Rooster Harasment

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DLCShark, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. DLCShark

    DLCShark Chirping

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    Can the harassment from two roosters possible delay egg production?
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Absolutely. How many hens are with these two roosters? If hens are stressed from being constantly chased after and run down by roosters they are not going to start laying.
     
  3. DLCShark

    DLCShark Chirping

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    It's 5 hen's total although only 3 are getting chased around the other 2 hens are in a separate cage inside the run hoping to get in the pecking order(I think the rosters had something to do with that as well). I used to be 3 roos and 3 hens but I culled one about 3 weeks back. I'm thinking about moving the roos to a separate area and letting the hens figure out how to live without them. I've been trying to sale them or place them but I may have to cull them and feed them to the dogs(I do have a dog show coming up and that's the best prep meal)
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Yeah I would definitely remove the roo's with that few hens, I always keep at least 10 hens per rooster and even then sometimes a few hens get to much attention from the rooster. My flock is smaller now and I'm keeping my rooster separate since he'd taken to chasing hens and being too rough.
     
  5. DLCShark

    DLCShark Chirping

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    I will do that tonight. Especially since I've re-worked my run area.
     
  6. DLCShark

    DLCShark Chirping

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    So I separated the Roos from the hens and the boys were not happy! Wondering what's to come tomorrow.
     
  7. JessicaThistle

    JessicaThistle Songster

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    I could use some advice similar to this. I have a beautiful Gold Laced Cochin roo that is several weeks younger than my hens. A couple of them are laying and the rest are any day-ers. My roo and Silkies are not housed in the coop as I adopted them later and they are younger. They all free range together daily.

    My roo obviously has a thing for redheads, (except me. He's scared of me). [​IMG] I have a beautiful redheaded Easter Egger that he chases incessantly. He even has his Silkie Roo buddy along side him to help hold her down. He kinda likes my BOs but has no interest in my BRs. Therefore I'm sure he just likes redheads. Anyway, he chases her and tries to mate her nonstop. She never gets a break. He eyeballs her from across the pasture and goes like crazy after her.

    She has laid one egg two days ago, but his chasing her is increasing and she seems to just try to hide as much as possible and hasn't laid another egg. I found her under the porch, wedged between bamboo stems or the base of a bush. She is my favorite and absolutely my sweetest chicken. My daughter and I can pick her up and carry her around and she loves it!

    So yesterday and I went out to check on her, my two roos had her pinned against the chicken wire that surrounds my garden. She was just laying there in submission. I chased them off, picked her up and brought her in the house with me for a little bit. She was exhausted and fell asleep on my lap. When I took her back outside about half hour later, the two roos immediately began the chase again. I caught them both and locked them up for the rest of the night. I really think this is stressing my girls out! They never get a break, especially my little EE. Needless to say he was super upset with me and freaking out the whole time!

    So, is this normal behavior and will he chill out or do I need to take care of the issue and send him to freezer camp? He is beautiful and my daughter would be super sad to see him go, but I want calm and happy hens that lay me a lot of eggs, not a jerk roo that can't control himself and makes my hens not lay due to stress.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    He could be targeting her because you handle her.

    You don't say how old all these birds are, or how many there are...that can make a difference.

    But one thing for sure, 2 roosters set a scene for competition.....remove one, or both, of the roos and things should calm down.
    Or keep both roos confined together but separately from the hens.
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Looking at your signature and your post, it looks like you have 10 pullets and 2 cockerels. You seem to have lots or room, which is a big plus. Even with all that space there can still be problems. I think your two cockerels are the same age.

    With them all being fairly young it’s a lot like a bunch of unsupervised adolescents. Some behave reasonably well but some can go really wild without any restraints. Even with some adult members in the flock and lots of room it can and usually does get rough while they go through adolescences. A lot of it depends on the personalities of the individuals. Even with well-behaved adolescents you can still get some pretty wild behavior. Going from puberty to maturity can be a difficult challenge.

