running a brothel?!?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by teach992, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. teach992

    teach992 New Egg

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    Or little flock consists of two roosters and 9 hens...Our roosters are flat wearing out the hens. Every hen has a HUGE bald spot on her back.
    A) Is there any way to stop this other than removing them? Our rosters are REALLY pretty and we don't want to have to get rid of them... We tried just putting them outside of the coop but they freaked out and tried to get back in all night.
    B) Someone from church said the rosters are "bored" over the winter with nothing else to do such as worm/insect hunt and they'll calm down once the weather and bugs come back. Any truth to that?
    C) How long (if ever) does it take for the feathers to grow back?

    On another note...Could I leave eggs in the boxes and the hens hatch them or do they have to be incubated? Some new chicks wouldn't be a bad thing.
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Feathers may not grow back till the fall molt. Get a lot more hens (at least 10 per boy), or remove the roosters by either rehoming or giving them their own coop/run.
    It's not due to boredom. It's more likely raging spring hormones.
     
  3. teach992

    teach992 New Egg

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    They are about a year old now, Would it be OK to get new chicks now brood them then introduce them when they are ready or will the roosters get them when they aren't ready?
     
  4. Hillaire

    Hillaire Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hi and welcome to BYC! so I have to break this down from question to question here....

    you have 2 roosters and 9 hens... IDEALY you would want at least 10 hens per rooster so that overbreeding doesn't occur. The overbreeding is what is causing the feather loss on your poor hens backs. There are a few ways to help the cause. You can get chicken saddles which go over the hens backs its like an apron for them. That stops the roosters claws and spurs to not dig in as much and cause that feather loss. I'm sure some of your ladies are a little bald on the head as well from the overbreeding. You can also clip your roosters spurs with a dremel tool. Are you free ranging? Part of the problem could be if they are in a run, they don't have enough space to run away from the roosters so every time the rooster wants to breed they can't get away. A. I would not put your roosters outside at night, that's when predators lurk, that's just asking for trouble. Besides the roosters are sleeping on the roost at night, not mating. B Roosters are more active with mating during the spring as it is there "breeding season" even though they breed all year long. C As for the feather growth it can take several weeks without being harassed by the rooster for the feathers to grow back. Ok now the fun part, as far as having the hens incubate eggs for you. It would require one of your hens to go broody, that's when they want to sit on a clutch of eggs to hatch. If you don't have any broody hens they won't sit on them to hatch them. You will know if you have a broody hen if she refuses to leave the nesting box. Also, when you go to move her she usually would let out a squeal or growlish noise and puff up even peck you. I hope this helps.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Thanks for mentioning the age. There is a world of difference in roosters and hens versus cockerels and pullets. At least yours are old enough that adolescence isn’t the problem. When did you see this problem develop? How long has it been going on?

    If the entire feather came out it should regrow before too long. If part of the shaft is still in there, the feathers will not regrow until they molt.

    In my experience a dominant rooster is not much of a threat to young chicks if they are introduced to him when the chicks are pretty young. He thinks they are his and is much more likely to help take care of them instead of harm them. Some of the hens might be a danger, that varies some too, but worry about the hens, not a mature rooster. Immature cockerels can be a danger though, maybe even more than the hens.

    The eggs have to be incubated. The eggs won’t hatch just sitting in the nests, they have to be incubated. If a hen goes broody you can let her hatch, but don’t count on a hen going broody. It’s nice if it happens, but if you want to hatch eggs and have any control over that, get an incubator.

    Many of us integrate chicks with the flock all the time. There are all kinds of different techniques to go about that. We do it with different aged chicks. Some people integrate very young chicks, some wait until they are practically grown. A lot depends on how and where you brood them and how much room you have. It’s not a simple yes or no answer, there are a lot of qualifications and if’s, but it is very possible to integrate chicks.

    How much room do they have? I find most behavioral problems aren’t as bad if they have lots of room.

    When I have a problem I try to determine if it is a flock problem or an individual chicken problem. That way I don’t treat the flock for an individual problem. You say every hen has a big bald spot. Some hens have brittle feathers, no matter how gentle the rooster is the feathers still break off. That’s usually a genetic thing, on how their body handles certain nutrients or vitamins. But if it is all your hens that is highly unlikely.

    That sounds like a flock problem but it could be that one of the roosters has very bad technique. Your problem could still be just one of the roosters. Two roosters together can be more competitive than one by itself. Especially if room is relatively tight, it might be beneficial to separate one rooster if you can’t stand to get rid of him. Of course he will be upset. Is that worse than being eaten or given away? Sometimes we have to make trade-offs.

    I’m not a believer in magic numbers like that 10 to 1 ratio for several reasons. One forum member keeps his chickens in a pretty natural setting and lets them form flocks. Hs average is around 7 hens per rooster. Plenty of people on here with one rooster and over 20 hens have barebacked and over-mating problems, even when they free range. Plenty of people don’t have over-mating oar barebacked problems with pretty small ratios. That 10 to 1 ratio comes from commercial hatcheries where they use the pen breeding system. They find that if they keep around a 10 to 1 ratio the eggs are fertile. If they have maybe 20 roosters in a pen with 200 hens practically all the eggs are fertile. It has nothing to do with roosters fighting or with hens being barebacked or over-mated. It has to do with fertility in the pen breeding method.

    I still think your best bet it to remove one rooster. It may or may not solve your problem but it is the first step I’d take. Sometimes removing just one chicken can totally change flock dynamics.
     
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  6. Hillaire

    Hillaire Chillin' With My Peeps

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    x2 [​IMG]
     
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Barebacked chickens tend to bother people more than they bother chickens. Some hens are much more prone to barebacks, and some roosters, lacking balance and technique are a bit more inclined to produce them.

    Watch how they interact with the roosters, are your hens tense? Are they cowering or hiding? If so, you have a problem. However, it they are just out, doing their chicken stuff, if they come running when the rooster calls them, if they are relaxed and making eggs, well the bare backs are bothering you more than them.

    Mrs K
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Until they are 12 months old or older roosters will not act like a proper adult male chicken and until the year old mark they are not ever good protectors from hawk attack..
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Removing one male may calm the other one down.
     

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