Rooster troubles (sorry, a bit long)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KanoasDestiny, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. KanoasDestiny

    KanoasDestiny New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2012
    Hi, my name is Sara and I'm new here. I guess I should start out by saying that I have never wanted chickens. When I was little, my aunt's roosters would try to attack us when we entered the pen to feed and collect eggs. I actually took a dislike to most birds because of that. Then a few years ago, we had an older rooster show up outside of my yard one day. He was there for about a week, and I refused to try to tame him down. Then one day, a couple of dogs were trying to attack him and I sent my husband out to rescue him. He was a pretty mellow fellow and although he was scared of us and didn't want to be handled, he never once tried to hurt anyone. Sadly, Big Red died a couple of years after we saved him.

    My husband has always wanted chickens and when we bought our five acres a couple of years ago, his interest doubled. But I was dead set against it. I happen to work at an elementary school and last May, a couple of our students brought two little chicks to class. The teacher flipped! They gave this sad story about how they saved them from a crow, and I ended up offering to bring the little chickies home. I later found out that the chicks were most likely never in danger and were stolen from a yard on the boys way to school. I had the chicks aged by our local feed store, and they were 2 or 3 day old Americaunas. I prayed really hard that they would both be hens, but at around a month it became apparent that one was most likely a rooster. I fell madly in love with them and hand raised them in the house (spoiling them rotton). At around two months, I had to seperate them because Joey (rooster) would grab ahold of Pacey's (hen) face and neck and would not let go.

    About a month ago, we finally got their coop finished (12 X 16), and they were put out there together. Right away, we noticed that he would drop one wing to the ground and try to chase Pacey away from us. I reached down to touch him once (not realizing what he was really doing) and he bit me. He then started stomping at me. I took off my flip flop and smacked him good with it. He seems to be mostly crazy in the morning times, chasing her around and trying to mate her. He has tried to scare me a couple of times, but I stomp my foot and kinda run at him, and he stops. Recently, he has stopped coming near me and will avoid me at all costs. If I walk towards him, he will turn around and go to an opposite side of the pen. I also wear gloves and pick him up for a while, which he hates. When I put him down, I hold him penned against the dirt until he relaxes, then I let him go (showing my dominance over him). But weirdly enough, if he hears me anywhere in the yard, he will call or crow to me. He hates when I walk away from the pen or he can't see me.

    In the morning time, Pacey absolutely hates her brother. She runs from him hiding behind my legs and will fly up on my shoulder because she knows that he won't come near me. I also noticed that he won't let her eat with him. But in the evenings, they are absolute best friends and she follows him around wherever he goes. Joey has tried to flog my husband three different times now, when he tries to stop him from chasing Pacey. We decided that it would be best to seperate him and Pacey, to stop his raging hormones and idiot behavior. But I was told that we should try to get some more hens first, to see if that would help the situation. Joey and Pacey are now three and a half months old, and yesterday I bought three beautiful young hens (four and a half months old) - two Red Stars and a golden Americauna. The golden Americauna was missing a lot of feathers (all of her tail feathers and along her lower back). I wasn't going to buy her because I was scared she was sick or extremely docile to the point where she was getting picked on by everyone else. But she reminded me of a hawk, and I felt sorry for her because she kept trying to shove herself into the furthest corner under everyone else. So I ended up getting her and naming her Dawson. The other two were named Jen and Andy, after the other characters of Dawson's Creek. I figured that Andy would be the dominant hen because she kept pecking at the other two and was kind of bossy.

    I asked the seller what the best way of introducing the hens to my two was, and she said to introduce the hens into the coop in the evening. She warned me that there would be some pecking to establish dominance and what not. At first Joey was calm, inspecting the hens and chasing them around a bit. Then he started to try to breed them. It was terrible! He'd grab ahold of them by the neck and rip out their feathers as he tried to climb on their backs. They screamed bloody murder and finally, my husband went into the coop with the broom and threatened Joey to leave the girls alone. He settled on the roost for the night, and the three girls settled in a corner.

