Rooster behavior

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by The Zoo, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. The Zoo

    The Zoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Why would a rooster peck a hen and fluff out his neck feathers so they look like ruff around his neck. He pecked one of my hens through a fence and caused her comb to bleed even though she was crouching down submissively. She ended up running away and hiding in a corner even though he couldn't get to her when I chased him away.
    I'm starting to become not very fond of this boy at all.
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    It's a reprimand. Him telling the hen to do things his way. Roosters have tiny brains and he probably didn't understand that the fence was seperating them and she couldn't do what he wanted. He wanted her to mind him.
     
  3. loverOFchickens

    loverOFchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK , so what if the hen reacts back with a rooster like response?
    One of my phoenix's did that recently.
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Then the feathers will fly. I have one hen that refuses to mind the rooster. He's never been able to mate her either. She's not having any of it. She wins their bouts, about half the time.
     
  5. The Zoo

    The Zoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of mine has tried to fight back but has ended up being so injured she's in the bathroom recuperating. Still trying to figure out what to do about the roo.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    For the hen that fights back, it would help some to know the ages of the hen and the rooster. The problem may be either the rooster or the hen. Roosters and hens both need to act a certain way for a flock to function smoothly. The rooster needs to dominate and the hen needs to submit, or Nature's way of keeping peace in the flock is messed up. If the hen is more mature than the rooster, he may grow into his dominant role. If they are the same age and immature, they may be able to sort it out. If they are the same age and both mature, the fighting may continue.
     
  7. The Zoo

    The Zoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two girls who were hatched last April and the roo and younger hen were hatched this April so exactly a year apart.

    Until the boy started coming into his testosterone, the older ladies dominated everything. Now there is definitely a battle of wills going on. One of the older ladies was never particularly nice to the new ones and she's the one who is fighting him the hardest.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    He's only six months old, so there is a chance he will mature enough to dominate the older hens. There is also a chance that more dominant hen will never submit. I think it is probably more will power than pure physical strength. Gritsar said she currently has a hen that will not readily submit, but it sounds like they are able to exist without seriously injuring each other. If I remember right, her's are about a year and a half old. Her flock is also bigger than yours, 12 or 13 total? That could make a difference.

    I'd suggest keeping the hens separated until they are recovered, then maybe reintroducing the less resistant hen by herself and see what happens. Then, if it goes OK, try reintroducing the more aggressive hen. What I'm thinking is that a chicken will lose their place in the pecking order if they are separated for a while. If she comeback in at the bottom of the pecking order, the flock dynamics may work themselves out. But again, they may not.

    They are living things and you can never tell exactly what will happen, but I think this is what I would try. I would be prepared to get rid of one of them though. I really think this is going to be a difficult one.
     
  9. The Zoo

    The Zoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would be happy to give the roo away. I've offered him up on freecycle and to everyone I know. No one wants a roo. I know we need more room than what we have for flock dynamics like this. Our coop/pen was built for 4 hens not 3 hens and a rooster.

    My plan is to separate him into a bachelor pad. Reintegrate the milder older hen with the younger hen (she's less injured so that's easier anyways) and she behaves pretty well with the younger one. Doesn't chase her or peck her much. The younger one was definitely low man on the totem pole but with the protection of the roo has been able to be equal to the older ones. So I was planning on leaving those two together for a while (2 weeksish) until the meaner old one has healed completely and then try to get all three of them together and see how it goes. The younger one is about half the size of the older ones so that doesn't help her.

    We also will be fencing off a portion of our yard and creating a chicken run. The roo's coop/pen will go in this area. What about letting him out with the hens when I can be out there watching them all? That way I can stop any issues immediately. The older hens were injured trying to get away from him and not being able to. In a run they'll have loads more room to get away if they want. I think the meaner older one is definitely trying to challenge him and not submit. But she used to pick on him awfully - this has to be a serious adjustment for her.

    I am hoping that if we get through these hormones he will stop being so desperate to mate and will be gentler, if not my other option is to put him to sleep which seems sad for a guy who is just doing what nature intended. Plus he's SO good with 'his' hen. He brings her treats, sits with her when she's laying, etc. He has potential.
     
  10. loverOFchickens

    loverOFchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine are both the same age (about 6 months) and they didn't seem super serious.

    They just puffed up 5 second sparring match and then went back to foraging they did it again 5 seconds later and then they where done. I have not seen them fight since, I am really not sure who won. The roo is in with an 8 month old and a year old hen from bigger breeds.

    Sorry The Zoo,
    I didn't mean to steal your post.

    Thanks everyone!
     

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