Rooster trouble in the tractor

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by waldeneffect, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. waldeneffect

    waldeneffect Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 7, 2008
    southwest Virginia
    My boyfriend and I have had egg-laying hens in tractors for about a year and a half with no trouble. But we started thinking about expanding our flock this year, and soon a friend gave us a rooster to make our flock self-sustaining. And there the trouble started....

    A tractor of Golden Comet hens which had been perfectly amicable quickly turned into an aggressive mess. The rooster overmates the hens so that their back feathers are torn off. (The addition of the rooster shouldn't have caused any overcrowding --- we give them about twice as much square footage as the books recommend per bird.)

    A few months ago, I heard a lot of squawking and saw that the rooster had torn a gash in the back of one of the hen's heads, presumably while holding on while mating. The other hens went after the blood and I had to remove the injured hen from the tractor and now she lives in a coop by herself.

    Although we haven't had any other major issues, the remaining four hens look rattier and rattier --- I worry about them as the cold weather hits. I took the rooster out of the tractor and am currently letting him completely free range --- but that defeats the purpose of eventually having fertile eggs (and he tears up the mulch on my raised beds which annoys me.)

    I read that a rooster should have 10 hens or he might over mate them, but that's a problem since we want to keep the tractor small enough so that I can easily drag it around. Elsewhere, I read that some roosters will scale back on their excessive mating after a year or two. But then somewhere else I read that if I keep the rooster out of the coop for too long, when I put him back in he won't remember the hens and will be even more aggressive.

    Has anyone here had good luck keeping a rooster in a tractor with 4-5 hens? I was originally going to cull the rooster from the flock, but that would be silly if any rooster is going to do the same thing due to the small number of hens to mate with...

    You can see pictures of our flock on our blog at http://www.waldeneffect.org/tag/livestock/. (The roast rooster is a different one from the one I'm talking about! :)
     
  2. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Virginia
    I would get a different rooster - everyone has extra roosters to get rid of, so you should be able to find a guy that fits in with your girls.

    I've had some roosters that were gentlemen and others that were maniacs. I've never had one attack the girls - they're usually very protective and break up fights. I love having a rooster for that very reason - he takes good care of them!
     
  3. waldeneffect

    waldeneffect Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 7, 2008
    southwest Virginia
    Yeah, I may go back to plan A --- stew up the mean rooster and try another --- if no one has any experiences specifically with roosters in a tractor. I hate to see him hurting the hens!
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    It depends on the rooster. I have tractorerd as few as two hens for one rooster for a few months at a time to get pure fertile eggs. The girls got a bit ragged, but never went bald. Think your roo just isn't meant for your hens. The tractor was 4x8 with an attached 2x4 hutch to give you an idea of the space I gave 3 banties (silkies).
     
  5. waldeneffect

    waldeneffect Out Of The Brooder

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    31
    Oct 7, 2008
    southwest Virginia
    What did you do with the rooster before you put him in and after you took him out? Or was he borrowed from a friend?
     

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