Roosters Either Helping Mama Hen or Killing The Chicks...

For The Love of Peeps

8 Years
May 28, 2011
Hi Again,

Ok, So I have been told that roosters kill chicks. I have been told that "aggressive" roosters kill chicks. I have been told that "mellow" roosters don't kill chicks, and actually help the mama.

What experience have you all had???

Chickens in general can be cannibalistic to chicks, not just roosters. Besides this, chicks can also pick up diseases from older birds (like Cocci) so I separate my chicks/& their mom, until the babies are almost adult sized.
My rooster is currently helping both of my broodies raise their 4 week old chicks; just like he helped raise the now 9 week old chicks and the now 4 month old juveniles. He has continued to look after the older chicks long after their mama's have kicked them out of the nest.
If you are intend to raise the chicks with the flock, it is IMPORTANT that they be exposed to the adults to gain naturally immunity to whatever the adults already have immunity too; including coccidiosis. The chicks will usually gain a slow immunity to it by walking in and pecking at the mother hen's droppings.
Currently in one coop I have 12 adult hens, 1 adult roo, 3 four month old cockerels, 3 nine week old chicks, and a combined total of 8 chicks that are 4 weeks old (still with their mamas). The only ones that run into any trouble are the 3 juvenile cockerels. Their dad at times will give them a chase or a peck. They learn to stay out of his way. My other flock consists of 12 three year old hens and until just recently a 3 year old roo (put down due to health issues). All the birds free range together and even the older adults are good with the chicks. Some minor pecking and chasing I can live with. That's how chickens decide their pecking order. Nobody is drawing blood, so I let them work it out.
If you just have one hen and one rooster, and she hatches out some chicks, the rooster MIGHT not bother them. In a larger flock, the other hens definitely will try to peck the babies if they get too near to them, while the rooster could go either way. In my experience, the rooster either ignores the babies completely, or he pecks at them because he doesn't want them around him. I've never had a rooster that actually tried to help care for the chicks.

Ideally, the chicks will still be okay because the mama hen will protect them from the rest of the flock, but things rarely work out the ideal way, so I'd say it's probably best to just put mama and babies in their own space until the chicks are closer in size to the adults and less likely to be seriously injured from an annoyed peck to the head.
my flock is great, they leave the chicks alone and the mama's usually protect the chicks. The roosters in my flock (all 4 of them) don't seem to care a bit about the chicks, but the head hens will peck at them..but nicely. I was afraid to have chicks in the flock and used to separate mama and babies, but after running out of space I tried letting them stay in the flock and no probs.
Here's a couple pics of my flocks. If you count, you can see that there are several males in the flock(s), including my two adult roos - a turken and a brahma. Everyone gets along except the two adult roos would fuss at each other now and then - nothing hurt but pride and a couple of tailfeathers.



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X2 My 20 wk pullet went broody, since she is in the pullet coop, no roos. I gave her 4 fertile eggs. She hatched all 4 and they are now a week old. Left her in the coop with the others. If you want the details goggle my thread Leghorn / RIR cross went broody? Heres a pic taken this evening.

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