Rooster Damage Help

jnbelknap

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 22, 2014
94
5
76
Arroyo Grande, Ca
I have a beautiful, sweet EE roo. He is a bit over a year old now, and I have had him since hatch. He is absolutely wonderful with his ladies. He feeds them, protects them, and even dances for them. A few months ago, I began noticing some damage on the backs and wings of some of my hens. He has 14 egg-laying hens in his flock currently. I also have two 14 weekers, three 7 weekers, and five chicks--all females. So, eventually, he will have 24 hens. There are no other roosters involved.

I have at least five hens with bare backs and a few others with broken feathers. I thought that the ratio was 7-10 hens per rooster. He has 14. And he does not seem aggressive when doing his business. They squat for him and submit. It takes but a few seconds. The only thing I would notice is that he seems very, very busy, going hen to hen all day long.

I have given them saddles, and they will wear them for a few days, but then they manage to escape them. What else can I do to help this situation? I feel so bad for my raw hens! Is there anything I can do to the rooster? I want to keep him because they are free range and he protects them. Do you have any advice?

Thank you for your help.
 

jnbelknap

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 22, 2014
94
5
76
Arroyo Grande, Ca
Thanks for the advice, Judy. I'm torn on cutting his nails since I want him to be their protector. I'm out in rural land, and I am always afraid of predators. However, we haven't had an incident in the year of having a flock, so perhaps I need to shift my focus to the wellbeing of my ladies.

I really just thought that having enough hens would prevent this issue. I'm a bit disappointed.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,373
17,717
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
What are the birds being fed especially respect to protein level? Have you checked for signs of lice? Both can be problematic when hens already challenged with protracted periods of laying eggs.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
22,805
36,998
1,096
southern Michigan
Go ahead and trim his nails; it won't matter as far as predator protection is concerned. Feed a Flock Raiser type diet, or add a game bird diet, with oyster shell on the side, to enrich their diet. Check and treat for mites and lice, and maybe internal parasites too. Then are they molting? And lastly, there can be genetics involved. Some birds just have poor feather quality compared to others in the same environment. If management is good, consider not breeding the bare backed hens to rid your flock of their genes. Mary
 

jnbelknap

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 22, 2014
94
5
76
Arroyo Grande, Ca
I feed them a 16% layer pellet from Organic Pride. They have free choice oyster shell. They also free range an acre for bugs and plants. I will add in a higher protein feed for trial. I have been getting some thinner shells too. They didn't stop laying over winter, and none of them have molted.

I have thoroughly checked all of them for signs of lice or mites.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,191
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
I have a beautiful, sweet EE roo. He is a bit over a year old now, and I have had him since hatch. He is absolutely wonderful with his ladies. He feeds them, protects them, and even dances for them. A few months ago, I began noticing some damage on the backs and wings of some of my hens. He has 14 egg-laying hens in his flock currently. I also have two 14 weekers, three 7 weekers, and five chicks--all females. So, eventually, he will have 24 hens. There are no other roosters involved.

I have at least five hens with bare backs and a few others with broken feathers. I thought that the ratio was 7-10 hens per rooster. He has 14. And he does not seem aggressive when doing his business. They squat for him and submit. It takes but a few seconds. The only thing I would notice is that he seems very, very busy, going hen to hen all day long.

I have given them saddles, and they will wear them for a few days, but then they manage to escape them. What else can I do to help this situation? I feel so bad for my raw hens! Is there anything I can do to the rooster? I want to keep him because they are free range and he protects them. Do you have any advice?

Thank you for your help.

You can wring his neck or lock him away for weeks with little water and no food. Anyone of these actions on your part will result in your rooster loosing all interest in the fairer sex.

Not all strains or breeds of roosters has the same drive and in each strain the sex drive in any rooster will vary. What I am waiting on is for a hen who has lost her saddle to bring it back to her human keeper so that it can be re-fitted on her. When this happens I will truly believe that a hen saddle is not a human designed torture device. Post the video please.
 

jnbelknap

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 22, 2014
94
5
76
Arroyo Grande, Ca
I have been looking into increasing the protein level of my chicken's feed. My local feed store does not have access to organic all flock or organic game bird. They recommended adding in fish meal and using an organic turkey feed. What are your opinions of this?
 

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