Rooster...to separate or not?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Darklingstorm, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. Darklingstorm

    Darklingstorm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a Jersey Giant rooster named Odin, who is only 5 months old. I also have 8 hens of various ages.

    Every (and I do mean EVERY) morning, Odin makes sure he is the first one out of the coop. He has learned he can ambush a hen when she comes down the ramp, to mount her. I've actually seen him chase one of the girls for a good full minute before either catching her or start on someone else. I know a minute doesn't seem long but as fast as they run, I'm sure it could be compared to a Triathlon. After a while he calms down some and stops chasing so hard, but I have noticed him mount his two favorites several times in one hour or another if he can catch them. I have actually counted 4 times he mounted my BO in 2 1/2 hours while I was out improving their run. So I'm assuming this behavior goes on all the time.

    The girls are not bare backed (yet) but do hesitate to come out of the coop because of him. I'm still getting an average of 6 eggs a day, but I'm worried about their stress level because as I said he is only 5 months old and large.

    I'm thinking of a separate pin for him but hesitate because he is a good protector. When one of my hens got too close to the dog kennel (free ranging) and the dog lunged at her, Odin, at only 3 months old, ran and put himself between the dog and hen. Any time one of the hens makes a distressed scream he will come running with feathers all fluffed up ready for battle. I now have to be very conscious of where he is when I go to collect a hen for examination.

    Any advice would greatly be appreciated.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Well, I'm not sure what to say. He's only doing what roosters do. As he matures his mating should subside somewhat. Right now he is dealing with a teen age rush of testosterone. It doesn't sound as if your hens are being too distressed. They are still laying and their feathers are not being damaged. Realistically it sounds at this time as if the benefits of having in the flock him outweigh the drawbacks.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Nothing you said sounds unusual for a 5 month old rooster, except that older hens let a rooster that young mount them. It sounds like he has a personality that the older hens respect even as young as he is. That does not always happen. I've had roosters older than that that the hens would not allow to mate with them. A mature hen expects a rooster to protect her, find her food, break up fights, and manage his flock to maintain proper order. Immature pullets are more easily influenced by his just being a rooster.

    The chasing does not concern me as long as they squat when he mounts them. That spreads his weight to the ground throughout their body instead of just through her legs. She's not likely to be injured by his weight that way. The chasing will probably reduce as he matures and the hens are more accepting of him. They'll be more likely to just squat.

    When they first get out in the morning, roosters are often ready for female companionship. I think it is a way for them to reinforce that they are still the dominant one as anything else. When I separate a rooster for a few minutes then put him back with the flock, the first thing he does is mate a hen. That's a dominance thing.

    I agree with Sourland. His rate of mating will probably slow down a lot when his hormones calm down as he matures.

    When I collect a hen for examination, I often have the rooster locked in or out of the coop when I catch the hen. Or if they are all in the coop when I start, I examine or treat the rooster first and put him outside where he cannot see what is going on. Sometimes I catch a hen in his presence and don't worry about it too much, but I don't go out of my way to give him a reason to become human aggressive.
     
  4. Darklingstorm

    Darklingstorm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you very much. Glad I don't have to separate him now. First time with a rooster and I just had to go with the biggest...[​IMG]
     

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