MickWithChicks

Songster
Jul 18, 2017
249
587
192
East Coast of Australia
And then there were 3.

It finally happened. My rooster Dasher was taken today by a fox. We hadn't had a fox attack in about 2 years. Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen were all going crazy, so I went to investigate. Feathers everywhere and the three had retreated into their stable. Followed the trail feathers and found Dasher still alive but with irreparable injuries. Ended it for him with cervical dislocation.

He'd been charging me when I'd enter the run for the last couple of months and I was trying to train the behaviour away. It'll be nice to not get flogged everytime I enter, but I'll miss his morning crows.

RIP little dude.



Question - would you leave the body for the fox to take (and buy you a bit more time to secure the entry point in the run), or would you take the body and bury it? I've left it for now, but have some reservations in doing so.
 

RoostersAreAwesome

Crossing the Road
May 21, 2017
7,650
22,550
822
And then there were 3.

It finally happened. My rooster Dasher was taken today by a fox. We hadn't had a fox attack in about 2 years. Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen were all going crazy, so I went to investigate. Feathers everywhere and the three had retreated into their stable. Followed the trail feathers and found Dasher still alive but with irreparable injuries. Ended it for him with cervical dislocation.

He'd been charging me when I'd enter the run for the last couple of months and I was trying to train the behaviour away. It'll be nice to not get flogged everytime I enter, but I'll miss his morning crows.

RIP little dude.



Question - would you leave the body for the fox to take (and buy you a bit more time to secure the entry point in the run), or would you take the body and bury it? I've left it for now, but have some reservations in doing so.
I’m so sorry for your loss @MickWithChicks. I still miss my aggressive roos. After knowing them for a long time, it’s hard when they’re gone, even the angry boys.
Can you lock them in their coop? I’d think that would be the safest option.
 

MickWithChicks

Songster
Jul 18, 2017
249
587
192
East Coast of Australia
They'd been with me for 3 years since hatchlings. They were 4 of 6, with only 2 girls. The girls both died. One about 18 months ago--she laid monster-sized eggs which was evidently non-sustainable, and one I had to euthanise 2 months ago due to an ongoing issue with ascites.

The 4 boys have always been super healthy with the exception of a red-lice infestation about a year ago (we got on top of that though).

I had extended their run and never removed the old gate etc. That part of the run was much more secure than the extension, so I'll close the gate and they'll be safe in the coop and old part of the run until I can secure the rest over the weekend.

I'll retrieve the carcass this evening if it's still there. I want to see if the fox returns for it. I know he's been taking chooks from the other side of the hill behind our property, but he hadn't ventured to our side for a couple of years. The mozzies have been breeding due to the rain, so the mixamotosis has been killing off the rabbits - I assume the next best thing is chicken.
 

MickWithChicks

Songster
Jul 18, 2017
249
587
192
East Coast of Australia
6 weeks since the fox attack. He hasn't been back. There was a dead fox on the road about 1500m from the property, I'm hoping it was him.

Anyway, now that Dasher is dead, the other three get along so well. It's like there's finally an equilibrium in the rooster flock. I don't get flogged anymore, Vixen isn't always steering clear of the others.

I knew removing a problem roo from a normal flock can make a huge difference, didn't realise the same was true for a rooster flock.
 

theoldchick

The Chicken Whisperer
Premium Feather Member
May 11, 2010
30,431
10,234
757
Removing the evil rooster makes a difference in everyone's lives! No reason to keep them. Keep the ones the hens want to be with.
DSCN4805.JPG
 

Willowspirit

Crowing
Mar 14, 2019
1,855
5,397
412
Near Portland Oregon at 2Dogs Ranch North
6 weeks since the fox attack. He hasn't been back. There was a dead fox on the road about 1500m from the property, I'm hoping it was him.

Anyway, now that Dasher is dead, the other three get along so well. It's like there's finally an equilibrium in the rooster flock. I don't get flogged anymore, Vixen isn't always steering clear of the others.

I knew removing a problem roo from a normal flock can make a huge difference, didn't realise the same was true for a rooster flock.
Hard way to learn that lesson, though.
 

MickWithChicks

Songster
Jul 18, 2017
249
587
192
East Coast of Australia
Hard way to learn that lesson, though.
The thing about rooster flocks is that the majority of people don't keep them. Roosters in rooster flocks act significantly different to those in standard flocks.

Having submissive and dominant Roosters with no hens is expected behaviour. Vixen was still eating, socialising, scratching and dust bathing while Dasher was alive, he just moved out of the way when Dasher would shuffle at him. The other 2 were not showing any signs of distress or bother and they all had about 10sq/m each.

Often times (as evidenced by the experience from other rooster flock keepers in this here thread) removing a dominant rooster from a rooster flock will result in injury or death of a rooster as the remaining members shuffle to become flock leader.

The outcome of removing the dominant rooster when nobody is being injured, and the dynamic of the flock is stable (even if not ideal) is unpredictable. Is it worth removing the dominant rooster and risking pecking order fighting to death of the remaining?

I'd say the lesson learned couldn't really have been learned any other way.
 

northerngracema

In the Brooder
Aug 19, 2020
14
60
46
North Quabbin, MA
Anyway, now that Dasher is dead, the other three get along so well. It's like there's finally an equilibrium in the rooster flock. I don't get flogged anymore, Vixen isn't always steering clear of the others.
This is so interesting. I had a really similar experience with our rooster Pigeon who died earlier this summer. He was always a problem child, the secondary dominant rooster in a flock of 3. He would challenge the alpha and lose and then beat up the rooster below him to console himself. Really a little jerk. We still cared about him so I never would have culled him but especially over the winter he was starting fights and really annoying. It's kind of a relief for this winter, and the flock is much more stable now.

One thing that has occurred to me and I'm wondering what other folks think is that it's really no surprise Pigeon was the one killed because he was a loose canon. Like you said about your boy, Pigi would always hop of the roost and start prowling and growling if anyone approached the coop at night. And even though he lost the fight, I doubt it was a fun experience for the predator because none of the other boys were harmed and it didn't try again. So in some ways having an aggressive rooster in the flock is a good protection, at least out here in the forest where we have a lot of predators. He might have fought it off and lived but as it turned out he was sort of the sacrificial rooster. It has made me rethink at what point I would cull an aggressive rooster. It's annoying to have him charging you all the time, but we've got knee high galoshes, and really... that's his job.

Here's a couple pics of Pigeon during the winter when he was picking fights and got some bad frostbite. You can see he's got the crazy eyes.

IMG_20200207_103239_557.jpg
IMG_20200207_103239_559.jpg
 

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