Rough Rooster - ????? Please look at PICs!!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sms1225, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. sms1225

    sms1225 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Southern Indiana
    I have 24 hens & 1 SLW rooster. They are all 11 months old. Over the last 2 months I have more and more hens with feathers missing down to bare skin on their back.. I have also noticed where wings feather on other hens are also broken. They don't have mites, they might be molting, but... how can the rooster be this rough? I have 1 rooster to 24 hens? I free range them during the day on 4 acres. He is a good protector, hates my husband, but the hens look terrible!! I'm not sure about saddles? Seems they could cause problems as well? Trying to decide whether to get rid of him, but then would not have a good protector for them. I would love to hear ideas from others who have had this problem. I have searched thru old postings, but not convinced about what to do.

    Thanks,

    Some pics[​IMG]

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    I have probably 4 hens that are totally bald, no feathers, and the rest have some broken feathers on the top of their wings. The rooster is 2x as big as the hens. I have RIRs and SLW hens
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2009
  2. sewincircle

    sewincircle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2008
    Central New York
    I had a hen who was injured by my roo. He was much larger than her and he seemed to favor her. I had to remove her from the group to heal. I was convinced that a saddle would be the answer. Well, after she was healed up I bought a saddle for her and put her back. Everyday I found that saddle on the floor of the coop. I could not keep it on her for anything. Well, she is back in and she is still fine. Every now and again she looks ruffled but no blood. Are your girls bloody? or just mussed up? My hen is great now. She is the smallest I have and lays the biggest eggs. She is queen bee. Good luck with yours.
     
  3. sms1225

    sms1225 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Southern Indiana
    They have never been bloody, just no feathers for about 2months now, I'm not sure whether it got started because they were molting(I think), or because the rooster is big. YOu wouldn't think he would have enough energy to get to so many of the hens, there are 24 and just him!!!!

    I don't know whether to isolate him from all the hens for a while or not?
     
  4. dave_Cash69

    dave_Cash69 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2009
    kaintucky
    it might just be molting.
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Looks like your rooster has picked out his 4 favorite girls and could almost care less about the other 20. It's not unheard of and it is possible that the bare backs and any new feathers are also getting picked out by others who see them. You might look into chicken saddles to fix the issue.
     
  6. sms1225

    sms1225 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Southern Indiana
    Would the molting be worse where the rooster mounts them? I'm not very educated on the molting process. Even the rooster's feathers on his lower back look ruffled up. I've also noticed a decrease in egg production which I have read can be attributed to molting. How long will it take for the feathers to grow back or the molting process to be completed?
     
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I'm going to guess it's going to be more picking than moulting if the rooster is missing saddle feathers. Might try increasing protein in their diet.

    If it is moulting, which usually would be over the entire body and not just the back, it can take 4-6 weeks to finish. Reason I don't think it is moulting, is because you said they have been baled for a time, and if they were moulting, pin feathers would have emerged within a few days of the previous feather falling out.
     
  8. sms1225

    sms1225 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 21, 2008
    Southern Indiana
    This whole thing drives me crazy because I watch them and they don't pick on each other, but as time goes on all of the hens are getting broken feathers on the saddle area, but many are not as bald as in the pics. I feed them PUrina Layena feed which should have plenty of protein. They also free range on good pasture. Does anyone think I should isolate the rooster from the hens for a while. Has anyone had such a widespread problem? Am I over worried about this?

    thanks,
     
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Isolating the rooster may be a good start, along with the hens who are picked. Likly, the majority of any picking is happening at or near roost time when they are fighting for the best sleeping spots. Sometimes it happens, so don't worry too much. May look into a feed with some higher protein, or a layer supplement with higher protein, incase they are eating so much on the range, they aren't getting enough from the feed alone.

    ETA: Feathers may or may not come back till next year after moult.
     
  10. sms1225

    sms1225 Out Of The Brooder

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    39
    Feb 21, 2008
    Southern Indiana
    silkiechicken,

    This winter I have given them artificial light to continue their laying. I wonder in the am when it's still dark outside, that they may be picking?

    It will be quite a bit of work to make an isolated place for the rooster, but I can do it and see if they start to grow feathers.

    I got the rooster for protection because they free range, but don't know if I should have the rooster if this is what happens, Is this a common occurance or is my situation unusual?
     

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