    I’ve also seen an older rooster that seems to target a specific younger pullet that was just getting to point-of-lay. I’m not sure why. I do think competition with another rooster had something to do with it.

    Mating is not just about sex, it’s also about dominance. The one on the bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top either by choice or by force. The one on top is demonstrating and trying to establish his dominance. You sometimes get the same thing with a flock of nothing but hens with the dominant hen mounting another hen but that happens a lot less often than with cockerels. I think a lot of what you are seeing comes down to dominance, not just sex, but there is probably some sex involved too.

    Why does a rooster target one specific hen or pullet? I don’t know. When a pullet gets ready to lay her body shows signs, like her comb should turn red. These signs make her more attractive to a rooster. The cockerel may not meet her requirements for a suitable mate but he’s a lot bigger. She resists his attentions by running away and he tries to force her to accept his dominance but she is not ready to do that. It becomes a power struggle. If a dominant rooster sees a pullet mating with another less-dominant rooster he will sometimes force her as if to say you accept me, not him. Although the pullet is laying she may not be mature enough yet to accept a rooster. It could be something else entirely.

    If they can make it through puberty and adolescence to maturity it will probably calm down tremendously. The cockerel becomes more confident and self-assured and acts like a flock master should. The hens accept his dominance and behave the way they should. It takes both. But until they reach maturity, which could be a few more months, they are going to jockey around and play the dominance game. Most of the time they work it out, especially if you have room, but sometimes chickens die in this struggle to maturity. And some never grow up. Some roosters remain jerks. Some hens never accept the dominance of a rooster no matter how mature either becomes. Each chicken is an individual with their own personality. We can tell you what is likely to happen but no one can tell you for sure what will happen.

    Each flock is different. I keep one mature rooster and 6 to 8 mature hens as my laying/breeding flock but raise about 40 chicks to various stages of maturity every year, until I butcher them or choose them as replacements. I’ve had more problems with fewer cockerels and more pullets than more cockerels and fewer pullets as they go through this stage. I don’t think it has as much to do with hen to rooster ratio as it does with the individual personalities.

    But my advice is to always keep as few roosters as you can and still meet your goals. Not that you are guaranteed to have problems with more roosters, just that you are more likely to have problems. The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs. Everything else is personal preference.

    What are your options? You could permanently remove one or both roosters from you flock. You could carry on as you are and hope they make it through this stage and mature. You could house one or both roosters separate from your pullets until they all mature and then try to integrate them. I would not at this stage get more pullets to raise that magical mystical hen to rooster ratio. Then you’d add integration issues to your maturity issues. Puberty is complicated enough.

    Good luck with it. You will pull through.
     
    2 people like this.
  10. JessicaThistle

    JessicaThistle Songster

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    I handle all of my birds, including him. The 8 pullets are 21 weeks old. The roos and my two white silkies are about 15 weeks old. To be honest, I don't know if the white silkies are male or female yet. I think I either have two girls or a girl and boy. They are so docile and sweet though, that at this point I have no problem with them but protecting them.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to advise me! Also, thank you for noticing my additional info in my signature! I have a little over an acre for these crazy birds to explore.

    I was thinking that it was probably just puberty stuff as they have been free ranging together for some weeks, but I think my roos just got to the age that they realized there was a bunch of hot chicks running around. My husband is going to convert a shed into an area for the Silkies to house, which would put my black silkie roo and two white Silkies in a place of their own. Therefore, I don't have to integrate them as the white ones are just too much at risk. The Cochin roo was raised from chicks with the 3 silkies. At this point, I will most likely house him with them or if he decides to chill out, he may get lucky and get to move in with the big girls. For now I will allow them to free range and if he is just too out of hand, I can lock him up to give the girls a break. If he never stops being a jerk, I raise meat birds and can easily toss him in the plucker and send him to freezer camp along with them.
     

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