Rooster suddenly injuring hens. Could he be happy by himself?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tinypaws109, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. tinypaws109

    tinypaws109 New Egg

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    High everyone. :) Last year, when we thought we had all hens, we took in an adult rooster named Foghorn. He was very gentle with the girls and even when another hen turned out to be a rooster, he treated the juvenile rooster named Elizabeth, kindly for a long while.

    When things started to get a bit dicey, we moved Elizabeth to another pen and yard and bought him 3 hens. He takes very good care of the hens, but hates me. That's not my concern however.

    About a month ago, Foghorn, really hurt one of the hens, Coretta. He ripped a big gash in her side, so we took her out, isolated her and treated her injuries. We removed his hard spur covering with the potato method. Coretta rejoined the flock about a month later. Since Foghorn injured her, he has really taken a toll on the other hens. He's very aggressive (even for a rooster) and hurts all of them. We were able to get chicken saddles on to help, but damage is still being done. The hens are not getting to eat properly and are hiding.

    The only solution we can figure out (besides making him supper), is to bring Elizabeth and his girls to Foghorn's yard and move Foghorn by himself to Elizabeth's yard since it is smaller. We have tried to find someone to adopt him, but he is a mix, and no one wants him especially since he's hurting the girls.

    Would he be happy in the smaller pen by himself? If so, how could we acclimate Elizabeth and his hens to the hens in the larger pen safely? I know its not supposed to be a quick introduction, so perhaps I could put Foghorn in the isolation pen while we slowly do the introductions? Any suggestions??

    Thanks!


    JC
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    My first question is how many hens do you have? You should have ten hens per rooster or you can experience the roosters running the hens ragged like you've experience. You may be able to solve this with more hens. If that's not an option or something you want to do, then you could put him in the other pen.

    He probably won' t be happy on his own, but if you want to put another rooster with him and just keep them as a bachelor pair, that would be fine. With no hens to fight over they should get along fairly peacefully and that way he'd still have a friend to be with.
     
  3. tinypaws109

    tinypaws109 New Egg

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    We have 4 hens in Foghorns pen and 3 for Elizabeth. We hadn't intended to have a rooster at all, but felt bad for Foghorn because our friend said he was getting the crap beat out of him by another rooster. Then Elizabeth turned out to be a rooster, of course.

    What if we put Elizabeth and Foghorn together and all the hens in the upper pen (Foghorn's original pen)? Wouldn't the roosters fight? The square footage is only about 215 sq ft in the smaller pen.

    I want Foghorn to be happy. He was a free range chicken when he lived with his former owner to keep him away from the rooster who was bullying him. I wish we could let him free range here, but that's out of the question.
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    That would work too, 215 sq feet is plenty for two birds. They're gonna squabble and might have a quick fight to figure out their pecking order, but that should be it. One should back down and let the other be in charge, and with no girls to fight over life should be fairly peaceful for them after that. Just watch when you do the introduction and make sure there's no serious fighting and injuries. Probably best to try introducing them with the "see but don't touch" method, and make sure the hens are already moved out and out of sight to reduce the likelihood of a serious fight.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    If he's aggressive to the point where the hens are actively hiding from him, he needs to be moved ASAP. I would put him in the smaller coop by himself and put the (marginally?) nicer rooster in with all the hens. I don't do long drawn out integration, and really I've never had birds injure each other. Yep, there's drama for a little bit, but if everyone has enough space, they're all of an age and it's not just one lone bird vs a group, things seem to work out well.

    As to the fate of Foghorn, that's up to you. Personally, I don't see the point in keeping a bird like that. He's not going to be very happy living on his own, but it's not going to kill him. I'm not sure I'd sentence the other rooster to a life of celibacy just cause Foghorn needs a friend, that seems like punishing the innocent. But, you state the other rooster hates you, are you going to be able to enjoy your hens with him as your main flock rooster? Something to think about.

    From what you're saying, my advice would be to get rid of both roosters and enjoy your hens. I know you say you want Foghorn to be happy, and it sounds like he has been with you. There are worse things than a good, happy life and one really bad day.
     
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  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I agree with donrae. Fire them both.
     

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