Rooster aggressive to one hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ktliz, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. ktliz

    ktliz Hatching

    Jan 8, 2014
    Hudson, CO
    I have 3 buff orpingtons - 1 rooster and 2 hens. They are all about 9 months old. As soon as the rooster started showing male traits and signs of aggression, we starting establishing our dominance back - carrying him, not letting him get away with attacking our feet, etc. All in all, I've really enjoyed having a rooster even if it wasn't expected when I got chicks last spring. He does a great job of protecting the hens from predators when they are free ranging. I hardly have to keep an eye on them when they're out. And it is quite charming when he finds bugs or treats and calls the hens over.

    The problem started in early December when one hen went broody. He was attacking her. At first, I thought it was because she didn't want to breed because of the broodiness, so I separated them for a while. She is over the broodiness now and laying again, but has a complete different disposition about her - scared and submissive. She was the top hen before this all started. Now he attacks her all the time, but not in a way were he is chasing her and trying to breed. He goes straight for her head/neck. When they are out when I'm home on the weekends, she hides behind me when the rooster is around. I leave them in their coop/run when I'm at work and I'm pretty sure she hides from the rooster behind the crates I use for nesting boxes all day. They do all roost together at night though. He is also a bit more aggressive towards me in the last week or so as well. I can handle him, I just worry about him killing the hen or pecking her eyes out or something.

    I have heard that more hens to keep him busy will help. I'm planning on getting 8-10 chicks this spring, but I'm not sure this dynamic between the hen and rooster can last that long.

    Is there anything I can do to change the rooster's behavior toward this hen? Otherwise, he will have to find another home or become dinner. It is hard because they are all my babies.
  2. Stewarts

    Stewarts Songster

    Feb 26, 2013
    PEI, Canada
    Is this hen healthy? Roosters and Hens will attack a bird that is sick or different in some way. How has the broodiness changed the hens behavior? The Roo could be reacting to that alone. Once a roo or a hen start pecking on another bird there isn't much you can do to stop it and the fact that she's been acting submissive and hiding does not help. It makes things worse and encourages the roo to go after her.

    I have 14 Hens and 1 Roo; my meat hen looks and acts differently from the rest of the flock, based on that behavior and how she looks, she's completely white and very large so she isn't as mobile are the rest, on this alone the hens reject her and abuse her whenever they can, while the roo is trying to protect her but she is very timid and hides instead of pecking back and standing up for herself. I have her in with the flock but she's housed in a separate box made just for her inside the coop so the hens can't attack her and she can still be a part of the flock. I spend time sitting in with my birds and when I do I have her out in the coop. She always comes running to me for protection.

    You may have to rehome your Roo. Getting more than two hens will certainly help to distract the Roo. If he's pulling out her feathers you can protect her more by putting a saddle on her. [​IMG]
    Basic Saddle. I make mine out of an old blanket that doesn't fray when I cut it.
    Henny, my meat hen, wearing her saddle. I have since taken it off of her.

    I will post the box I have in the coop for her, I have to download the pictures.

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