Rooster-Stay or Go?

lynempey

In the Brooder
Jul 6, 2016
2
2
32
First time on the forum but I need some advice! I have 6 hens, all different breeds but all cold hardy good egg layers that are 3 years old. I raised them from chicks, and initially did not have a rooster as we lived in town. Last year, we moved out into the country, and we obtained a rooster for protection. He was probably 6-9 months old when we got him. He won't come up to me and eat out of my hand like my hens will, but he is not aggressive towards humans or our dogs. However, he is extremely hard on 2 of my hens. They have bare backs, red skin and sores. I bought a saddle for my Cuckoo Maran as she was also picking at herself and making it worse. I have a saddle coming for my Light Brahma who I noticed had a wound near her left wing. I sprayed her with blue kote and it looks better. I find her and the Buff Orphington roosting in the coop during the day, and I think they are trying to avoid the rooster. We have a large fenced in area for them to roam during the day, and they are eating and seem fine. I have 2 or 3 hens that have no feather damage, and I don't see him breeding them hardly at all, so I think he focuses more on the other hens. I don't let them free range, but I could. I would prefer not to free range as I have a new puppy who likes to chase them.

So I realize all of this is normal, but with the fall molt and winter right around the corner in WI, I am worried about the feather loss. The saddle on my Maran helps, but I don't think it is enough. I don't have a great place to separate the rooster as I only have the one coop. Any ideas? I am getting close to getting rid of the rooster as my hens seemed happier without him. I will try to find him a home, but I am not sure I can. I have no interest in eating him, and have never killed a chicken myself. Ironically, I am a vet but I do dogs and cats not chickens. Will this behavior improve as he gets older and his hormones are more under control? Will free ranging help? Any suggestions? Help!!
 

Rietta

Songster
Jan 3, 2019
201
490
137
East Texas
In my experience with roosters.. and I have one and just culled 2... they don't get calmer. However his hormones may settle a bit and the mating may settle down. If the hens are displeased I would go ahead and move him on.. unhappy hens are not good. Since you are a vet can you euthanize him? We use a ax and a log and cover the eyes (not pretty but gets the job done ) A rooster at that age (6-9) is IMO not worth eating either. There are many people willing to take a free rooster, however I NEVER give them away because of the prevalence of cock fighting in Texas, I would rather it die than be put through that horror. Best of luck on whatever you decide.
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
3,456
6,393
602
Idaho
It's hard to tell when they start to mature, I put mine in chicken jail if they are being to rough with the hens and they usually start to calm down faster as they aren't allowed with the hens if they are hurting them that bad, The hormones have to level out before you can really tell anything, this at least gives them a chance and your hens a much needed break from young cockerels. Also starts showing him whose boss if he needs some attitude adjusting.
If he needs to be dispatched, best way I found was put em on the ground, until they calm then use a quick slice, less traumatic on everyone including us as they aren't jumping around.
 

lynempey

In the Brooder
Jul 6, 2016
2
2
32
It's hard to tell when they start to mature, I put mine in chicken jail if they are being to rough with the hens and they usually start to calm down faster as they aren't allowed with the hens if they are hurting them that bad, The hormones have to level out before you can really tell anything, this at least gives them a chance and your hens a much needed break from young cockerels. Also starts showing him whose boss if he needs some attitude adjusting.
If he needs to be dispatched, best way I found was put em on the ground, until they calm then use a quick slice, less traumatic on everyone including us as they aren't jumping around.

Tell me what your chicken jail looks like? I only have one coop with an enclosed fenced run, so I am not sure how to separate him. I could keep him outside the coop and he could free range but he would have no place to roost at night. I don't really want to invest in another coop or fence set up as I am not sure he will be staying in the long run....
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
3,456
6,393
602
Idaho
Tell me what your chicken jail looks like? I only have one coop with an enclosed fenced run, so I am not sure how to separate him. I could keep him outside the coop and he could free range but he would have no place to roost at night. I don't really want to invest in another coop or fence set up as I am not sure he will be staying in the long run....
can be a pet or wire kennel, or made outta chicken wire in a circle and cover over top so he can't get out. I set it right in the middle of the flock and move it in when it's roost time but he stays down in the jail. he gets food and water in there, first time he goes in for the day, if he continues he goes in for 3 days or until he settles down. gives your flock a break and they still see each other he just can't cause trouble .
 

Folly's place

Enabler
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,487
39,322
1,106
southern Michigan
Welcome!
He is being an adolescent jerk, and doesn't have an adult rooster to manage him better. IMO he's 'over the top' and needs to feed a family somewhere. I wonder if you got him over behavioral issues at his previous home?!
My roosters and cockerels need to be polite to me, and not cause injuries to either the hens or the pullets. Any that are human aggressive, or hurting their flockmates, aren't useful, cause stress for everyone, and need to be gone.
Your hens can't deal with him, not good.
There are lovely cockerels and roosters out there, and he's not one of them.
If you don't want him to be dinner, take him to work; you can facemask him down and then give an injection; fast and painless.
Two issues here with your flock: biosecurity!!! and consider raising some straight run chicks in spring, and find a nice cockerel that way.
No birds come here, except chicks from safe hatcheries, or (only twice!) from carefully selected breeder's incubators. Don't bring in Marek's disease, or Mycoplasma, and loose your flock.
I have two adult roosters and four cockerels right now, with almost thirty hens and pullets, and things are going well. If any of the cockerels decide to be difficult, they will be gone.
Always decide for the good of the whole flock!
Mary
 

Folly's place

Enabler
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,487
39,322
1,106
southern Michigan
I missed that. He's still a jerk, injuring hens, and they are senior in age.
Some birds have poor feather quality, and will be bald sooner than birds with more 'normal'
feathering, but he still shouldn't be causing actual injuries.
Mary
 
Last edited:

Henhaven2090

In the Brooder
Sep 5, 2019
27
19
39
I would be rid of him. I also had roosters who were being too rough even with a senior rooster to boss them around. So off they went hens are much happier!
 

MANNA-PRO

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