Rooster causing trouble

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ascott99, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. ascott99

    ascott99 Out Of The Brooder

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    My chickens are about to be 5 months old. I have 4 hens and a rooster (that wasn't supposed to be a rooster) every morning when I go to let them out, our rooster chases down the other hens causing them to "squawk" and often times the roo will have a feather in his mouth. I'm concerned with this behavior but I'm not sure if this is normal.he also is excessively crowing at 4 in the morning, throughout the day, and late at night. Is this normal?
     
  2. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm afraid yes this sounds quite normal for a rooster. With your birds being quite young he is still finding his feet and hormones are starting to be produced. The ideal hen to rooster ratio is 10 hens and 1 rooster. I would really considered finding him a new home or culling him if you don't require fertile eggs. When they get to breeding age he could start over mating them causing injury to your hens and even possible death. It can become quite brutal.
    As for the crowing, sounds normal my roo starts between 4.30 and 5 am every morning. Thankfully I have understanding neighbours!! You could try a no crow collar although I havnt had experience of them myself.
    Wishing you the very best of luck :frow
     
  3. ascott99

    ascott99 Out Of The Brooder

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    We would really hate to get rid him. If I let them out earlier will my rooster be less likely to "attack" the hens?
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Typical mating behavior between mature consenting adults.

    The rooster dances for a specific hen. He lowers one wing and sort of circles her. This signals his intent.

    The hen squats. This gets her body onto the ground so the rooster’s weight goes into the ground through her entire body and not just her legs. That way she can support a much heavier rooster without hurting her legs.

    The rooster hops on and grabs the back of her head. The head grab helps him get in the right position to hit the target and helps him to keep his balance, but its major purpose is to tell the hen to raise her tail out of the way to expose the target. A mating will not be successful if she does not raise her tail and expose the target. The head grab is necessary.

    The rooster touches vents and hops off. This may be over in the blink of an eye or it may take a few seconds. But when this is over the rooster’s part is done.

    The hen then stands up, fluffs up, and shakes. This fluffy shake gets the sperm into a special container inside the hen near where the egg starts its internal journey through her internal egg making factory.

    With five month olds you are not dealing with consenting adults. You are dealing with adolescents that have no control over their hormones. The cockerels normally mature earlier than the pullets and are being driven mad by their hormones. The pullets have no idea what is going on so they certainly are not going to cooperate.

    At that age most of this is not about sex either. The mating ritual is about dominance. The one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. It’s not about pecking order either, but total flock dominance. The cockerel’s hormones are screaming at it to dominate the pullets but the pullets are not ready for that. It takes both to do their part, pullets as well as cockerel.

    To do his job as flock master, the cockerel has to be the dominant chicken. How can he keep peace in his flock if he can’t break up a fight without the others beating the crap out of him? What good does it do to warn of danger if no one listens? How can he fertilize the eggs if they don’t cooperate? A cockerel is usually bigger and stronger than the pullets. If they don’t cooperate willingly he is going to force them. That’s part of his job, to be the dominant chicken.

    Part of being the dominant chicken is that he has to act like a mature adult. He needs to dance for the ladies, find them food, watch for danger, keep peace on his flock, and do all the things a mature rooster does to take care of his flock. He also has to have enough self-confidence to win the hens over by his personality. It takes a while for most cockerels to get their hormones under control enough to be able to do this.

    Normally the pullets and cockerel will mature enough to play their part in the flock. For the pullets that is often about the time they start to lay, though some take a few months longer. I’ve had a cockerel do that at five months but that is really rare. I’ve had some that took a full calendar year to win over all the ladies. Normally around seven months a cockerel will mature enough to start getting his hormones under control and act like a flock master should. Normally the pullets are ready to accept him at this time but more mature hens may hold out a little longer. It’s going to vary with each flock, depending on the personality of the individual hens and rooster.

    Until the cockerel and the pullets mature enough to fulfil their duties in the flock and learn proper technique, it can get pretty rough. Normally neither the cockerel nor the pullets are harmed during his maturing process but since force is involved injury is always possible. The big problem for a lot of people is that it is just hard to watch, especially if they don’t understand the dynamics of what is going on. I don’t see anything unusual or out of the ordinary in what you describe.

    You may hear that disaster is assured unless you get more pullets. Some people believe that a magic ratio of hens to rooster will solve all these types of problems, ten to one is often quoted. It doesn’t work that way. Many breeders keep one rooster with one or two hens throughout the breeding season without any problems. One secret though is that they use roosters and hens, not cockerels and pullets. That makes a big difference. You can have the same problems with very small hen to rooster ratios as you do with very large hen to rooster ratios. If you want to use this as an excuse to get more pullets by all means go for it. But it is an excuse, not a real reason.

    Some cockerels crow a lot. Some don’t crow much. It varies a lot by the individual. I don’t know of any way to control that during the day. Often if they are crowing at night they see a light. Maybe you have a security light or street light shining in a window. Maybe a car passing on the road will light up the coop. Maybe it is just a full moon. If you can keep the coop dark at night you can usually reduce the night-time crowing.

    Good luck! It’s probably going to be a messy down there for a couple of months, but if you can get through this phase, you should have a nice flock.
     
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  5. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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    :goodpost:

    Thanks for posting, far better explained than anything else I have read on Roos.
     

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