Rooster Singling Out One Hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickenboots, May 23, 2011.

  1. chickenboots

    chickenboots Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 18, 2010
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    I have 1 roo and 5 hens. This group has been together for 2 years with no problems. They are in a 4 x 8 coop with a 8 x 20 run attached. We let them out during the day almost every day. I noticed yesterday while I was outside with them, my roo attacking one particular hen. This is not mating behavior. He is standing in front of her pecking only her head, and spuring her. I had a hard time separating them yesterday and I think he pecked out her eye. I didn't want to mess with it too much but at the very least she can't open the eye. I put her in the coop by herself and he just paces the perimeter of the coop still trying to get at her. The other hens are not picking on her and she is so scared she won't even move. She just hides her head in a corner. I made him sleep outside the coop last night so he couldn't get to her. I tried again today and he still is trying to get at her. He will not attack her while I am carrying her but he follows me waiting for me to put her down. He is usually a little rough while mating but nothing drastic. For the most part he is a great roo. He is not aggressive to me, my husband, or our 5 year old daughter, but he does protect them well. I am not sure what to do with him. We really like him but I can't have him killing my hens either. Plus if I do re-home him or have soup for dinner, I may end up with a worse problem with a new rooster. My plan right now is to keep her separate, maybe with a friend, until she heals. Then I suppose I'll try again. Does this sound reasonable? Does anyone have any other suggestions?
     
  2. Silkie Sue

    Silkie Sue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 23, 2007
    Sarnia, Ontario
    wow, that is odd.... especially if he has other hens that he is still being nice to....
    how is she feeling today?
    i would definitly keep her away from him and if she can have a buddy while she heals that would be great...
    i've never had that happen before and i guess i would have to get rid of one or the other....
    probably him [​IMG]
    hope it works out [​IMG]
     
  3. huntinwidow

    huntinwidow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2009
    Warrior Alabama
    My Coop
    I have 9 hens and 2 roosters. One of my hens is older and I noticed last year both roosters began picking on her. Soon the hens were picking on her as well although not as harshly as the roosters. I attritubuted it to her age and pecking order. I tried to let her out of the run to freerange thinking It would be better for her to meet a "natural" demise rather than have the roosters kill her. She refused to stay out.
    I don't know if it is the same with your hen or not but the abuse has gotten better. She still stays hidden and wary of the others but if I pen her seperately from the others she worries herself to death until I let her in with the others. I don't know what else to do with her so I decided to let nature take it's course.
    [​IMG] Not much help I know.
     
  4. chickenboots

    chickenboots Out Of The Brooder

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    Well 4 of my hens, incl. her, are from the same clutch (at least that is what I was told when I bought them). She was neither at the top nor the bottom of the pecking order with the hens. I'm really not even sure if she is going to make it. I don't really know what to do as far as doctoring on her up. I guess that part is just wait and see. I hate that I let her get that bad, but I didn't realize it was a single hen he was picking on until later in the day. I hate to get rid of either of them. Our hens are all really friendly and allow even my 5 year old to pick them up (the eggs are an added benefit too). On the other hand he is a good protector and keeps my dog and my cat from chasing my hens when they are outside together. Plus we have lots of hawks around here and we have not lost a hen to a hawk since we have had him despite the fact that they are free roaming until dark almost every day.
     
  5. colebarnhart

    colebarnhart Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sounds like she might owe him some money and he's just trying to keep her in check, lol [​IMG]
     
  6. chickenboots

    chickenboots Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 18, 2010
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    She is feeling better today. She seems to be bringing it on herself with her behavior today. I'm not sure if it is out of fear or her testing his dominance. I didn't notice it yesterday. When she sees him she will crouch down, puff up, bow her wings out, and start short fast clucking. As soon as he comes near her she will run and try to hide, then lay down and submit when he gets near her. I don't know if she is just so scared she's confused or a glutton for punishment.
     
  7. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    Quote:What you just described sounds like broody behavior.
     
  8. chickenboots

    chickenboots Out Of The Brooder

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    That is what I thought too, but I have not seen her trying to sit on any eggs. She does this when I go to pick her up also like she is guarding eggs but she is not sitting on any. She is not even in their favorite nest box while doing it. Could this be causing my roo to attack her? I really don't want to have to get rid of either of them, but I don't know what to do with them.
     

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