Rooster attacking one hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by halcyon, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. halcyon

    halcyon Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 27, 2009
    McClellanville, SC
    I have a mixed breed rooster, 1 /1/4 yrs old who is with two hens he's been with for a year, two he's been with for about four months and nine 4 month old pullets.
    Alexander was fine with everyone, except one BO in my original flock who was killed by a dog, replaced with another BO whom the rooster picked on, so we traded her for another BO who was fine for about two months, but now he is attacking her.
    He mounts all the hens, but the BO he attacks around the head as she's squatting. She doesn't fight back (sometimes the other hens simply walk out from under him), but does run from him.
    I separated her today, thinking she might be broody and when she saw Alexander she acted terrified until she realized he couldn't get to her, but then she wanted to get out out the broody pen later and when she squatted for him, he began pecking her head. She's now roosting with the babes and Alexander and the other three hens are in another coop. I'll keep them separated while I'm at work tomorrow, although he has been getting along well with everyone except the BO.
    Should I return the BO (Penelope) to her original home and not get another one?
    Should I send Alexander (he's quite large, white with grey/black markings and feathered legs and is usually quite nice to the hens and I've never had a problem with him) to someone who wants a free-range rooster?
    Do I run the risk of having a similar problem with another rooster? I do want a rooster.
  2. Yazzo

    Yazzo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2010
    Although your rooster will probably get 'wiser' and more protective towards ALL the hens as he gets older, it is a real issue with some roosters when they're young. Is Penelope at the bottom of the pecking order? Some hens are just so timid that they're pecked by not only the other hens, but the rooster too, although if she has chicks, I wouldn't think that's the case. You could return her to her original home, but I would wait a bit longer and see what happens. His aggression towards her will probably die down the longer he's around her. If you see him attacking her though, and making her squawk, don't stand for it. Push him off, throw him to the side....just get him off her without hurting either of them. Show him who's boss and that you don't want him hurting 'your' hen. You can also use a squirt bottle with water on him when you see him attacking her.

    It sounds like you like Alexander, so I would only give him away as a very last resort. If the hen isn't getting too hurt, I would just leave them together but separate if she starts getting injured. If you do separate them, try to keep them close, but in separate pens, so Alexander gets used to her.

    You could have a similar problem with another rooster, but just as easily not. It just depends on him sounds like Penelope is quite a timid hen around roosters.

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