Rooster Behavior ~ My First Roo ~ Questions

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Catnip5, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. Catnip5

    Catnip5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    12
    63
    May 18, 2015
    Harpswell, Maine
    Hi All,

    So a few weeks back I got confirmation that one of my eight girls in this years additions was, in fact, a ROO! EEK! Not planned but he's an Olive Egger and thus could produce some interesting chicks and egg colors from what I hear. I've been reading up on behavior and what to expect etc. and have a few questions that I haven't see addressed in the threads I've read thus far. I will say he is learning to respect the older girls (Original flock of 10 1+ year olds) and the majority of them don't take any guff from him. That being said...he has jumped a few of them when he feels he has the opportunity to do so - if they dislike it and screech enough the other girls go and intervene on the poor girls behalf. There was one girl who got in a tiff with him and I broke that one up and carried him away for a time-out. The younger girls, his age, seem to get jumped more often and none of them seem to take a stand against him. I also have 3 ducks, same age, that grew up with him and he thinks they are fun to jump on for a little lovin' as well - they are increasingly becoming more intimidated and frightened by him with each passing day - and they usually rule the yard and all the other girls! I should mention they free range within a good 400 foot perimeter electric fence and there are loads of places to escape to - trees, bushes, shelters etc.

    Ok - so my questions is this: Should I just be letting him to his "dirty dance & deed" and not intervene on the poor girls behalf or should I be breaking up this behavior from the get-go? When I have time to sit out there for awhile he seems to make moves on all the girls at one time or another - I have to wonder if this happens all day while I'm at work and whether it is just "to be expected" of a young rooster. (Born 4/11/16)
    Intervene & break it up or leave them alone?

    He seems to respect me - I've had no issues picking him up but I am getting concerned about whether he might seriously injure one or all of the ducks (also born 4/11 - Cayuga, Welsh Harlequin and Blue Swedish).

    He also crows way more than I wish he would...I am certain I'll hear from the neighbors any day now...but I'm a vegetarian and an animal lover so freezer camp and stew pot are not options I would consider and I've always been of the belief that if you take in an animal they are your responsibility for life. That being said...I want to enjoy Clark Gable's presence and I want all of the girls to enjoy having him there too.

    I can't say he's been aggressive...just "frisky". When to intervene and what behavior should I nip in the bud if I catch him doing it?

    Thanks - sorry so long...that's me! Here's Clark Gable (formerly Hedy Lemar, LOL)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I actually feel sorry for your Ducks!
    Hopefully they are all hens? If you have a Drake you will have another issue to deal with...Being that was not posted I will continue on....No point ininterfering...He will only continue breeding the Hens and your ducks...

    If you have no need for the Rooster? I would rehome him....Unless your plan is to make him his own pen he will only get mature and possibly aggressive...
     
  3. Catnip5

    Catnip5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    12
    63
    May 18, 2015
    Harpswell, Maine
    They are all girls - hens and ducks - he was a surprise, obviously, but is both beautiful and potentially very helpful as a guardian for the flock.
    Yes he will mature but I have heard of many a nice Rooster so re-homing is a last resort.

    Others?
     
  4. Catnip5

    Catnip5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    12
    63
    May 18, 2015
    Harpswell, Maine
    Aside from my intervention question I guess I am curious as to whether my young Roo is going through a "phase" where he wants to jump the girls because he's feeling especially frisky right now as a youngster or will he settle down and chill out once he matures? I have 17 hens and 3 ducks and he seems to want to bed them all! The older girls are putting him in his place but I am beginning to wonder if they'd rather see him move onto another location. He is fine with me and when I have intervened to pick him up for a time out he is very calm and subdued.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,817
    5,567
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    He's being what he is, a young cockerel (not a cock or rooster until one year of age) the crowing is also normal.
    Yes, he wants to mount, dominate, mate anything and everything.
    It is a 'phase', so to speak, and he should calm down in time as he matures, but it could take several months or more to happen.
    The older hens will beat him up until he gains their 'respect' and learns some manners.
    But he will harass the pullets(not hens until one year of age), they are probably not ready for mating (are they laying yet?) and don't appreciate his attempts.

