Rooster behavior question

Barredhen

Songster
May 3, 2015
76
74
111
Michigan
I have my first rooster, he is around 8 months old now, so I know very little about what is normal for a roo...
We have 6 hens, 3 are his age, 3 are a bit older. The three older hens are his favorites and they hate him. They roost all day to keep away from him (particularly now that its winter and they do not go outside) so I've taken to locking him in a separate room for an hour in the AM because the hens weren't eating well and loosing weight, so at least they can get breakfast. Hens not eating aren't laying and that is really counter productive so I'm not sure if I'm doing the whole rooster thing wrong but he isn't helping. So that is the first question, is that normal and is there anything I can do but wait for summer and hope with the girls free ranging they can get away from him?

Second and most important: beginning a few days ago one of my older hens has been out in the snow when I go feed the flock. Highly unusually given its bird high snow and 15+f... Any chickens that we've had become ill and die will separate themselves like that, so that is what I wondered, however she appears fine, acting fine, and when I brought her into the coop she ate vigorously and busied herself bossing lower pecking order birds around. So I left her with the flock. Next day, same thing, shes outside. I brought her in. Third day she followed me in and the rooster took off, chased her outside, (quite shocking because he is the LEAST likely to step foot out in the snow) and I heard him catch up with her, ran around the back side of the coop and found him with her neck in his beak shaking her and trying to kill her.
Being my first rooster I'm not sure other than annoying the hens what their job description is, is it more likely that he know something that I do not, and is "culling the herd" himself or is he just a jerk that trees 3 hens and is now trying to kill one??? For right now, I've separated him. Not sure what to do.

Other than mating obsessed hes always been a nice enough fellow, he is friendly with people and not overly protective.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,312
22,113
912
Colorado Rockies
When a cockerel demonstrates that he isn't "nice" with the hens, that's a strike against him. There is a chance he can temper with time, but such an early bad behavior doesn't bode well.

The grabbing and shaking of the hen who is trying to avoid him is a huge warning you should heed or be very sorry you ignored it. I had a hen badly injured by a rooster that kept trying to mate her but she kept resisting him. Hormones raging in a cockerel or a rooster can produce some dangerous behavior, and these behavior tendencies do provide some preview to possible future tragedy.

Many of us treat a young cockerel that is having aggressive inclinations toward the hens by restricting his access to them until they "grow into" their hormones and settle down. Then if a rooster starts behaving in a manner that injures the hens, we take the necessary steps to remove him permanently from the flock, either by rehoming or culling.
 

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
17,574
22,984
906
southern Michigan
I'm not impressed favorably at all either, and have a very low tolerance for cockerels who act badly.
I do wonder how much space you have in your coop, and do you have a covered run, or keep it shoveled out? Also, do you have more than one feeder and waterer, or at least an additional feeder? They need to be in separate areas, so there's no problem with anyone having access. Do you have out-of-sight places for them to escape?
Not to excuse his behavior, but too little space, no places to be out of sight, and one feeder, especially having two 'family' groups now, may not improve the situation.
He's being a jerk! At least make things better for this hen, and the pullets, or give him his own space for a while, or send him off.
Mary
 

Mtnboomer

Songster
Mar 17, 2019
301
543
132
Southwest Virginia (mountains)
Dont give up on him just yet. Any new introduction will have its bumps in the road. After about a week or so he should be accepted in to the flock and everyone will know their place.
Our boys always have a rough start but quickly become great protectors
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,312
22,113
912
Colorado Rockies
A lot of run space and extra hiding places and free ranging did not prevent my young rooster from seriously injuring my hen. He had trapped her in a smaller coop adjacent to the large run during a free range period one day. He ripped her scalp from her head leaving a long flap of skin dangling. From that time on, I kept her safe from him, knowing he'd likely keep doing it. I would have culled him if he behaved this way with any other hens. After that incident, he's been well behaved so it was a personality conflict between the two.
 

NatJ

Songster
Mar 20, 2017
403
898
146
USA
Dont give up on him just yet. Any new introduction will have its bumps in the road. After about a week or so he should be accepted in to the flock and everyone will know their place.
Our boys always have a rough start but quickly become great protectors
I have my first rooster, he is around 8 months old now, so I know very little about what is normal for a roo...
We have 6 hens, 3 are his age, 3 are a bit older.
Is the rooster new to the flock, or has he been there for some months already?
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
12,242
15,387
762
California's Redwood Coast
is it more likely that he know something that I do not, and is "culling the herd" himself
Absolutely NOT! :smack

He's just being a Stew Pidasso because of her refusal to mate with him... and his teen age hormones raging and not knowing how to conduct himself.

None of my boys get access to ladies until they've matured some. Bully's are given a free trip to the table via the cone first and maybe the freezer. :drool

How long have you had him? If you really want to keep a rooster... give him LOT's of look but don't touch time until he matures some... maybe until fall when daylight and hormones diminish some. :fl
 

Barredhen

Songster
May 3, 2015
76
74
111
Michigan
He is not new to the flock. He arrived as a day old chick in July with other chicks. Since coming of age a few months ago, the three oldest hens seldom come down from roosting in order that they keep away from him. At some point, I started giving them some time apart, so the girls could eat. But now that hes been seen doing this, (on top of what I just mentioned) I think hes more trouble than hes worth... I'd be inclined to keep him separate (because he is a great pet!) unfortunately for him we are moving this weekend and the house we're moving to was and still in some ways is a major remodel I have a half set up coop there which means no place to separate him which means, he might not be making the move... with other priorities IN the house and moving a whole farm, I just don't see my husband building a rooster house for a while. Hmmmm. And we're moving from a large farm to a small farm, so all spare stalls and space there is spoken for by a horse or rabbit or dog...

Thank-you all that is what I was thinking but I haven't had any rooster experience to be sure. He is a sweet chicken to me, I carry him around like a pet dog. But my hens do not like him. After seeing that yesterday I did leave him separate and the hen who has been out/he was shaking was inside with her fellow hens this morning happy as can be. So he was certainly the issue. I don't see anything wrong with her. He doesn't seem "good protective" at all either, I'm sure if a hawk came after them he'd be all "its every bird for themselves!" and just run away too, meanwhile being obnoxious to the hens.

They should have more than enough space. There are six hens and the one roo in a 10x12 coop with a 6x10 addition. Various roosts and things to hop on. Free choice food constantly, scraps, treats... There are 3 ways in and out if anyone needs to make a quick escape.

What breeds of roosters are the most gentle and/or quiet (typically, I know everything varies with the particular animal)

I had NOT heard not to put them in with the flock until they're older... shoot!
 

Barredhen

Songster
May 3, 2015
76
74
111
Michigan
Absolutely NOT! :smack

He's just being a Stew Pidasso because of her refusal to mate with him... and his teen age hormones raging and not knowing how to conduct himself.
Duly noted with thanks :D
I only wondered that because we lost a couple of hens this fall, so I thought this hen who was out of the coop was sick at first, and thought maaaaaybe he was attacking her for that reason. But after giving him the boot last night into to his own room, she is in fact just fine, you are correct.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,312
22,113
912
Colorado Rockies
You can't pin your hopes on breed when selecting a rooster. One person could have a Cream Legbar roo that has been a perfect gentleman from the appearance of his first hormone while another Cream Legbar rooster owner is culling theirs for being a tyrant.

This actually has happened here.
 
Top Bottom