Rooster is tearing apart my hens

silkielover88

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
270
14
93
Addison NY
My rooster is in with 15 hens, he is constantly breeding them, I have never had a more sex driven rooster. But my hens backs are featherless in places and now he's grabbing on there heads and pulling feathers. I want to take him out but have to have him in to fertilize the eggs ( I have someone who wants auracauna chick) is there any way I can clip his spurs? Or file them down without hurting him? Or any other ideas? I have tried the vasaline on the heads so he can't get a hold of them and it works for about a day.
 

silkielover88

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
270
14
93
Addison NY
Where do I find them? And how much are they usually? I have thought about putting him and the auarcaunna hen in a separate coop bc I really only need fertile eggs from her. He gets taken away from all hens in the summer anyways. It's just easier to keep them all together in winter so I can make sure they all have water and food.
 

Tuhmu

Songster
7 Years
May 22, 2012
1,460
168
212
North Dakota
I have the same situation. I need my roosters to send out some fertile eggs and to top it off some of them appear to be molting too. So I have some very sorry looking hens. I think I may also have 3-4 roosters to many which definetly isn't helping matters.
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,485
12,961
707
Southeast Louisiana
May I ask how old he is, for a couple of reasons? How old are the hens too? It’s possible he is just an adolescent. Those are often driven by hormones and have no self-control. Adolescents often have really poor technique too. Sometimes pullets have not matured enough to perform their part of the mating ritual right either. While some hens may squat for anything in spurs, many hens, especially mature hens, require certain behaviors from a rooster before they willingly grant him privileges. Those behaviors normally come with maturity. His age may be part of the problem.

Now, can you please do me a favor? Grab that rooster and look at his foot and leg. Look at the number, size, and sharpness of his spurs. Then look at the number, size, and sharpness of his claws. Then think back. When he is mating, is he standing on his spurs or his claws? Especially with an adolescent rooster, are you sure the spurs are causing the problem?

When they mate, the head grab is an essential part of the mating ritual. Not only does it help him keep his balance and get him oriented properly to hit the target, it is absolutely essential as the signal for the hen to raise her tail out of the way to expose the target. Without the head grab, there is no fertility.

Is it all your hens with that bareback problem or just a few? Occasionally the rooster’s technique is so bad it can cause a barebacked problem, but I’ve found with mine it is usually just a few hens with a serious problem. Losing an occasional feather during mating isn’t a big deal. It’s when a hen’s back gets so bare that the rooster can cut the hen that it becomes a problem and you need to do something. Some hens have a genetic problem that causes brittle feathers. Even if the rooster is using good technique, those feathers are so brittle they break off. That can be a serious problem.

Many different people on here will tell you different techniques for removing a roosters spurs. I’ve worked on a couple of my rooster’s feet and legs, trimming both the spurs and the toenails. I wrap the rooster in a towel to keep his wings contained and use a Dremel tool with one of those discs you use to cut metal to take the sharp point off. The spurs and the toenails are a lot like yours. There is a quick in there that if you cut it, it will bleed. The rooster might flinch when you cut it too. It’s a good idea to have some flour handy to staunch the blood if you cut too deep. But if you just cut the sharp point off and don’t get too ambitious, you probably won’t see any blood. All I’m trying to do is blunt the toenails and while I have him and the Dremel tool, I blunt the spurs too. When I finish, I just put him back in the run. He immediately does what most roosters will do when he is put back with the flock after a short absence, he mates with a hen to show he is still the boss.

For the hens with a really bare back, you might want to make a chicken saddle. Some people on this forum will make one for you and sell it to you, but I’ll include a link to a pattern.

Chicken Saddle Patterns
https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=407575

If it is due to the immaturity of the chickens involved, it will eventually get better, but you might need to take action now. It can be a serious problem. Good luck!
 

silkielover88

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
270
14
93
Addison NY
The rooster is 2 years old, and we have a range of hens from a year old to 3 years, the younger ones do have the bare backs but so do our 2 year olds. The hen I want him to breed with is the oldest. So far they only have 1 successful hatch. But I checked them all over last night and they aren't cut up anywhere.
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,485
12,961
707
Southeast Louisiana
A rooster that old with that many hens having the problem is probably the problem. I'd give serious thought to replacing him if you can. I understand you have a breeding program but there are too many good ones out there to put up with a bad one. Some of the tendencies to cause those kinds of problems are hereditary. I would not replace him with one of his sons.

Something else I'd suggest. Check for mites and lice. Roost mites only come out at night, so go out in the dark with a good flashlight and check the vent area. They will run from the light but you should be able to see them scurrying away.

Good luck!
 
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