Rooster picking on hen? HELP

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SemiQ, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. SemiQ

    SemiQ Songster

    Aug 20, 2018
    Victoria, Australia
    I'm asking for a family member that came to me with this question.
    Her rooster is chasing one of the hens and not allowing her to eat or drink. I
    thought that maybe he was chasing to mate but the fact that hes not allowing her to eat or drink is weird. She's also checked her for mites, diseases or any irregularly things, nothing has been changed either. No of the other hens pick on her, in fact she was quite high in the pecking order.
    Does anyone know the cause? Or how she can prevent this?
    I told her to separate the hen so she doesn't die of malnutrition or dehydration.
    ButtonquailGirl14 likes this.
  2. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    If the rooster isn't actually harming the hen then I wouldn't separate her from the flock; it will just stress her out even more. If there are doubts about the hen getting enough to eat then feed her by hand or stand guard while she eats.
    Without a lot more detail about the set up it's very difficult to guess what's going on.
    Far easier to tell your friend to join BYC, that way she can provide any necessary information and get first hand advice.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I'd isolate the male.

    Ditto Dat^^^
    Chickem707, SemiQ and keesmom like this.
  4. SemiQ

    SemiQ Songster

    Aug 20, 2018
    Victoria, Australia
    Thanks very much you've been a great help! I'll definitely ask her to join BYC! She told me the hens quite stressed in the pen, it's just very odd since he wasn't acting like this before.
    Brahmachicken240 likes this.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    How old are they and how long has this been going on? I had a somewhat similar situation with an immature cockerel in a flock with some adult hens and no adult male. The dominant hen was in charge of the flock until the cockerel matured enough to take over. The hen did not accept his dominance so, for two days, he would attack her out of the blue, and keep her away from the rest of the flock. When he attacked he was not trying to mate her, he went for her head. He never drew blood but he was pretty vicious. After two days of this she accepted his authority and they became best buddies. Keeping them away from food and water is a typical tactic to establish dominance.

    I don't know if your friend's situation is anywhere close to this, it could be something totally different. I don't know how much room they have. Close quarters brings out the worst behaviors and limits what you can do to handle situations. If your friend has room I'd feed and water in widely separated places. That might be food and water stations in the coop and one or two more in the run. That way she won't starve. As long as she is not getting physically injured (no blood mainly) I'd try to leave them alone and see if they can work it out. Knowing ages and how long it has been would help some, but if I felt I needed to separate them I'd probably separate the hen for a while. If it is a cockerel give him a chance to grow up a bit more and knock her down in the pecking order a bit so she is more willing to accept his dominance. That also gives your friend a chance to see how he behaves with her gone. If he starts attacking another female then he is the problem. If he doesn't she may be the problem. I try to make these decisions based on what is good for the overall flock, not any one individual.

    What is your friend's goals for that male with the flock? The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs. Anything else is personal preference. Nothing wrong with personal preference, that can be a strong motivator. I recommend that people keep as few males as they can and still meet their goals. That's not because you are guaranteed problems with more male, just that problems are more likely. For some people the best number of males is zero.
    SemiQ likes this.
  6. SemiQ

    SemiQ Songster

    Aug 20, 2018
    Victoria, Australia
    Thank you very much for the information.
    From what it sounds like, it a dominance thing. Though it's strange it's only happening now because when they got the rooster he was crowing long before they got him and this is about half a year later. Then again, he wasn't the top cockerel before they came and got him.;)

    She wants him for fertile eggs AND because he looks nice, I'll make sure to tell her the information you gave me.:)

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