Roo pecking order, beware long post

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by southernsibe, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. southernsibe

    southernsibe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2007
    Lanexa, Virginia
    I’m new to chickens, and I’m trying to make sense of rooster behavior. I have received seven chickens from a rescue mission. The owner’s dog decided they were dinner. The group consists of, one red leghorn roo, (Kellogg) plus 2 red leghorn hens, 1 white leghorn roo (Beepbeep) plus his 2 white hens, and one black silkie that belongs to Kellogg. They are all about one year to eighteen months old. Kellogg is by far the alpha roo between the two. When I got them, all of them were very skittish around people. They had not been handled, or hand fed, or pet. I’ve now got them to all eat from my hand, and not act like demented featherheads when I approach. Both roo’s are pretty large, at least to me. And have spurs that are about an inch long. Neither one has ever acted even the tiniest bit aggressive with me, ever. Despite being pretty wild when we got them. One thing that took me a bit to understand was Kellogg and eating from my hand, which has taken a long time. He still doesn’t do it often. But when I have my hand down, if I stare at him, he won’t approach, and keeps his gaze averted. When I don’t stare at him, or watch him exclusively, he will slowly approach and take a quick nibble, then back away. This is amazing to me since I’ve seen him challenge and win all the time. Beep is his second in command, and I’ve seen Kellogg basically beat him down to the ground with his wings and keep him there. Scared me to death the first time I saw it. Beep wouldn’t even move an eyelid. Then once Kellogg was satisfied, he hopped off, and walked away. Beep stayed down for a few more minutes, and then got up and all was good again. All of this brings me to my chickens that I raised from day one, or maybe three or four since I got them at the feed store. I have one RIR that I bought as a pullet. Well the pullet crows, loudly. This chicken as always been somewhat skittish, and standoffish, not one to be cuddled or pet. Just this past week he has really been acting differently. He picked up one of the baby chicks in his beak, make it squeak, and didn’t want to drop it. He consistently tries to tag hens even when I am around, and lastly has bitten both my royal palms around the base of the neck despite the fact that they are easily three times his size. The times that I have witnessed him biting the RP’s it was totally unprovoked, they weren’t even paying attention to him or what he was doing, they were just minding their own business. He hasn’t challenged Kellogg or Beep, but it won’t surprise me if it happens sooner rather then later. Since he started all this I have done the things I’ve read about. If I see him on a hen, I whack him off, or I start chasing him if I am too far away to reach him. I don’t let him get treats before girls, or let him push them out of his way. Tonight I caught him and held him down, then picked him up and carried him for the last few minutes I was outside. I don’t think it was long enough, but I will persist every day with that. He is about five months old. How long should I wait to see if he changes his behavior? He hasn’t openly challenged me that I know of. I’ve read about the feet first and the dragging of a wing, but haven’t seen it. The “big boys” haven’t done that to me, and I haven’t seen them do it too each other. If one of the bantams gets too full of himself and chases one of the hens that they care about, all they have to do is make a noise and open their wings, and the bantam stops. Although I think it is odd that they have selected which hens are “theirs” and which they don’t seem to care too much about.
    I covered a bit about Beep and Kellogg to illustrate that I have seen very gentlemanly roosters, and was totally spoiled by them. As much as I hate to say it, I just have a gut feeling about this bird. Does anyone have any ideas or insight with this? Again, how long do I wait before I do something with him? Sorry for such a long post
    Rachel
     
  2. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

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    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    It sounds to me like you are doing everything that you can to show him that you are the alpha. I guess it's a wait and see game. If he does ever attack you, you may have to cull him or give him away. Sometimes they are just too aggressive for flock management.

    I'll bump this up, maybe someone else might have some advise.
     
  3. firetrie

    firetrie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 7, 2007
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    I also had a problem with my roo. He was friendly and seemed more brotherly than king roo. Then one day me peck at my son and drew blood. Ever since that day he acted mean and aggressive. He would chase down the other roos, and peck their feathers out for no good reason. He would attack anyone that came into the fenced in yard, including me. Everytime I snatched him by his neck in midjump and held him (by his body) until I was satisfied that he had calmed down. No one else could go out there and the other roos were looking like naked butt roos... I finally caught him while he roosted at night, put him in a transpo cage, and sold him to a guy at work.

    No sooner was he gone then another roo took over. And he started to do the same thing. I deceided enough was enough. I chased him down, and made chicken soup out of him.

    Now the last 2 roos I have are not aggressive at all. One has taken the king roo spot, but I would say that he's so busy dealing with 45 hens that I'm the least of his concerns... the other roo has 3 hens that he keeps close. There isn't any fighting between them, just a lot of running....

    When a roo challenges your position as Alpha once, he will continue untill he thinks he has won. My advice is Eat Him. that will distill any thoughts of rebellion.
     
  4. southernsibe

    southernsibe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2007
    Lanexa, Virginia
    I wanted to repost something here. The roo that was causing all the trouble, decided he wasn't going to go into the coop. Night one came and went ok, the morning found him crowing on top of a round bale. The second night, not so good. I woke up to an awful sound at 3:30 am and went to turn on lights and make noise and see what I could see. Well the end of that story is on the pests and predators page. Something got him, but didn't kill him. So now he is in my garage healing. Although, he does seem to be much nicer now. When he goes out into the yard for his exercise he doesn't leave my immediate area, and will follow me where ever I go. Who knows, this might continue might not. But I think if he gets to acting badly again I may cull him. Thanks for the replies.
    Rachel
     
  5. Mac

    Mac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rachel - don't know if all will work out with your roo, but I have to say, your posts were very informative and full of details that help us all understand (or not) rooster behavior. It gave me a lot more insight.

    Thanks.
     
  6. southernsibe

    southernsibe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2007
    Lanexa, Virginia
    Mac
    What a nice thing to say! It totally made my morning, thank you.
    Rachel
     

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