Rooster is hurting hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SparrowSong, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. SparrowSong

    SparrowSong Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 1 rooster and 5 hens. This is his second year and he has started hurting one of my hens. She has a large hole poked in the side of her face, near what I think is her ear. I put Neosporin on it, but it looks pretty bad and I'm not sure it will heal on its own. She is also missing feathers on the back of her head, and I noticed him targeting another hen yesterday.

    I bought this rooster especially for his breed- he's a Wellsummer and I hoped to have him father chicks for eating.

    He is our third rooster and the first one to act like this. Is there anything I can do besides eat him?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

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    How is he hurting the hens? If he's cornering the hen and pecking at her repeatedly, he is no good as a breeder and would recommend culling him.

    If he's hurting by breeding them too often, could be 5 hens is not enough for him. It kind of sounds like he has an issue with favoring hens. Some roosters will just pick one or a few specific hens and breed them so often while almost ignoring others. Not sure how that can be stopped.. they can be helped by chicken aprons.
     
  3. SparrowSong

    SparrowSong Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sure he is the one responsible for the hole in the side of her head, and yesterday I saw him chase another hen for at least 10 minutes. She had a heck of a time getting away from him.

    If he is the one pecking her, is that a death sentence for him? Will he do it to the others? I hate to invite him to dinner, but can't have him hurting the ladies like that. A few missing feathers can be dealt with, but I don't know if this hole in her head will heal.
     
  4. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    A rooster that 'chases' hens is not a good candidate for a flock master, or for creating another generation of chicks, either. Chances are, his son's will be monsters, too. And his hens will also carry the monster genes.

    I would invite him to dinner........ And he won't be needing any silver ware, either!
     
  5. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

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    It's the 'how' that matters. If it was pure aggression, more like how a roo would be chasing and beating up another rooster that is completely unacceptable and IMO should be culled as in killed. Immediately and would not try for chicks from this.

    If it was from chasing her to shag her over and over and over again.. that is a little different and I suppose up to personal preference. But if the hen is afraid and wants to stay far away even hide all day that is unacceptable.

    from what you say above, it seems to be his thing to be extremely rough on hens- is he targeting one hen at a time basically and then moving on to another hen on another day? I have never seen such behavior and would have culled him. Something is wrong with him.

    edited to add, one solution you may consider if you really would like to get chicks is to collect and incubate eggs right now then cull him or separate him from the hens until you can start collecting eggs.. put him in either until he see he has bred hens or leave him with a day but keep an eye in case his aggressive behavior escalates.

    But I would rather get another roo that meets the goals without that strange behavior if possible, as behaviors can be genetic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
  6. SparrowSong

    SparrowSong Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your replies. I do know he mates this one hurt chicken a lot, but he also mates the others; this one is just hurt and I think he did it. She doesn't try to stay away from him, though, and he's a good protector when they're free ranging- I see him staring at the sky for predators when the ladies are dust bathing and such.

    To clarify, the reason we were wanting chicks is for the freezer only, not to carry on any genes. I just don't know if I should keep him around. I guess I should spend more time watching his behavior to decide. The hurt hen is the most docile so it's hard to see her bleeding.

    So it's NOT ok for a roo to chase a hen? I really don't know what's acceptable and what's not... learning as I go. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
     
  7. torilovessmiles

    torilovessmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Personally, I wouldn't keep a rooster that chased and hurt my hens. Its so easy to find another one, it's not worth the time or effort to try and keep him. The worst my girls get is little scratches on their combs sometimes, they've never had to hide or run from him, and if they did, he'd be soup.
    I guess chasing a few feet before the hen submits is okay, especially in young birds, but for several minutes? Nah, I'd just get a new roo.
    If you would like a dual purpose or meat bird, have you thought about Plymouth rocks? They're pretty meaty!
     
  8. SparrowSong

    SparrowSong Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. It helps to know what is normal/acceptable and what isn't. If we end up eating him, I thought about getting a Buff Orpington rooster. I've heard they are more docile; however I don't want the hens to pick on him, LOL.
    Do Plymouth Rocks generally make good protectors for their flock? And would it be better to get a baby and raise it, or start with an adult?
     
  9. torilovessmiles

    torilovessmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I believe they are pretty average for protection. Not as good as gamefowl (by that I mean 'fighting breeds'') but not poor. Though it does depend on the rooster's personality as well. Some never do more than three pecks before looking up at the sky and some keep their heads to the ground, gobbling up food like a little puppy dog. Keep in mind that a rooster's main purpose is not to kill anything that passes by, but to call the alarm for his girls to hide, and attack if need be. Some roosters are better than others but most will do this. Vigilance is preferred over aggression, when it comes to protection.
    Orpingtons are generally very docile, but I don't think you'll have too much trouble with the hens picking on him, especially if you get an older one. Roosters generally eventually take the place over the lead hen. It's in their nature that the male leads the flock.
    Whether you get an adult or a baby is your decision, both have pros and cons. When introducing any bird, you need to quarantine for an absolute minimum of 10-14 days. With chicks, they usually stay inside, in a brooder, but adults take up more space. When buying an adult, you get to see the individual bird's personality before you buy (most of the time) so you may have a better idea of what you're getting. With a chick, you can make sure it is raised around people and socialized, but their natural personality is completely unknown. Older hens will also often teach young cockerels what is proper mating behavior by putting him in his place when he tries to chase them or mate too roughly. When he gets old enough to take his place as lead, he should know what to do.
    Good luck :)
     
  10. torilovessmiles

    torilovessmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

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