Roosters & Bullying Injuries

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kynewbchickie, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. kynewbchickie

    kynewbchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    What started out to be just three roos this season has turned into a nightmare.

    I ordered 15 Australorp chicks from MPC, 3 to be boys, the rest girls. That's been true so far.
    Then, my son's teacher at the end of the year last year had ordered black Jersey Giant chicks and brought 12 to school for a project. She was supposed to have gotten 2 boys and the rest girls - one student took 6 home, and my son brought home the other 6 as we had room. 4 of those chicks have turned out to be boys. Very BIG boys.
    I saved 4 EE and 2 B'Orps from the local hardware/farm store that were near-death, and sold to me as pullet chicks. One B'Orp was a boy, and 2 - maybe 3 - EE are boys. I'm having a hard time with differentiating the EEs, due to the similarities in combs, muffs, and beards.

    I saved a silkie hen from my father-in-law after a bad coyote/raccoon attack on his coop.

    I saved an Egyptian Fayoumi rooster chick from a friend's father who is only allowed to have hens in his subdivision. That makes a possible 12.

    I have a breeding project starting next summer that are still in my basement for the time being, in the large brooder with no light - they're 8 week old Lav/Split Ameraucana that we hatched for my son. 2 of those are definitely boys. I haven't tried to introduce them to the bigger flock yet due to all the bullying/fighting we're witnessing at the present time. That will make a possible 14.

    Out of 34 birds, almost half are boys. This has made for some nasty fighting now that they're attempting to mate and assert dominance. Yes, I've ordered my chicken processing equipment - it's now thankfully on its way to my house.

    We had already planned to slaughter all the boys this month with the exception of my Lav & Split boys, and the Fayoumi boy - as he's never going to amount to even Chicken McNugget size. That will bring us down to a total of 3 boys to rule over a total of 24 girls. That seems to be a better ratio, given that the males like to have a "harem" of girls to themselves.

    I'm seeing some nasty, nasty behaviors out of these Aussie and Giant roos towards the other birds. The hens are run completely ragged to the point that even if they wanted to start laying, they can't. They get chased out of the nesting boxes to be gang-raped and kicked, clawed, pecked to pieces. I've already had to dress a talon injury to one's eye from a nasty mating last week. She's doing much better, but she could have lost an eye. My Fayoumi boy, much smaller than the rest of the boys in the yard, is taking a beating. He holds his own and is quite the flyer - but his comb is nearly black and crusty from all the pecking and fighting he's enduring. I'm cleaning it every night, making sure it doesn't get infected, and keeping a bit of neosporin on it to ward off infections. The one little silkie hen we rescued is really taking the worst of the mating beatings, as she's slower. 5 or 6 of the Aussies/Giants will bite and scratch at her until they get her down, and take turns having their way with her. She just lays there and cries afterwards until one of us goes to get her. We check her and treat any wounds she suffers, but her normally-friendly and sweet demeanor is changing to a very depressed and isolative one.

    We have all these birds in a large coop with plenty of room, kept clean, they're routinely fed and watered and given treats. They get to roam on almost 2 acres of fenced-in backyard, with plenty of forage and shade and things to peck at and play with. I never thought I'd have this many males from what I was told in the beginning - but now I'm seeing that people will gladly take advantage of those of us that can't sex chicks very well - telling us they have girls, when most are actually boys. I didn't know they'd act like this with this much room to sleep, roam, and all the bells and whistles they get here at our home. Now, the boys have started attacking ME when I go out to water and feed - and I'm 16 weeks pregnant. Just a few minutes ago, I had to treat some really nasty scratches on my face, arms, and legs from these guys ganging up on me while I was trying to give them their feed and water.

    The kill cone can't get here fast enough. I've bought an expensive knife for the kill/processing, I have a propane turkey fryer for scalding, and I have a tub for cooling as well as a small stainless table for the eviscerating already. Just 4-5 weeks ago, I couldn't imagine killing my own birds, as I had gotten attached to them. Now? I'm ready to dispatch of these nasty boys and get this flock under control again. Seeing my hens not want to leave the coop for fear of being attacked, hearing my silkie hen cry from being ganged-up on, and I myself being attacked by these boys on a regular basis has GOT to stop.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Separate your pullets from all of these roosters before they become seriously injured. That man big young roosters gang breeding will soon lacerate the sides of your pullets, and they may very well become the victims of fly strike.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. kynewbchickie

    kynewbchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've tried separating them previously, but they fly out or peck their way out of the fencing (I had put up a temporary coop with a fenced/covered run of 10x10 for the males but they kept getting out). I'm thinking of putting out rain barrels and tethering the males tonight until I'm able to process them. That's going to be about the only way I can separate them.
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Separating them is the only thing that is going to solve your problems. I would do so asap and not allow your hens to be mistreated one more day. Or even ditch the roo's on Craigslist if you think it's going to be to much trouble and hassle with them to wait until your processing equipment arrives.
     
  5. kynewbchickie

    kynewbchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    The kill cone will be here tomorrow, thank EVERYTHING - I have a prenatal appointment tomorrow morning and when I get home, I should have a package on my doorstep. I can put it to use first thing tomorrow afternoon as soon as the water in the fryer heats up for scalding.
     
  6. iheartnh

    iheartnh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow - what a horror story! I hope your equipment arrives as expected and you are able to take care of things tomorrow.

    Congrats on your pregnancy! I'm glad you're resolving the rooster issue - you don't need that kind of stress when you're growing a person!
     
  7. kynewbchickie

    kynewbchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you! It was certainly a shock to be flogged by the guys - thankfully they don't have anything but "nubs" for spurs right now! They've always been friendly, always following me around the yard in the morning for scratch, then again in the afternoon for fresh water and feed.

    I've not processed a bird since I helped my grandmother at 13 years of age - about 22 years ago - with a turkey for a holiday dinner. I'm rather squeamish about raw meat as it is right now, but I've gotta do what I've gotta do. I put the boys up in one smaller coop and left the girls in the big coop tonight. They weren't too happy with me, but I've had enough with my girls being ganged up on so viciously. :/
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    And just a note here---you "saved" an awful lot of birds. Maybe reconsider next time if it's really appropriate for you to take the bird if you don't have space/housing for all your flock. Not every bird needs to be rescued, and not by you.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. iheartnh

    iheartnh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How did the processing go? Is the flock dynamic improving?
     
  10. kynewbchickie

    kynewbchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hmm...don't really know how to reply to this? If you go back and read what I originally posted, we weren't supposed to have more than 5-7 roosters at the highest upper limit. That would have been fine, had the sexes been accurately represented - and that number is including the 2 roos that were hatched in June.

    They range on over 2 acres, and I have two coops - one is 8'x12', the other is 6'x8'. Space and housing isn't the issue. It's the ratio of males to females that is.
     

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