Rooster tried to kill hen

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by labs3bcy, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. labs3bcy

    labs3bcy Just Hatched

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    I have 9 hens that are 1 1/2 yrs old and a 6 month old hen and rooster that I hatched. I have been noticing the rooster chasing one of the older hens the last few days. My chickens are free range, but due to the cold weather I have kept them in the run. Today when I went out to check on them I thought one of my hens was dead, the feathers on the back of her head were gone and her head was all bloody. The rooster was all bloody as well. I put him in the coop and went to pick up the 'dead' chicken. When I picked her up I realized she was still alive, she was just playing dead so the rooster would leave her alone. She ate and drank and I now have her in the house. I'm not sure if I can put her back with the flock. I have had ducks kill each other after one gets injured and I'm afraid this will happen with her. The rooster has always pen in the same pen with the hens.
     
  2. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Keep her inside until she heals fully and reintroduce her at night to the rest of the flock. As far as the roo goes, if you want to keep him he needs to be taught some manners. Try taking him away from the flock in a small pen or coop for a week for a time out. Some people have to repeat some don't.
     
  3. labs3bcy

    labs3bcy Just Hatched

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    Thanks for your help!
     
  4. delisha

    delisha Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens are pretty smart..they have instincts we do not see..That male was trying to get her to leave his flock for a reason..Ill or off or over crowded ..He thinks there is something wrong with her. He was trying to remove the threat. I would not return that hen to the flock..It sounds like you have a great male who will protect his flock..even culling when necessary. They are rare and valuable..
     
  5. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For a 6 month old male? That's usually when mine start acting up and my main rooster has to teach them a few things. I am not disagreeing with your judgement, just wanted to make sure it was for that age.
     
  6. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    A 6 month old cockerel is also dealing with overactive hormones, and he MAY have been trying to mate with the hen. He may have tried it repeatedly. This can result in the feathers being gone from the back of the hen's head, and also the blood on both of them. If she resisted, then he may have gotten ahold of her comb as well.

    Young cockerels haven't learned the "art of chicken love" yet, and they are clumsy, forward, agressive, and lack skill. They haven't learned to "woo" the hens. They also lack the respect of the hens, which can result in what you described. He probably needs to be separated for a few days, and then put him back in and observe the flock. Hopefully, if this has ben the case, he will learn some manners. Having an older, respected rooster in the flock teaches the young buks manners to some extent as well.

    Just another possibility.
     
  7. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had the same problem a coupla years ago with a rooster I got with a new batch of chicks. He got to a certain age and went after one of my older hens. Did the same thing, drove her away, beat her up badly. There wasn't, and still isn't a problem with that hen. She gives me eggs. That rooster gives nothing. And I don't want to hear about how they "Protect" the flock. I lost a bunch of birds, but the funny thing was the roosters, two different ones, were still around after the carnage. As I said in another post, Roosters are nothing but feathered speed bumps, when it comes to predators.
    So anyway, I tried separating the rooster from the flock for a week. When reintroduced, he went right back after her. Off to freezer camp he went, and became a pretty good meal later. Your choice, some more good eggs from that hen, or a useless strutting P.I.A.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  8. ChickenBurn

    ChickenBurn Out Of The Brooder

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    P.I.A.??

    I'm encountering the same problem with a newly matured rooster bloodying the heck out of a much-loved Rhode Island Red hen. She and her sister are about a year old and have been inseparable. They were introduced to 6 new chicks and were accepting of the new flock for the most part--only a few lunges here and there to remind the little ones who knows best. The chick who turned out to be a rooster (a very handsome Dominic about 5 months old) has always been the largest of the six, who are all cross-bred and vary in size, color, feather, and demeanor. Another is showing signs of being a rooster but hasn't shown his- or herself just yet. They have been sharing the coop for almost 4 months now, free-ranging on the weekends and when we're home. They would generally range separately: two hens on their own and 6 newbies would follow each other around most of the time. They would join up in the yard occasionally, and especially when I came out with treats. No problems until..... this week. Roo has gone after Lucy, leaving her head featherless and her comb bloody. She's the only one.

    She gives big, yummy, healthy eggs almost every day, even now. This morning, they were at it again inside the coop--at least, he was. By the time I got dressed and went out to them, Lucy was roosting inside and everyone else was ready to be let out of the run for the day (I'm home today). I checked on her after an hour or so, once the rest of the flock (Ethel, the sister, now joining them--or they joining her) was far away. There was Lucy, still chilling inside. Not laying, just resting--or hiding.

    HOW MUCH TIME DO I GIVE THEM TO SORT IT OUT BEFORE I LOSE THE ROOSTER?? I don't want to wait too long for things to settle down and lose my pretty little hen. The Rhode Island Reds were my first chickens ever, and so this is also my first rooster. Is he just an over-aggressive jerk who needs re-purposing? Or does he have enough merit to warrant giving him a chance?
     
  9. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    P.I.A=Pain In A**. If I were you I would NOT wait too long. The rooster can and probably will kill that hen. I know the one I had was relentless. They get it in their head about something, they don't just forget it. For whatever reason, he wants that hen gone. Also, if he is allowed to keep bashing the hen, she will stop laying, and even worse, some of the others could join in with the flogging.
    For me, it was not a difficult decision at all. The, to me, useless rooster was just causing problems with one of my better egg producing hens. Easy choice, rooster gone.
     
  10. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    All my roosters have been good, for the most part. They are usually kept in line by my mature rooster that I keep, not really for breeding, but for keeping order. He lets the girls work things out, but doesn't tolerate mischief from the cockerels. JackE, it sounds like you had a very bad experience with them. That's too bad.

    The other thing is that many hatchery lines don't breed for behaviour as most breeders I know of. We don't tolerate bad rooster behaviour. If they become problems, they get eaten.
     

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