Rooster violently pecking hens normal?


9 Years
Mar 14, 2010
I have 7 hens and 1 rooster (pullets and cockerel would be the correct terms, I suppose). They are about 15 weeks old. Today I noticed that the rooster will, without provocation, violently peck the hens on the backs of their necks. He seems to do this to whichever one is in his vicinity when he's feeling "peckish." Is this normal behavior? I see a lot of posts on here about hen-pecked roosters, but I'm having trouble finding info about the opposite situation. I just don't want him to hurt any of the girls. He was actually supposed to be a girl himself, but I guess whoever did the sexing on that run of chicks missed him!


11 Years
Aug 22, 2008
Roberts, WI
We had one like that and had to get rid of him. He would just grab the back of their heads and rip at them for no reason. When they all were bald and one gal was bleeding and her wound was deep we got rid of him. I just can't see terorizing the flock. The main girls that he would do it to would free range way away from the house. That's just not right to me. We have all of our feathers back now and the wound healed after a long time. Good luck.

HorseFeatherz NV

Eggink Chickens
10 Years
May 12, 2009
Sierra Foothills of Reno, NV
If he was mine, I would go after him when he was mean to the girls. I just do not put up with it, the roos are nice to the girls or they go to freezer camp.


10 Years
May 29, 2009
he wants to get it on and it takes a while for them to learn to ask politely. If my roo was always mean to his girls I would get rid of him. That said, there is a period of time when they are young, dumb and know...give him some time to settle down.


8 Years
Apr 3, 2011
Okay, first I'm apologizing for resurrecting an old thread, but this is the closest thing I could find in my searches and maybe someone can help me.

About a month ago I bought a chicken tractor, four hens and one rooster (all bantam barred rocks about 1.5 years old) from a local chicken hobby farmer. We were home for a week while they settled in, then went on vacation for a week wherein a house sitter took care of the chickens and the rest of the menagerie and we've been back home for a little over a week now.

This weekend we made some mods to the tractor to give them a better roosting bar and installed an avian aqua miser. During this time we spent several hours observing and feeding scratch.

We already knew the rooster was mean (according to the seller) and he flew up and startled me the second day he was here causing me to hurt myself getting away from him. I have been leery of him ever since and find myself afraid of getting too close to all the birds. This is a problem because the tractor is low to the ground and I end up having half my torso inside the tractor to get to the water and feed containers. Also, recently he's started trying to peck us through the chicken wire and been successful a couple of times.

Yesterday I noticed that in addition to aggression towards myself and other family members he pecks the hens on the back of the head when there's scratch on the ground and sometimes just for the heck of it. I watched to see if it was one in particular, but it seems to be whoever is nearest him. Then I noticed that after he starts pecking someone on the head they run around and peck each other.

I haven't seen blood drawn yet, but there's lots of screeching and squawking and it just seems to get worse each time I take out scratch. They have plenty of food, plenty of water and plenty of scratch. They free range in the tractor which gets moved regularly so they're getting plenty of greenery.

Also, I haven't seen him do any mating the entire time he's been here. Perhaps I'm not around at the appropriate time? The girls don't seem to have any feather loss on the back and he has his nails, but was de-spurred before he got here.

I feel like I'm in a dysfunctional relationship. I think the entire family is in agreement that it would be okay for the roo to go, but I don't know if that's the best thing or if we should try some other kind of intervention with him.

Our goal is to keep chickens for eggs. We have no interest in hatching or chicks at this point as this is our test flock to see if it's going to work out. Eventually I would like to have two or three full-sized hens that I can raise by hand, but first I've got to solve this problem with the rooster. I want a happy flock whatever it takes.

Thoughts? Questions? Criticisms?

Help! And thank you...


8 Years
Jan 28, 2011
Panama City, FL
If you aren't going to hatch eggs, you don't NEED a rooster. Sometimes the hens are happier without one and they lay perfectly fine without one.

If he came labeled as "mean", he may not be re-trainable. Some people whack the roo with a stick if he attacks (not to beat him, but to get his attention and back him up). Some people carry him around to "humble" him into being nice.

If you want to hatch eggs in the future, you can buy them already fertilized. Or get chicks.

Personally, I'd get rid of him.

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