rooster aggression, hens fighting, and bald hens!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by HSerChickLady, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. HSerChickLady

    HSerChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2012
    upstate NY
    We had a rooster problem so we cut our rooster population to only 1. He is still quite worked up and being more agressive than we'd like him to be. Every morning when i let them out into the run he spends about 5 minutes running around the run and being agressive. This morning for instance he ran around beating on the hens over and over. My son was in tears from his behavior which was worse today than some days. The rooster is grabbing the hens by the heads and/or combs, he's running them right into the fence, he's chasing them through the feed dishes and into the coop, etc. He never used to be this agressive, just his usual plucky dance and breed the hens. Now the hens run from him and those who can't escape just sit there afterwards for a while seaming to recover from their ordeal.

    We also have 3 hens who've started fighting with each other, though 2 are the worst. When i say fighting i mean neck feathers up, in fighting position, just like a cock fight. They fly up in the air, they kick each other, they hold each other down by the neck feathers, they chase each other around the pen. I am TOTALLY sure they are hens, but if i didn't know that i'd swear it was a full on cock fight! These hens have a lot of feather damage, too. They just randomly (to me anyhow) attack one another throughout the day but like the rooster it seams to be worse in the mornings.

    I have taken very good care of these birds. They have more room and better feed than any batch i've previously had. But i've never had so many behavior problems, feather plucking/bare spots, ever before. I don't know why this is happening or if it's just the breed is more prone to these behavior's? The hens that are problematic are all Golden Comets (i know they're a hybrid and not a true breed) and i've never had them before, but i'll never get them again either. I'll never have another rooster either after this adventure.

    Anyhow, does anyone have any ideas of what the problem might be here? If we get rid of the rooster do you think the hens will simmer down? The rooster has gotten very agressive with people now too-i'm the last human he'll allow in the run during daylight and then only if he feels like letting me in. He wasn't like this when the other rooster was still in there.

    If it matters at all they've got an 8'x8' coop attached to an 12'x12' run (free-range is not an option here). I feed them Purina Omega-3 feed in 4 different locations, with veggies, fruits, and other chicken friendly snacks mixed in in the mornings and they get picked grass most afternoons.

    Thanks for the help! We're out of ideas of what to do other than get rid of them all and start over with heritage breed hens only as i've never had any problems like this with them.
     
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    How long ago did you reduce the rooster population? Your now only rooster was probably not the top rooster. So now there is no one to above him to stop his aggression. My theory on the hens is that, the roosters had an effect on their pecking order. With out them they are rearranging the order, still it should have stopped on a day or so after they left. If the rooster is getting more to aggressive to humans as well, and you don't need the rooster, then get rid of him.
     
  3. HSerChickLady

    HSerChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2012
    upstate NY
    I think it's been about a month since we got rid of the other rooster that was in that pen. Late last fall there were 2 other roosters in there as well but obviously it's been months since we removed them (they were fighting with each other). The remaining rooster wasn't too bad at first after his rival was removed but it seams to be escalating. We thought he was the top rooster of the pair, but perhaps he wasn't? The rooster recently refused to let my DH put them in their coop before dark one night and came after him 3 times before my DH could drive him off and close the coop door. Since then he pinned me in the corner of the coop as well. He didn't attack me but charged me and wouldn't let me move without showing more aggression until he decided he wasn't going to get a rise out of me and left the coop. There's been some aggression also with him when my kids are in the yard near the run, and if he hears anyone talking near the run or coop. We are likely going to get rid of him in the next few days. We know it's just a matter of time before he goes after someone again and we know if it's not us then it'll be my MIL when she housesits for us.

    The only other thing i can think of that could have been disrupting them is we've had one hen in a crate being treated for Bumblefoot (this hen has been crowing in her crate!). She would spend her days in the run and her nights in the house. But we always put her crate in the run before letting the others out in the morning and removed her after we shut the coop door at night so as not to disturb them. We didn't want them to reject her by keeping her away and then beating her up when we tried putting her back. I let her back in loose this morning and she seams to have retained her standing in the group. She is not at the bottom and i saw her putting the hens that are fighting in their place this afternoon.
     

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