Rooster is picking at hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cavendish Chickens, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. Cavendish Chickens

    Cavendish Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2010
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    Okay, at first it started off with what seemed like an aggressive chase around the pen and cool until the girls would fly up where he couldn't get at them. I questioned that and was told it was because he was horny. Now it's turned into picking. Not a flirty picking. More of a "This is my space! Get out of here!" He bites and pulls at the feathers of the girls until they go where he can't get after them. Why would a rooster act like that toward hens? He will be 6 months on the 21st, and they will be 5 months on the 12th. They aren't laying yet. They are still smaller and thinner. The brown one has a bigger comb than the white one, and it is starting to tip over at the top. Not really red. Maybe a pale red - pinkish. It's only just started to tip. And she's the smallest of the three. The roo is the biggest. Here's a pic of them (from before the tip started ... tipping). (Again, it's only the tip of the comb starting to tip over.) But my question is... why is he being mean to them rather than trying to be... Oh baby! with them?

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  2. SycolinWoodsChickens

    SycolinWoodsChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 3, 2010
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    He's young and doesn't know how to treat his ladies right. If he keeps that up I'd give him a time out and then see if his attitude changes when you put him back in.

    He may also just me a mean jerk and then I'd get rid of him. I'd give him a little more time to see if he settles down.

    My roo was picking on his girls for about a month. I think he was trying to establish his dominance over the flock. He's better with them now (he's 30 weeks old now).
     
  3. Cavendish Chickens

    Cavendish Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2010
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    How would I go about giving him a time out? The only thing I have is a cage I could put him in, and I would keep it inside the run so he can stay warm. So if I did that, how long would you suggest I keep him in there so he can't get after the girls? I'd hate to get rid of him. I hand raised him since he hatched. I was the one taking care of the incubation feeding, etc. And let's not forget to mention holding him because he never wanted put down. lol (That's changed quite a bit! lol)
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    The idea is to remove them for several days to a week, then when you put them back they are at the bottom of the pecking order. I don't know how well this would work with him in a cage still in with the others. I don't really think it would work that well with a roo who does not know how to treat his girls, either. Bottom line is, IMO, there are good roos and bad roos, and shades in between. I'm not sure separating him would change him anyway. Some roos are very gentle and caring with their hens, not eating the treats, directing the hens towards them -- and others will peck the hen away from the treats then eat them himself. Some mate gently and some tear up the hens badly. And so forth. (Although even a good roo can cut the hen's side with his spurs.) In the end most of us wind up choosing which one you want to keep and breed, and the rest go to the stew pot or auction. That or building a bachelor pen and making him live a solitary life.
     
  5. Cavendish Chickens

    Cavendish Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2010
    Summit County, Ohio
    He does direct them to the treats, and even let's them eat first before joining them. He clucks a certain way to call them over and pecks at the food to show it to them. Then they eat it, and he'll join in. So, in that way, he's a good roo. It just doesn't make sense that he would pick at them. They spend a lot of time together, side by side, yet off and on he has a mood swing and decides it's his space and he doesn't want them near. Is there a such thing as a bipolar chicken? lol
     
  6. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are processing one tomorrow who terrorizes the girls, chases them away while he hogs the food, and keeps them inside the coop. I was going to keep him and process his buddy, but I am tired of seeing him go after the girls. His buddy is more mellow so he gets to be the survivor!
     

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