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Rooster and Hen best friends

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by doiron5, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. doiron5

    doiron5 New Egg

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    Oct 23, 2012
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    hello everyone. I'm new to this so I need some advice. We took on our daughter's class of whatever hatched when they incubated 5 eggs. So, we got a rooster and hen and have raised them togther since they were 5 days old so they are BFFs. We purchased 4 new hens about 5 weeks ago. The 4 new ones are now finally hanging together but my first hen, henrietta, will not associate with them except to shoo them away form feeders when she wants them. She is always glued to Big Red's side (roo). Big Red is gorgeous, big, and a pain. He leaves our yard whenever he can and the hens do not. Who knows what he will do to the hens once he matures. I was told he will rip them crazy this winter when he matures. They are in a coop with a run under neath it that it 12x5. We feel it might be better to get rid of him so Henrietta becomes more sociable with the other hens. We do not need a rooster for eggs but I'm afraid of what Henrietta might go through when Big Red disappears :( Any comments are appreciated.
     
  2. Sounds to me like they have not worked out a pecking order just yet. What kind of hens did you get? I would bet that Henrietta will be the top notch girl on the list.

    How has your big guy been treating your other girls so far?
    How old is Henrietta and your roo?

    Welcome to the site!!!!!!! It's a great place to be and learn, and bounce questions off of.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    [​IMG] If you get rid of the rooster, she will survive. Very likely she will remain as the boss of the flock.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    :frow Welcome to the forum! :frow Glad you joined us! :frow

    I'm not real clear on your set-up. Is the coop 12 x 5 or is that just the run under it? And do they get access to the yard since the rooster leaves the yard? Space is important on how they act. If your space is tight, then you are more likely to have problems.

    Hens and roosters have been living together for thousands of years. They have methods worked out for new ones growing up in the flock. They are living animals. Sometimes bad things happen, but usually bad things don't happen. Their ways may look rough to you, but they are chickens, not people.

    Age as well as space also plays a big part in how they act. Chickens go through adolescence. Hormones run wild and they don’t have the maturity to control them. Most people on this forum think only about the rooster, but those pullets go through the hormonal phase too. You don’t mention how old they all are, but it sure sounds like they are pretty young.

    It’s possible that as your rooster and the pullets mature, mating will get rough. They are inexperienced and don’t necessarily have the technique down. The risk from this is that the pullets lose enough feathers that the rooster can rip the skin in them during the mating act. Remember that chickens have been going through this every year for thousands of years. Some feather loss is perfectly normal. Will that rooster rip them to shreds? It’s possible but not likely, just as it is possible you will have an accident the next time you get in a car, but not likely. Don’t obsess over it.

    I suspect your one hen is older than the four. Mature chickens naturally outrank less mature chickens in the pecking order and are often bullies about it. What your chicken is doing with keeping them away from the food and water sounds typical for this behavior. When your younger ones mature to the point they can establish their position in the pecking order, this behavior will stop. When will this happen? It depends on how fast they mature. This behavior is almost always the hens. A dominant rooster, especially a mature dominant rooster, practically never behaves this way. Immature non-dominant roosters often do, but not a dominant one.

    You are right. You do not need a rooster for eggs. The only reason you need a rooster is to make the eggs fertile if you wish to hatch eggs. If space is tight or you don’t want to deal with him, it won’t hurt to get rid of him. With a flock of all hens and no rooster, one hen often takes on certain roles of the rooster. She may go through the mating ritual with the other hens just to show she is dominant. She may break up fights, keep watch for predators, and in general do what a rooster does to maintain peace and order in his flock. But this takes some maturity on her part too.

    I’m not sure how your older pullet will react if you remove the rooster. She may become more of a bully or she may decide she wants the company and merge with the others. She may mostly hang out alone until they mature enough to suit her. She will adjust. You won’t need to schedule a visit or a house call from Dr. Phil to sort out her psyche. The social order in the flock will change if you remove the rooster, but they will sort it out. Chicken flocks have been doing that for thousands of years.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
  5. doiron5

    doiron5 New Egg

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    Thank you for the quick responses. All hens and the roo are about the same age 20-23 weeks old. I have 3 RIRs and 2 Americaunas. Big Red is a RIR. The run in 12x5 feet. The coop is inside that run but off the ground by 4 feet. They get to free range every day for a couple hours. The 4 new hens finally all hang together outside but Henrietta still hangs with Big Red. Big Red doesn't really pay much attention to the hens when outside except if he thinks someone is going near them. In the run, he seems to monopolize the ramp and doesn't allow the hens to come down the ramp. Henrietta stays down in the run with him. They get closed up together at night and sleep fine of course. When I open the trap door in the am, Red is the first to come down and Henrietta follows with the normal line up of the rest. I have several feeders to ensure they all eat but Red will hog them all as soon as he comes down in the am when any hen goes near one to eat. As soon as he eats from all the feeders then it's like he allows the other 4 new hens to eat. Most of the day, the 4 hens are in the coop while Red and Henrietta are int he run. Henrietta will doesn't do much with the other hens when in the run. I think they are afraid of her and don't go near her. I don't know if she is protecting Red like a territory thing?????? I do plan on fencing out an area near the coop where they can free range but be fenced in so my dog can be in the yard as well. I cant not have Red and my Luna in the yard at the same time. Red goes after my German Shepard and my dog is just curious. I have to think of my dog as well. Since I'm new to all this, I just didn't want to traumatize Henrietta if we get rid of her bro because the are like glued to each other.
     
  6. If it were me, I would hang on to your roo for awhile and see if they adjust. I agree with Ridgerunner, hormones are raging right now at that age. Wait until you see him mate for the first time and look like he is attacking her. They both have no idea what they are doing, and it can look a lot worse than it really is. They will get the hang of it after a day or two, and all will be well usually. The sizes of your girls seems appropriate for him as well.

    My rooster comes out first every morning, checks everything out and then does the same on the ramp. As the girls come out, he usually wing dances them. My new 22 week old roo is acting just like what you are describing. He has no respect for the girls yet. Eats first, chases the girls, almost acts agressive to them. - just found out he is about ready to mate. Hormones once again.

    Just give them some time. If you introduce your dog to them early and often enough they can get along. there may be one good peck to the nose on the dog, but he will learn, - 'leave me alone'. And if he's a good dog, he will get the picture. I have raised my flock with cats and dogs and they all get along just fine. If you do a search on here you will see some of the most amazing photos of other pets with their flock. especially dogs and cats.

    Keep up the good work!
     
  7. doiron5

    doiron5 New Egg

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    Oct 23, 2012
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    But will Henrietta ever socialize with the other hens? Red has already started do his thing. We have witnessed several times with 2 of the hens. My dog has been around the hens since day 1 and she does not go near Red because she is afraid of Red, but Red will go after Luna - hangs on to her tail if she goes by.
     
  8. Yes, Henrietta will eventually socialize with them. They are social creatures by nature. Does Red chase Luna or just get agressive when Luna comes near him?
     
  9. doiron5

    doiron5 New Egg

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    Oct 23, 2012
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    Red gets on the defensive when Luna is around. Luna will not go near him because Red has latched onto her tail and pecked her nose prior. So, Red does not ignore Luna when they are in the same section of the yard together. I would wish that Red will get use to Luna and just go about his biuiness but Luna is curious of the hens will trott near them and Red goes crazy.
     

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