In the Brooder
Oct 19, 2017
Southern Michigan
Has anyone else had sudden, and violent pecking of all hens from one rooster? We have one barnevelder rooster, 1 barnvelder hen, and 3 naked neck hens. This is the second winter in southeast Michigan with them since they were chicks. As of a couple days ago, when the temperatures have hit there lowest, Rooster has been violently attacking all 4 hens. It's normal for a Rooster to peck at the hen he is mating with, but this is different, we've seen it happen and there are feathers everywhere. Only 2 days and all the hens look more naked than the naked necks. Thinking Rooster's testosterone levels are out of whack, or his diet. And diet because I read about strange behavior maybe related to a lack of protein. For the past 3-4month, a new care giver has been feeding the chickens cooked rice and bread, along with chicken feed. I feel this might have something to do with Rooster's behavior. Or it's something else. Any related experiences out there?


Free Ranging
Nov 26, 2017
Southwest Idaho
Bread is absolute crap in terms of nutrition.
I would only give it occasionally and give very little.
I honestly don’t think rice is much better.
They need their feed more than anything.
It has all the nutrients they need.
I would give them a 20% flock Raiser feed or starter grower feed with oyster shell free choice in a separate dish for the girls.
If you give treats be sure it’s no more than 10% of their diet.
I like to give mine protein treats like tuna, sardines, meat scraps, tiny shrimp, cottage cheese or shredded cheese, scrambled or hard boiled egg, etc.
Another good choice, especially if grass is unavailable to them due to snow or confinement, are greens.
Be sure the caregiver follows your instructions in terms of how to feed them and how much.


Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
Western Ohio
Agree that lack of protein is the possible problem. Great suggestion above for adding protein. Another is to use a much higher protein feed, fed as a “treat”. Game bird feed and turkey starter (non-medicated) can be as high as 28% protein. My chickens think wet feed is amazing! I put dry feed in a container, add water, let sit for 10 min, stir and add more water if needed (till it’s like thick pancake batter), and give it to them -they love it.

Since their nutrition may have been compromised over the time of the new caregiver, I would personally be inclined to feed poultry based food that is formulated for them (vits/mins) to begin with. Adding in straight meat (canned tuna, etc) also ok. Just be aware of salt levels as some food for other animals is higher than a chicken feed, as are some canned meat products for humans.

Good luck, hopefully it gets better quickly.

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