    Many folks segregate young cockerels until the pullets are at point of lay, which is preferable to trying to act like a chicken and directly intervene by knocking him off a female bird. If you have lots of space and places for the beleaguered to escape his antics, everyone is able to get plenty to eat and drink without being set upon, and no one is being bloodied or pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, then you could probably just let them all work it out like chickens work it out. Otherwise, lock him up.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Catnip5

    Catnip5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    12
    63
    May 18, 2015
    Harpswell, Maine
    Great feedback aart, thanks! The younger girls are due to lay any day now...and yes, there are loads of places for them to escape to and he doesn't seem to harass anyone while they are eating, thankfully. Still, I hate seeing him chase one down for some action.. Thankfully the bigger girls usually run right to the rescue. Glad to hear this is a phase and that he'll mellow in time. Otherwise I don't think I could stand having him around if all he wanted to do was grab some action every 15 minutes. No injuries to anyone either...though the ducks are clearly wary and are maneuvering around the yard with caution. I was happy to see the older hens intervene on behalf of one of the ducks too.

    It sounds like this is all pretty much to be expected and he'll chill in a few months. He won't be a year old, nor his 7 flock mates, until 4/11. The other 10 are 15 months old now and they are pretty much putting him in his place. He is a handsome boy and it sure is interesting watching the changing dynamic...

    Thanks again!
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,817
    5,567
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    He is a fine looking boy, that's for sure!

    Hopefully he does learn some manners and calms down soon, you're lucky to have the old girls to take care of that for you so you don't have to confine him.
    You won't really know if he will become a valuable part of the flock for sure until he's about a year old.

    My take on cock/erels is, leave them alone, make them get out of your way, always be calm, cool, and in charge in their presence.
    He should not interfere in any way with your handling the girls, he can show concern - but must show no aggression.
    I only handle males infrequently and usually off the roost at night when it's not a rooster rodeo to get a hold of them,
    just enough so he knows that 'he won't die' if the human touches him.
    I sometimes hand feed all the birds and occasionally pick up a female for a short duration....again only so they learn they 'will not die'.

    There's lots of ways to handle male(s) in the flock.....but most important is the keepers demeanor.
     
  8. Catnip5

    Catnip5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    12
    63
    May 18, 2015
    Harpswell, Maine
    Thanks aart - that's about where we are at right now - I'm cool, calm and in charge (helps having been in animal welfare for 30+ years) and I often pick up and hand feed my girls. He's shown concern but never more than vocalization with me and even that is kinda funny under his breath sort of mumblings. He's very calm and subdued when I pick him up, which isn't often and has almost always been an intervention. Thankfully the older girls are now taking over rescue operations, lol. I think once he settles down a bit everyone will be a lot happier - his hormones must be out of control - he wants to get-it-on with every gal in the yard. I do get a kick out of watching the older gals put him in his place. They mean business! The ducks used to rule the yard but now they have been intimidated by him...but thankfully the hens have intervened on their behalf as well.

    Everything sounds like it's going as well as can be expected at this stage of development. Thanks for the advice! He's an Olive Egger ...should be interesting to see what color eggs and chicks he contributes to - I have a very mixed flock of girls (every egg color :) ) He's got a pretty shape even if he is kind of monotone in color.

    Thanks again!
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,817
    5,567
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    That sounds good.<thumbsup>
    Yes, could be fun to use him as a sire....but what are your plans for the usual 50% males from any given hatch?
    I make 'olive eggers', using EE hens and a Welsummer sire, but eat my extra cockerels.
     
  10. Catnip5

    Catnip5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    12
    63
    May 18, 2015
    Harpswell, Maine
    Well, I'm not actually planning to hatch any chicks for awhile, maybe next year and maybe only 5-6 eggs at the most. I'm a vegetarian so no eating my chickens [​IMG] If perchance I intentionally breed and end up with one or two males I'll try to keep them and integrate. Any more than that and I'd have to find good homes for them...and hope they live long lives.

    I hadn't planned on any males and have only ordered females but someone didn't have enough coffee that morning apparently.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by