So, um, chicken courtship

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sphinx, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. Sphinx

    Sphinx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am totally new to chickens, and this is a new adventure.

    I have 6 pullets and 2 cockerels. I have kept the boys separate from the girls because it seemed like the boys were so aggressive. However, as you all probably could've predicted, the larger cockerel is bullying the smaller one.

    As an experiment, we put the smaller roo in with the pullets. He immediately began chasing the oldest pullet around, and was kind of biting on her neck. She thought this was a terrible idea and was trying to get as far from him as possible. The other pullets all agreed with her.

    Is this normal "courtship" type behavior? What should I expect?

    I put him back with the other roo because I had no idea if he was going to upset them too much, or if it was normal.

    Feel free to laugh yourself sick over my questions. LOL
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    No, not normal courtship. He's dealing with integration issues - he's trying to assert himself as leader and they're not going for it. There will be chasing until he works his way up the pecking order. My roo would get the crud beat out of him by the hens. (he's 9 months younger than they are) When he started mating, he started with the lowest female and worked his way up 1 hen at a time. After he finished mating them all, they accepted him as big man on campus and he began courting them with less roughness.
     
  3. bibliophile birds

    bibliophile birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    don't feel bad. chicken romance isn't... delicate. it takes some getting used to.

    the whole "neck biting" thing will get better but it won't go away altogether- the boys use it to keep their lady friend still AND for balance... the chasing should stop, though. you'll see the hens submitting to the roos. most of the time anyway. [​IMG]

    as for the boys, they should get along fine so long as they can't see the girls. but that's just a general statement, some roos will never get along. my 4 boys all live together with my girls. there are times when things get a little rough, but they mostly all get along fine. sometimes they just have to work out their problems in a "manly way" and i mostly let them do what they need to do. only if i think someone is going to get hurt do i step in. since i'm BOSS ROO there usually aren't any arguments when i tell them to knock it off.
     
  4. Sphinx

    Sphinx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The two roos and the oldest pullet were all hatched and raised together until about 2 weeks ago, so they know each other fairly well. The younger pullets are only 3 weeks younger, so it's not a huge difference in age.

    I have to admit that I intend to eat the roosters because I want my neighbors to like me, and I don't think the way to their hearts is a crowing rooster.

    So, I basically just want them to get along until the cockerels are big enough to eat. The one cockerel seems to be very nicely put together, and I am considering rehoming him, since maybe he deserves more than to be dinner.


    So with the smaller rooster, it seems like his comb looks like there's a couple little scabs on it, and he gets picked on a little by the other roo. Where would be the best place for him until he's ready to be eaten? With the slightly domineering rooster? Or with the hens who hate him?
     
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    But if they've been seperated even for a few days (out of sight), they will be the same as a complete stranger to the chickens.

    If you're not planning on keeping the roosters, then just let them be together (out of sight of the hens) and let the hens be on their own.
     
  6. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of my roosters and my newest home-grown pullet that just turned laying age are showing a lot of interest in each other. She followed him around for a while going from place to place while he did these noises that I've heard roosters do when they are showing a hen a good place to lay an egg.

    I suspect that this is some kind of courting ritual, but I don't know the chicken social structure enough to know what it ultimately means. Is this like a proposal to join his harem and be his forever?
     

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