

    LoveNewChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    he looks like a King!
     
  5. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    I don't really see that as an issue and certainly not any reason to get rid of him. You have people who will keep a old worthless spent hen's for years knowing she will never lay another egg, but will keep her around and continue to waste feed on her. On the other hand the are 60 bazillion people who freak out over a rooster when he is just doing what he is there to do, so just because he is a rooster and get's a little frisky as is his nature people wants to ditch him or throw him in the stew pot. The hen's don't care and he doesn't care, so where's the problem ???. I say keep the rooster and don't worry over the hen's, they are all content with the going's on, which is really just being chickens not humans. There are worst things that could happen.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I would keep things as they are and let him perfect his technique. Hens sometimes do have little bald spots on the back of the head but it sure doesn't seem to bother them.
     
  7. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    al6517, I think you are misunderstanding me. I am not going to get rid of my rooster because he's doing his thing. I apologize if I implied this and realize that my wording in my initial post was not the best. I adore him and I know that mating the hens is one of the most natural things he can do. I'm just trying to keep my hens from getting so beat up by him. If it's possible, great, I'll do it. If not, then it's not, and life will carry on. I just wanted to see if anyone had an idea for what I suspect is a common occurrence when keeping a rooster (or more). I am not a seasoned chicken keeper and I appreciate and cherish the advice and education that others can provide when I find that I have a question or uncertainty.

    I'm also afraid I'm the type to 'waste' feed on a hen that stops laying, because she is a pet to me. Just like I 'waste' food on my parrots that don't provide me with anything other than enrichment to my life. I do not begrudge anyone that would send a spent hen to the stock pot though. People raise chickens for different reasons and that's okay with me.
     
  8. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    Quote:Thank you for your thoughts! I am hoping that he will grow out of his clumsiness. [​IMG]
     
  9. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Heh, I have a hen who is getting the same treatment from a newbie cockerel. He is only balding one hen (though I think she submits to him more often, so he and she do the chicken dance together more often). I was thinking of making a bonnet/hat/balaclava out of a sock, cutting out so her face and eyes are free, but so the top of her head and back of neck are covered. I have so many mismatched socks, dryer likes its sock sacrifices.
     
  10. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    Quote:No problem at all, I don't really know of a way to improve his technic except maybe time, he looks good and in very good condition. Space may be an idea, if he chases hen's or has to grab them for fear of getting away, or a closer space where the hen's can't go anywhere. Here is what I think will happen..................... if you have adequate space over time the hens will become more submissive and just instantly squat for him without a fuss, chickens will become submissive over time and he won't have to resort to the club and cave man technic.
     

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