Rooster being pecked apart by hens


7 Years
Apr 28, 2012
I have 6 hens and 1 rooster. They are kept in a coup that is attached to a nice sized run, filled with sand in the bottom. I feed them a combo of layer-pellets and cracked corn and am good about changing the water daily.

The rooster is a polish rooster, then hens are rhode island reds.

The hens have been attacking the rooster by pecking away at his tail feathers. I've been trying to keep them seperated, by letting the rooster out of the coup while keeping the hens in. Then I usually open up to the pen an hour before nightfall to let the hens roam the yard with the rooster, and they all go in and sleep in the coup for the night. If the chickens wake up before I can let him back out again, they'll peck him to the point where he is bleeding and all the tail feathers that started to grow back will be gone again.They only peck him inside the coup, when they are out in the yard the hens are to busy enjoying their freedom to care about him.

At this point I think I may have to try to find a new home for the rooster, which would be a bummer because my family and neighbors actually really enjoy hearing him crow and he is a really cool looking rooster/good conversation piece.

Before I start looking into this, does anyone have any ideas specific to my situation that might be worth trying?

The coup is 6' long, 4' wide and is elevated above the run. The run is 12' long, 6 feet wide. I really don't think overcrowding is the issue. Maybe boredom if anything? I've tried giving them seed-blocks to peck at and throw scraps of food in there but that does seem to give them enough entertainment,

Thank you
He is going to have to be removed from the flock. Polish are pretty birds, but the frou frou hairdo makes them a target for harassment by most non-fancy birds. RIRs are a particularly aggressive breed, so he doesn't stand a chance in with those birds. There is unfortunately nothing you are going to do to change that unless he gets his own living quarters apart from these ladies. Maybe you want a few Polish hens or some silkie ladies for him? He would do well in a smaller sub-flock housed separately from the RIRs.

I have removed all RIRs from my flock for aggression and feather picking. They are great layers and foragers, but they do better as free-range birds than as confined birds. This came as a surprise to me because I had always been told that they were a staple bird in any small flock. I have several neighbors and friends with flocks, and all their flocks have been cleared of RIRs for aggression/feather picking/egg-eating as well. RIRs have their place, but I have not had an success with them in a mixed flock.

Good luck.

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