Rooster Help - Attacking Hen

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Ariel90, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. Ariel90

    Ariel90 New Egg

    Feb 9, 2016
    I am having an issue with my now 5 month rooster attacking my other hen. And I mean attacking he isn't trying to mount her, he tries with the other one, but this hen wanted nothing to do with him. I have my two older girls who are a little over 2 years old now (I used to have 4 of the older girls but two have since passed). I 5 months ago got 4 more new baby chicks... One ended up being a roo. The girls and roo have been hanging around each other for a few months now. My alpha female when I introduced the new chickens to them, always bullied my roo. She has just been kind of a bully period, she would purposely go out of her way sometimes from across the yard walk to where the little girls were hanging out and pull at one of their feathers if she could.she has gotten better as the little girls got older. But my roo would always avoid her. Until a few days ago, when his hormones kicked in. He became a little more aggressive with my Rhode Island hen when wanting to mount her, she now just runs from him, but my other female who used to pick on him stepped up to him like she usually does, this time he didn't run away, their neck feathers flared and they full out started fighting. My hen immediately knew she was not going to win this anymore, and ran from him, he proceeded to chase and attack her so I had to step in and I grabbed him. After the day went on he calmed down. The next day, it happened again. He went after her and attacked her again. Ripped out feathers, cut her face. Now she is terrified of him. They both then started to make weird noises at each other when they were too close, or when he got too close because she now hides under the nest box, but it seems now when he sees her it seems all he wants to do is attack her. He isn't doing this to the other girls, just her. I since have kept them separate when I am not outside with them. He isn't aggressive with me at all right now either. Has anyone had this issue with their rooster and has anyone been successful with his behavior stopping with whatever they tried?
  2. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you really need/want a roo?

    I would answer that question and go from there.

    Good luck

    And btw, I am new here I have no idea, I just know I would not want the drama.

    Gary from Idyllwild ca here
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    My pullets also would beat up the cockerels when they tried to mount. 1 girl would face of with and whoop 2 of them at the same time.

    If you want to keep him, and I wouldn't since he wasn't intentional, then I would put him in a pen by himself in a look but don't touch situation until he matures into a gentleman.

    He will go on like this for several months to come. And my cockerels are always meaner to the girls who won't give it up which is always the ones who were able to fight of his advances. Won't let them get past on roost without pecking them down and pecks her down every time she comes near him. The ones who do give it up aren't usually willing parties either when they are young, but have no choice as the boy will relentlessly pursue them. And the boys somehow seem to be faster and stronger.

    I would get rid of him unless you have plans for all the boy chicks you will be hatching out. Though I guess you can avoid that by collecting eggs every day....
  4. Ariel90

    Ariel90 New Egg

    Feb 9, 2016

    I didn't intend to have a rooster, but I fell in love with him, so if I can keep him I would like to know successful ways, if any, of changing his behavior. If I have to I will give him away. But if there is a way, or any ways, I will try those before I have to make that decision.
  5. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Best of luck to you and your roo!

    I have no chicks until spring, I ordered females but I have already warned my daughters we cannot keep a rooster, chicken math (for us) will have to include subtraction. My oldest daughter has already named her yet to hatch Americauna fluffy, I really hope no sexing mistakes with that one. My youngest is naming one Rosemary and another Kung Pau, I think she will be ok with subtraction...

    Gary from Idyllwild Ca here
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Does he act friendly to you? If so, that is a problem.

    You will want to make sure you walk through his path and he must step out of the way. Even chase him a little. This will teach him to respect your space and you will have less chance of him flogging you in the future.

    Look but don't touch is my best suggestion to keep him with the flock.

    BTW, I'm against feeding roosters or cockerels layer feed. The 16% protein is too low which can create feather picking and cannibalism and the 4% calcium is too high which can create kidney issues long term. I go with a flock raiser for my mixed age and gender flock that has 20% protein and 1% calcium and provide OS on the side for layers. Even a grower or unmedicated starter would be good, if it has more protein. Many people do feed their boys layer with no problem.... but I know the truth and ain't willing to do that. [​IMG]
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’ve been in a similar situation, though my cockerel was 7 months old before he stood up to the head hen. Different chickens mature at different rates and each chicken has its own unique personality. That difference in personality of yours to mine, hen and cockerel, will be key to your success.

    What you are seeing is a battle for flock dominance. The hen had it but the cockerel matured to the point he was able to stand up to her and take it. That often happens in a flock with mature hens but no mature rooster. Sometimes that transition in power goes pretty smoothly, sometimes it gets messy.

    I’ve been through this a few times and only once did I see this type of behavior. Most of the time the mature hen recognized the cockerel’s dominance and the transition went really well. The other time the hen did not accept the cockerel’s dominance so they fought. As with yours, the hen quickly realized her mistake and ran away.

    For about two days the hen would not accept the cockerel’s dominance. She would not try to fight him but she ran away instead of squatting. He would chase her and try to force her. Out of the blue he’d run toward her and viciously peck her, usually trying for the head. For two days it was pretty rough down there but he never injured her so I let it go. After two days she fully accepted his dominance and they became best buddies.

    Will your hen ever submit? If she does, will he recognize it? I don’t know. With living animals you never know. What I’d suggest is that you lock one of them up for a week or so, personally I’d isolate the hen and then try again. Isolating her from the flock messes up the pecking order that has her on top. Hopefully when she is let back out, she will accept his dominance and he will accept her surrender.

    You may be forced into a decision between him and her, but a lot of times they do work this kind of stuff out. Good luck!
  8. Ariel90

    Ariel90 New Egg

    Feb 9, 2016

    He definitely steps out of my way when I walk in his path. I've been nice to him since day one, but also shown I am not one to accept any bad behavior towards me. And he so far has not shown any behavior towards me that shows he intends to be aggressive.
    I will try the separation method. He just gets a little nuts when he is not with the girls and tries getting through the chicken wire barrier. Which is annoying, but maybe he will calm down after realizing that is going to be what it is for now.
    Never thought about the food protein part. Makes sense though, maybe I can try that as well :)
  9. Ariel90

    Ariel90 New Egg

    Feb 9, 2016

    Thank you for the positivity! :) I am being hopefu and taking any suggestions I can find. Most post I have seen people immediately want to resort to slaughtering the rooster. I would give him away, but I don't want to do that either if this can work out.
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri

    We, as a society of backyard poultry keepers, have lost some of the common sense that goes with rooster keeping. And some of the hatchery sourced birds may be inclined to be a little aggressive as that may help fertilize eggs but does not help with interactions with humans.

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