Should I get rid of my rooster

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cekendri, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. cekendri

    cekendri Just Hatched

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    I have a mixed flock or 3 buffs (one is a rooster - got 6 chicks from TSC and 4 turned out to be roosters so we had three rooster dinners), 2 olive eggers, and 2 splash marans. The olive eggers and marans came from a breeder and we got them when they were about 8 weeks.

    The buffs are about a year old and the rest are maybe 4 months younger.

    The pecking order is rooster, 1st oliver egger (acts like a body guard for the rooster), buffs, 2nd oliver egger, and the splash marans at the end. The two splash marans are smaller and spend most of their time together in the corner of the run or just keeping out of the way - mean to build them somewhere to hide. The rest will flock together and get on quite well.

    Our rooster is very rough and one buff and the splash marans now have caps as they are bare backed. The others are heading that way as well.

    We had been getting 4/5 eggs a day and that has not gone to 1/2 eggs a day. We did move them to a new run with more space (8'x24'), but the coop (4'x4' - 3 egg boxes) is the same. They also have a larger run that they go in when we are at home. They have been in this new place for about 2 months.

    I know there could be alot of reasons for the egg production drop. But I am wondering if the reason for the egg production drop is due to stress from the rooster? We did have a bit of a lice out brake when they were in their old run, but that did not effect the egg production. They were on ~2lbs of feed a day and I have gone to free access and they still eat about the same amount. I do give them access to oyster shell and old egg shells as well as grit.
     

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  2. BYChickenAl

    BYChickenAl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Situational...If you don't plan to hatch any eggs, you won't need your roo. If you plan to hatch eggs, and if you have the space, you can separate roo from the rest.
     
  3. cekendri

    cekendri Just Hatched

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    I was planning on hatching eggs in the future. I have a chicken tractor that I could put him in, but that is about to get filled with some new arrivals for 8 weeks
     
  4. BYChickenAl

    BYChickenAl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Really like what you have in that picture. Nice!
     
  5. dfalco

    dfalco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For what it's worth, I had too much rooster/not enough hen for a while. I had two roosters and only 3 hens. Soon the girls were bare backed and looking scraggly. One hen was even lame for a time, with what looked to be a sprained leg, though it's unclear what caused it. In the end, I got rid of a rooster and my pullets finally came of age. But I digress. My point is, my hens kept laying throughout. But I would think that too much rooster could be detrimental to the hen's health. Maybe get a few more hens? Seems that a ratio of 1/10 is pretty good.
     
  6. cekendri

    cekendri Just Hatched

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    I am getting two more layers with my meat bird order, but that will be another 8 weeks before I can integrated them. I like to have the rooster as he does do look out and keeps his girls safe, but just over sexed.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    As you said, there could be a lot of reasons for the production drop. Where you are located could be an explanation. I'm guessing you are north of the equator but that's just a guess. My production drops in extreme weather. Are you experiencing a heat wave that coincides with a production drop? Modifying your profile to show your general location can help with all kinds of questions.

    Stress of different kinds can cause a drop in egg laying so it's possible stress from an overactive rooster could contribute. But that's not from a hen going barebacked, that's from a rooster terrorizing a hen so she doesn't eat and drink normally, just stays hidden in terror from him. It doesn't sound like that. Still, to work on the bare backs, you are obviously quite handy at building. Since you want to keep your rooster, I'd suggest you build a separate enclosure to house him until you need him for fertile eggs. That will at least remove him from the equation.

    Mites and lice can cause a feather loss. Are you sure this is not related to that outbreak?

    How long has the production dropped, was it all of a sudden or spaced out, and how consistent is it? Is it every day or every once in a while? The most common cause for a drop in egg production is the molt, which involves feather loss. The feather loss from a molt follows a certain pattern, starting at the head and working its way down. This time of the year north of the equator that is highly unlikely but stress can cause molts, it doesn't have to be loss of daylight.

    The second most common cause of production drop is that they are hiding a nest on you. It doesn't look like they have many options in your set-up, but they can be pretty clever about that. You might want to go on an Easter egg hunt.

    it's possible you have something taking the eggs. Most critters, including the chickens themselves, leave some sort of residue, broken shells or a soggy mess when they eat the eggs. You can always mark an egg and leave it down there to see if it disappears. The only critters I'm aware of in the States that take eggs without leaving a clue are snakes, canines, and humans. I've had a lot of problems with snakes before, they are inconsistent. A snake will eat as many eggs as it can based on size and availability then disappear for a few days while it digests them. I've had a five feet black rat snake max out at 4 eggs at a time. For three at a time I'd guess a snake somewhere in the four feet range.

    Most canines like a fox or coyote would probably be more interested in the chickens than the eggs, but does a dog have access to the nests? Could it be a human?

    Chickens don't like change, but they should be well over the move by two months. Have you changed anything about how you manage them to coincide with the drop? That's a pretty large drop for something like that, but then you don't have a lot of chickens. You need enough for averages to mean something before you can look at what normally happens. That makes it harder to diagnose these things with a small flock.

    I don't know what is going on. Since it doesn't sound like the hens and pullets are terrorized by the rooster I doubt it is him causing the drop in egg production. Isolating the rooster might help with the feather loss problem.

    Another possible thing to try for the feather loss is to blunt his toenails. People tend to obsess over spurs as a problem, but the rooster stands on the hen when mating and holds on with his feet. He has several very sharp claws. If he has bad technique this can cause the hen to lose a lot of feathers. You can work on his spurs if you wish but you might do a lot more good by taking the sharp point off of his claws. I use a Dremel tool with the disc used to cut metal, some people use a grinder with a Dremel tool and just grind them back. Some people use dog clippers. It's a lot like trimming your toenails, if you cut too deep you get into the quick and draw blood. So don't cut very deep, just take the sharp point off. If you draw a little blood it's not that big of a deal, the rooster probably won't even flinch. But you might want a little flour or cornstarch handy to stop the bleeding if you get really deep.

    Good luck. Figuring out why production drops often is not very easy.
     
    dfalco and Wyorp Rock like this.
  8. cekendri

    cekendri Just Hatched

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    I did just buy a dremel for doing his spurs they are not very long ~1 inch, but I was also going to trim his claws this weekend. Will also be doing a full check for mites and lice again.

    I am up in the UP of MI and it has been hotter recently, but this is their first full summer so I am not sure what is normal heat for my hens.

    Their run, that they are in during the day, is fully enclosed so I am not sure about a thief, except if it is a chicken. I have a snake in my wood pile and in the compost, but if it ate an egg it would be three times it's diameter and might not make it out and I hope the rooster fights it off.

    Might buy a trail camera for inside the coop.
     
  9. cekendri

    cekendri Just Hatched

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    I should say this is not my first time with chickens, but that was in NZ where nothing is doing to hurt your birds.
     
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Your coop is only big enough for 4 birds. The crowding could be playing a major roll in your egg count. Stress from crowding can be a huge factor, and also make the flock more prone to lice/mites.
     

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