timid rooster behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gonzo granny, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. gonzo granny

    gonzo granny New Egg

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    My roo is about the same age as all his hens, as they all came in the same shipment in Sept. I've noticed some henpecking in the past (and discouraged it with Vick's and cayenne) and last night I noticed that they've pecked him on his left side so much that I can see his underlying wing structure--feathers gone--in an area circular size of about a tennis ball! This morning I walked into coop and Earl the roo was sitting in one of the nesting boxes. This can't be good.... I spread some Vicks with a bit of cayenne pepper mixed in it on the affected area to deter the biddy or biddies that are doing this. Poor Earl! I'm already treating him for a bit of frostbite on the comb...I remove him from the flock to apply the creams and the vick's and then return him so they don't see it and try to interfere...Thanks ahead for your input!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Would you spread cayenne peppers in a wound on your own skin? That's worse than salt in a wound.
    What are they eating?

    What breed are they?
    I guess they're only about 4 months or less?
    In another month or 2, if he survives, he should exert dominance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
  3. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Birds in general don't have the receptors needed for capsaicin - they don't feel it. Birds and people aren't the same thing.

    My opinion - remove him from the flock, treat the wound with bluekote, and let him get healthier - then reintroduce. He's never going to get healthy if the hens are beating him up all the time.
     
  4. gonzo granny

    gonzo granny New Egg

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    Perhaps in my original post, I didn't explain myself clearly. Earl has NO wound, NO broken flesh and therefore I felt safe in applying the tiny bit of the cayenne in the Vick's. He simply has a loss of overlying feathers, like they might have picked them put. And no I wouldn't put something contraindicated in an open wound on myself or anyone else. I worked 31 yrs in the medical profession so I wouldn't knowingly treat any of my animals to any hurtful remedy. At first I felt that you were giving ME the henpecked treatment there, Chicken Canoe. However, thankfully the second reply helped me realize that the original post may have indeed been misleading. CrazyTalk, thanks for your input--especially about the capsaicin. This I didn't know...there is so much I don't know as this is my first flock. I've been keeping a close eye on this pecking since it was first noted and it really hasn't gone to the point where I need to remove him. The pecking seemed to settle for awhile and now I can see that it's happening again, so I'm on it again BEFORE it gets in the "red zone"! Chicken Canoe: they're eating pellets and I give them treats (veggie cuts, leftover lettuce, bread etc) almost every night. I've hung a cabbage so that they have something to peck at and break the boredom since they refuse to leave the coop due to the snow. And you are right-- they are young. They came to me at about 21/2 months old mid Sept...so they could be around five months or a little under.

    I've been watching my flock "like a hawk" from the first time I noticed that a hen was pecking at Earl's side. I've been researching since before they arrived....and going to every single source available to help raise them up well and healthy, hence my post here. Thanks for your input. Every little bit helps!
     
  5. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Two things, the pepper might be making things worse for the poor guy. I know my girls love any kind of pepper so you may be setting him up as a snack tray. If the pecking continues you might try pulling the one that is picking on him out of the flock for a few days just long enough for the pecking order to reset. Then when you put her back she will have to work her way back into the pecking order and may not have time to pick on the young guy.In any case in a couple of months the tide will turn to his favor.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    I don't intend to be mean but cut to the chase and get to the root of the problem.

    Are the pellets layer pellets or grower pellets? What is the protein and calcium percentage in what you're feeding and how long have you been feeding it.

    If they're picking feathers, they could be short of protein. If they haven't been laying, they shouldn't be getting layer pellets.
    Picking is usually boredom/close confinement or a need for more protein.

    Veggies, lettuce and bread will lower the overall protein intake.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    How much space do they have in the coop(feet by feet)?
     
  8. gonzo granny

    gonzo granny New Egg

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    Oh my! Chickens LIKE pepper? I've been looking here a good part of the information for my flock and BYC is where I got the information about mixing the Vick's with a small amount of cayenne pepper in the first place! They're laying so they get laying feed pellets (and have since they got here in mid Sept), and are supplemented with the "treats" and the hanging cabbage. I even hung up some bells they could peck on the suggestion from someone on another board. (But so far I don't SEE them using them...) The chickens are not pecking each other that I can see--only after the rooster--which makes me believe that it's his age and hormones that are the precipitating factor. I'll have to measure the coop (when I tuck them in tonight) but it 'seems' big enough for them to scratch and move about. The couple who sold us the property had to leave their flock here until he could get the coop built at his new farm so we sort of got a good learning experience while we 'babysat' them. So when it came time I just duplicated his flock: fifteen hens and a rooster. I've seen the new coop that the previous owner built on his new property and it's about half the size of the one he left (and still with fifteen hens and the rooster).
    I'll be back....
     

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