Rooster crowing dominance/ egg laying opinions

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Upper Penn Love

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 12, 2013
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
This spring we got a barred rock rooster (adult, age unknown) as a "rescue" from a bad situation, a week later we got a what I believe to be, a gold sex link hen from a suburban "pet" home. The two bonded quickly. A few weeks later someone asked me to take "4" chickens they didn't want anymore. I agreed. 4 ended up being 8, two of which were Roos. I was able to give 2 hens and a roo to a neighbor, and days after I let them all out of the coop the polish I got went missing. So, now I'm down to 2 Roos, 4hens, and a little bantam hen. They have been quite entertaining all summer.

My first question is about the roosters, they established dominance fairly quickly without be getting too worried over welfare. The barred rock is king, his girlfriend the gold link is queen, and then the 2nd mixed breed rooster comes next in the chain, followed by his girlfriend an Americana. And the rest seem equals/ friends. Now the barred rock crows constantly, im hoping this changes a little once I install an automatic feeder. Right now I throw a bucket of feed out there everyday. He comes to the windows of the house and crows, he goes around and around doing this and looking in the windows, especially when he can stand on the picnic table but the dining room. Do you think this is him asking for food? And in comparison, I've never heard the mixed rooster crow, not once. Is this because of his place in the hierarchy? His brother that came with him crowed a bit, but for some reason that rooster never had to fight for a place. We had him for about a week and he would run around the yard with the barred and his girlfriend like they were best friends, I thought it was very strange. ( I never put him in the coop because I never intended to keep him). So would mixed roo crow if we got rid of the crower?

Hens: can't put it any other way except to say gold link is a b*tch. She pecks at all the other chickens, chases them around on a whim and tries to chase them from any food. However, she is the friendliest hen with people and she is the only hen that consistently lays in the coop. When we first got the bunch, the Americana layed for about a week after they were released from confinement. When I picked the chickens up originally the owner said they were all good layers and I did see a few eggs in their coop. None of them have layed an egg in the coop since spring however. We do have prairie around our acre, I assume they are laying them somewhere other than the coop but I have been unable to locate these spots, I know where the chicken like to lay down or roll in the dirt and none of these places ever has an egg. I originally had only one nest box so a few weeks ago I built a set up that has 4 nests. I'm using wood shavings now, was using hay before. I even have golf balls in two nests to imitate eggs. Nothing. I get one egg a day from the gold link, it's beginning to irritate me that I'm feeding 7 chickens for one egg a day... Any ideas?
Have you tried confining the hens to the coop for a few days to see how many eggs you get? They don't just know to lay in a nest box, especially if they have the option of lovely hidey holes. If you confine them a few days, you can re train them to lay in a nest box (sometimes).
It's possible that your dominant hen is scaring the others away from the nest boxes, or is stressing them out a little too much to lay. It can sometimes help to separate bullies from the flock for a day or so. This usually knocks them down the pecking order a few places, though by the way you describe her, she might just climb right back up it once she's back.

Also, I agree with donrae about confining them to the coop for a few days. If they really are laying in the field, confining them will force them to lay at home (though not necessarily in the boxes; we've had hens who are insistent on laying on the ground beneath the boxes, as opposed to in them).

As for the rooster, I think you're right in your guess that it's a dominance thing. Some beta roosters just don't have the confidence to crow. We once (very unfortunately) had several roosters together, one of which never crowed. My friend took him for her girls, and now that he's the only roo, he crows constantly. The beta roo in our flock does crow, but it usually angers the alpha rooster, who will go after him for it. Maybe your other rooster is just smarter.
Ok. I do like the barred rock but if I could have peace, I may have taken it lol. The sex link hen did protest the new chickens and refused to go in the coop at night for a few weeks, she would disappear well in advance of dusk on purpose I think because If I saw her I would put her in. The other chicken are all just to docile in temperament I think, she a force to be reckoned with. While I've never see her peck at the barred rock roo I'm not entirely sure he is dominant over her, I think they are more like equals lol. I will try locking them up for a few days and see if I get eggs, it's hit freezing overnight around here though so I expect to see a drop off on egg laying soon.
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