Rooster Behavior Question - Food thieves!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by venymae, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. venymae

    venymae Prairie Wind

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    Hello All!

    We have 3 Rhode Island Red roosters in a flock of 25 chickens. We got them day old in late spring this year. They are sexually mature, crow just fine, are big in body, but their spurs are still stumpish. I've read book after book on chicken keeping and almost all of them mention Roosters letting the hens get to the choice morsels fist and often offering their favorite hen a treat. Well, MINE DON"T. They are big greedy pigs who bully the hens away from the food, steal the treats and run off with them and generally act selfishly when it comes to food. Other than that they are fairly nice birds, none of the hens have bare backs (thought they are opportunist rapist chickens - no dancing here, just surprise!) and they have never been aggressive towards people. Will they outgrow this food selfishness and will I eventually have the roosters that all the books talk about who "let the hens go first, and allow them to eat the good food first". Or is this just fantasy??

    Thanks!
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Not all roosters are gentlemen. Many of my roosters will give tidbits to hens, but some will just gobble them down themselves. I don't mind the less "generous" roosters, so I still keep them around. If yours are otherwise good roosters, this behavior shouldn't be a problem. I won't keep roosters that are downright mean to the hens, however.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  3. venymae

    venymae Prairie Wind

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    Drat. Because we only feed them twice a day and treats are not often given it's hard to watch them being such pigs. Time will tell if they change I suppose.
     
  4. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't worry too much. Providing treats to the hens and doing the seductive wing-drop dance before mating tends to be signs that a mature rooster would exhibit rather than a young cockerel.

    I know when I first got my George, he was 5 months old and was quite rough around the edges. He had two mating techniques: (1) Call the girls over with the false promise of food that didn't exist, and then jump on them and (2) Wait until the girls were eating their pellets, then launch at them with a surprise mating from behind a bush!

    He never called them for food, and even when he did start to do that he would call them over and then scoff the treat in front of them!

    Now he is 11 month old and is treating them much better. He calls them for treats (and even lets them eat them, lol), he rounds them up into the coop at night, and before he mates them he does a little dance. I wouldn't call it 'seductive' per se - more like an aeroplane zooming around them in circles, and a lot of feet stamping, lol. Once he zoomed in so many circles that he actually fell over, and the girls just raised their eyebrows and walked away. Poor George, he really was trying!

    So yes, as I said, as they get older they will probably get better. And as long as he is not attacking them or anyone else, they should be fine.

    Krista
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    First of all, how many cockerels do you have to how many pullets?

    Young cockerels will exhibit the behavior you describe. They have hormones raging, and will take what they can - both in food and in mating. They are also trying to figure out their place among the other cockerels. The top male will have his choice of breeding. It takes time for them to mature and become more of a gentleman.
     
  6. venymae

    venymae Prairie Wind

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    Just an update. Our roosters have..matured. All three are attempting a little dancing before the jump on (even gimpy, though he can't jump on account of his bad leg - poor fellow), they don't steam roll the hens for the goodies anymore (they don't offer them any though), and they still have not attacked any human folk. They are still raging love machines though and the favored hens are looking quite worn, the tops of their wings being bald and pink from roo feet. Hopefully this means our spring hatch won't have many duds!
     

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