Roo stressing hens out? Stopped Laying & lost one :(


8 Years
Jun 4, 2011
Southern York County
So I have a young rooster about 8 months old. I think he is stressing my hens out. Of my 6 hens only 1 is laying for the past 2 months. 1 hen is our 2 year old female Marigold, the rest are all between 8 months-1 year and started laying, and well. Once my roo grew bigger and more mature he really starting chasing all the hens in the morning, so as a result none of them want to come out of the coop first when we open it up every morning. Rocky, this rooster isn't really aggressive towards people, but he is starting to get brave. He will turn and dodge towards you but I will try to catch him and he goes running. I will grab him (he flaps and squawks like crazy) and I will carry him around for a while. So FOR NOW he is frightened of people.

So my concern is the hens don't seem to like him much. They will still walk up to him when he clucks, and eat food near him, and they don't have any feathers missing on their back and I don't see him REALLY aggressively bullying them. But he will grab their necks and pin them to be mean sometimes, different than the normal jump on to mate. But the females really don't seem as happy with him there. They seem to want to hide out and avoid him more.

And what's worse is our older female Marigold passed the other day
. This past week she seemed to hang out in the hen house more often, and didn't seem herself. We looked at her and she didn't seem egg bound or anything, just lethargic. We let her eat and drink and she hobbled back into the hen house later on. She has always been a dominant female too. We didn't think she would die, she just didn't seem well. When we came home the other day she was sooo lethargic there wasn't much we could do for her anymore

Does anybody think that Marigolds death is related to him stressing them out? And them not laying is from him? We removed him from the girls, and he is now in a 10X10 dog kennel on his own. We don't know what else to do. Could my flock have caught something? We lost Marigolds sister about 2 months ago. But she was gurgly and sounded sick. None of the other hens are gurgling... They seem healthy, they just seem stressed and aren't laying.

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Scribe of Brahmalot
10 Years
May 18, 2009
I'm sorry about Marigold, it's hard to lose a friend, even if that friend has feathers! I don't think she died because of your roo, though.

This time of year is a typical time for molting to get feather condition ready for the cold weather. Most hen's slow way down on laying or even stop while they are in a heavy molt, so that might be why you're not getting any eggs. It could also be that they have whatever Marigold had, so keep a close eye on them for any symptoms.

If you think the problem is with your roo, you should see a difference almost immediately now that he is locked up.

Good luck!


Love My Chickens
10 Years
Jul 28, 2009
Floyds Knobs, Indiana
My Coop
My Coop
The only thing I can tell from your information is that your girls try to avoid your rooster - which means they haven't truly accecpted him for some reason (his roughness? his youth? is he new?).
Speaking from personal experience, I know that a rooster who is not accepted can definitely add a lot of stress to a flock. I've had one rooster who most of my girls hated. He was about 9 months old. Only two would submit to him in mating (and he was rough even with them) and the rest got chased. They began hanging back in the coop to avoid him. He tore up the comb of one girl who would not submit. He was finally rehomed.
The next rooster we tried was the opposite. He was two, and within a day all the hens followed him around like puppies.
Did the stress kill your older girl? Probably not, although just as in humans, stress can certainly accelerate an illness. And stress is often a factor in hens not laying, although that could also be the shortening days. I'd guess that your roo is contributing to things going badly, but not the sole cause...JMO.

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