Rooster trying to kill hens.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RAllen620, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. RAllen620

    RAllen620 Hatching

    Dec 2, 2019
    I introduced a young rooster to my flock last night. When I went out this morning none of my girls would come out of the coop(very unusual). I went in to find that he wouldn't let them out the door. I also had one hens face that had been scratched up pretty bad and another hen laying in the corner. The hen in the corner wouldn't get up and her face was covered in blood and blood is coming from out of her nose. Do you guys think this new guy is doing this?
    I have him separated now.
    ValerieJ likes this.
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Welcome To BYC
    I'm sorry you are having trouble.

    Can you post some photos of your hens, rooster and housing?
    How old are your hens and the rooster?
    How big is the coop (sqft)?

    Yes, it's possible the rooster (cockerel?) did it. It's possible the hens were not that happy to find a newbie inside the coop this morning and being startled (or chased around) ran into walls, etc. and injured themselves trying to get away.

    How is the hen that was laying in the corner - has she come around? I would keep watch on her - maybe give some electrolytes or vitamins if she's a bit out of it.
    The one that was bloody, see if that's coming from the comb?

    Separating the rooster was good. If possible put him near the hens so they can see him. Since things didn't go too well to begin with, then I would keep him separated for a good while (maybe never put him back) until the hens are settled down. Depends on his age too - he may just need to grow up - then try again.
  3. FortCluck

    FortCluck Free Ranging

    Sep 9, 2019
    Central Virginia
    Can you put the rooster in a crate or dog kennel where the hens can see him but he can't get to them? Or can you fence him in, in his own area?

    Roosters can be quite aggressive if they are trying to mate with the hens especially if it is a young rooster with zero experience.

    I would make sure that you try to clean up as much of the bloodiness because any red might cause the others to peck at the hen who is bleeding. You can use Blu Kote to cover up the redness so it doesn't cause the pecking.

    I wouldn't introduce the rooster again for a little while after this incident.

    Did you just buy this rooster from someone and then introduce it to your flock without any type of quarantine? Or did he come from eggs that you hatched?
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Hi, welcome to the forum. Glad you joined.

    I'd keep him separated for a while until you determine what is going on. It is almost certain he is the one doing this. How old is he? How old are the girls. Are the girls laying eggs yet? Their levels of maturity can have a big effect on how they interact. How did you manage the introduction? It's always god information to know what the coop and run look like and their size. In practically any situation the more room they have the better. How many girls?

    It sounds like you have an immature cockerel, not a mature rooster. The girls could be immature pullets or more mature hens, but it might help determine what is going on to know which. A good clue to a female's maturity level is whether she is laying or not.

    Typically when you introduce a mature rooster to mature hens he impresses them with his self-confidence and magnificence, mates a couple to show he is the boss, and it is over. The flock is his. It's possible that a rooster doesn't have the self-confidence to pull that off and has to resort to brute force to take over the flock. That does not happen often but it can happen. It's also possible that the dominant hen isn't willing to accept a dominant rooster no matter how magnificent he is and resists. It can get kind of violent between the two for a day or two but usually she fairly quickly accepts his dominance. The hens have a part to play in this too, it's not always the rooster.

    But if he has hit puberty where the hormones have kicked in telling him to dominate the flock but has not yet reached a mature level, he cannot impress mature hens that he is worthy to dominate them. Immature pullets don't totally understand what is going on but they are probably not going to willingly submit either. When he is immature the mating act is not just about sex but about dominance. The one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. Since they are not willing he resorts to force. And sometime she doesn't even try to mate but just beats them up.

    It's not always this bad. Many of us go through this process on a regular basis with few problems. But we are set up for it and have managed it. Even then sometimes it can be hard to watch and we may intervene. With living animals you don't get guarantees as far as behaviors. Each one, male and female, have their own personalities.

    The more you can tell us about your situation, flock make-up (ages and numbers), size of your coop and run or other facilities in feet or meters, and what the facilities look like (photos might help) the better we can offer suggestions that for your situation. Basically what do you have to work with?

    Now for the head injuries. Part of the mating procedure is the head grab. The one on top grabs the back of the head. This helps balance and position, but it also is the signal for the hen to raise her tail out of the way so the male can hit the target. There will be no fertile eggs without the head grab. In a consensual mating a good technique is to grab some feathers and fairly gently pull. A loose feather might come out but no big deal. But if the mating is by force, it is pretty easy for the comb or even skin to get torn and bleed. Head wounds tend to bleed a lot. That might be what is going on.

    When chickens fight they often try to peck the head. They can seriously injure or kill their peck is that strong. It's possible that caused one or both of those head wounds.

    There is another factor involved. Chickens can possibly be cannibals. It doesn't happen all the time but your other females might peck at blood or a raw wound. That can kill them. You should monitor those wounded females to make sure your other females aren't attacking them.

    I know this is long, hopefully you are not reading it on a tiny hand-held device. But I'll go over one more thing. Why do you want a rooster? What are your goals for that rooster? The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs, everything else is personal preference. Preference can be strong, but it is a choice, not a need. I suggest you keep as few roosters as you can and still meet your goals. That's not because you are guaranteed problems with roosters, but the more you have the more likely you are to have problems. I don't know if the right number for you is 0, 1, or more. The more you can tell us about your situation the more likely we can help you meet those goals.

    Good luck and once again welcome.
  5. RAllen620

    RAllen620 Hatching

    Dec 2, 2019
    I am on my phone so I'll try to answer as many questions as I can remember haha!
    Our coop is 8×10 out building and they have a 50 foot run. I have 5 mature layers all of them are around 3 years old. We were given this cockerel last night and tried to putting him with the girls last night. Our dominant hen did fight with him for a few mins but then gave in. She wasn't one that was injured. The bood wasn't from their combs either, I checked those. It's from her eye and nose.
    The cockerel is about a year old and came from a farm with multiple other roosters. He is very aggressive even towards me today. My girls seem very scared of him and aren't even wanting to go into the coop even though they can't get to each other.
    This isn't our first rooster, in fact he is replacing ours that passed away from age. I would like to hatch eggs but not at the cost of my girls.

    Thank you all so much for your advice. I hope I answered all of your questions. If not please just remind me.
    chrissynemetz and Wyorp Rock like this.
  6. RAllen620

    RAllen620 Hatching

    Dec 2, 2019
    I have them separated now. He is in the coop where they can see each other but he can't get to the girls and he is VERY unhappy about that!
    chrissynemetz likes this.
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Definitely keep separate because they need a see no touch introduction. He definitely tried to force himself on them and that definitely never works.
    What's the age of Hens and Cockerel?
  8. RAllen620

    RAllen620 Hatching

    Dec 2, 2019
    My hens are 3-4 years old and the cockerel is around a year.
  9. Nor-Cal Chickens

    Nor-Cal Chickens Songster

    Oct 1, 2019
    Orland, CA
    The Cockrell was most likely given to you do to his aggressiveness. That's unfortunate but that's how it goes sometimes. I was given two hens from my brother in law "just because"...well I found out what the "just because" was. The hens were fairly aggressive AND they loved to dig out flower beds and eat flowers and bulbs. I've slowly broken their bad habits and the hens are now exceptional members of my animal family.

    Best of luck with the young cockerel, if necessary don't be afraid to do what is best for your flock and cut your losses. If you really need a Cockerel then just try your luck with another if this one fails.
  10. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Definitely keep separate for a few weeks. They have no clue about males and he needs to win them over by tidbitting and being a romantic Rooster..:thumbsup

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