    This morning, the two Stars were eating before I went to work. The Americauna was still hiding in the corner, not eating. Joey and Pacey were beyond calm, calmer then I'd ever seen them in the morning (with Pacey side by side eating with Joey), so i figured he already had his "hormones" taken care of. When I came home five hours later, Andy was laying dead in the grass. Her head was completely scalped from the very top of her head, all the way down to the lowest part of her neck. I was beyond heartbroken. I saw Jen right away and knew that she was unhurt, but I went looking for Dawson and found her in the corner with ants crawling all over her. When I looked closer, she was also scalped on the back of her neck, really bloody, and had a deep puncture wound in her neck that was oozing blood. I rushed her in the house, washed it off, put antibiotics on it, and she is now residing in my spare bedroom. I pray that she will make a full recovery. (She has just started becoming more animated, walking around, eating a little and drinking, and she keeps making little cooing noises).

    Joey was taken out of the coop, and is now in his own small pen by himself. Sadly, he seems to be at ease being alone. If I had known that, he would have been by himself a lot sooner then now. His sister Pacey is reacting to the seperation a lot worse then he is. We will be building him a smaller pen (8X8) connected to the hens pen, so that he will still be close to the others, but we will have two layers of wire and mesh between them, and that is the closest he will ever be to another chicken again.

    I feel so very guilty over this. No animal deserves to die that way, or be tortured. I don't know if he was intending to kill them, or if he was being too aggressive while trying to breed. I believe that he may be a 'rapist rooster' because he is extremely violent when trying to mate, and has never tried to do the mating dance. But regardless, he will never have another chance to repeat whatever went wrong. I'm just so sad that I had to lose one of my beautiful new hens (maybe two if Dawson doesn't recover), to finally remove the problem.

    Has anyone ever had anything like this happen before? I thought roosters only tried to kill other roosters? Do you think that now that he won't be in with females, he'll lose the aggression? My husband wanted to kill him today, but I just couldn't bring myself to say yes. Even at his worst, I love him terribly.
     
  2. beehappy4ever

    beehappy4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 3, 2011
    Phoenix, AZ
    I may be totally off key here but from my experience young roosters don't have any idea what they are doing and are like teenage boys, all hands with no caress. My roosters always grabs the neck feathers when he mounts the hens and they can loose feathers on their neck and back from mating.

    One thing to consider is it might not be your rooster but your hen that hurt the other hen. When new birds are introduced to my flock it is always my top hen that is the meanest. I wouldn't give up on him yet. When I add birds into the flock either pullets or hens I start by putting them in the coop at night (for small pulletsI start by putting them in a dog carrier in the coop) then in the morning I have a large wire dog crate they go in so they are in the run but proteted then put them back in coop at night, after couple days I start to let the out with rest of the flock for an hour before dusk so they start to go into coop on their own plus the short period allows me to watch for issues. If they start to spar or fight I let them resolve it as that is how they determine pecking order but if it looks like one would get fatally injured I step in. Usually for full grown hens within a week you would think they were raised since chicks together, my pullets I won't transfer full time till they are large enough to defend themselves when it comes to trying to get food or water. Hens are possessive in my opinion, they have "their" spot on the roost "their" nesting box, it can be an odd dynamic.


    Sorry to hear about your hen though, loosing chickens always sucks but the first time one dies it is the hardest! I cried for hours when I lost my first bird!
     
  3. KanoasDestiny

    KanoasDestiny New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2012
    Sadly I am positive that it was my rooster that attacked the girls. I only had four chickens left (one was seriously injured herself), and he was the only one covered in blood. My husband is the one who buried her, and he said that she had died right before we found her. Joey's sister is extremely docile, she is the definition of the word "chicken", too scared to do anything if her brother isn't infront of her leading the way. The new hen, Jen, keeps walking up to her cooing softly, and Pacey runs away. She wants nothing to do with the hen. Joey is still liking seclusion, he seems so much calmer when I feed/water/approach him. Dawson is healing nicely. She is more active today, and is eating and drinking really good. :)
     

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