Trouble in the Henhaus

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cyw iar, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. cyw iar

    cyw iar Out Of The Brooder

    So I saw a couple of threads about hens and new roosters not getting along, but that's not exactly what we've got going on. Our small flock, 6 hens and 1 rooster, were all raised together. Last spring, the rooster was pretty aggressive with the hens and they all needed hencapes or saddles or whatever to protect their feathers from his amorous advances. This spring, I thought he had just calmed down and learned to be more gentlemanly with his ladies, but this morning I saw one of the girls chase him around and try to beat him up whenever he put the moves on any of the hens. Full neck fluff, squawking, the whole bit.

    This got me thinking about his other behaviors lately, and I'm wondering if he might be ill. Earlier this spring there were two episodes where it seemed like he'd got stuck on his back in the middle of a dust bath. Both times he let me pick him up and put him on his feet (we don't handle our birds much at all). Lately, he's stopped calling the ladies over to interesting tidbits and treats, walks with his tail... Not really down, but not flagged like usual, and has his head a little oddly tucked into his neck. When I approach him, he sort of clacks his beak at me. And he's not really crowing as much. And, as I said, one of the girls is beating on him when he feels frisky.

    Is he just being put in his place by a more aggressive hen, or am I missing something?

    Also, on a completely different topic, one of the hens never recovered from molting this winter. She behaves perfectly normally, but hasn't regrown her feathers! She looks like a bedraggled mess.

    Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  2. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you ever worm your flock? Have you checked them for lice/mites? What kind of feed are they getting? Any difference in egg production from the hens?
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. cyw iar

    cyw iar Out Of The Brooder

    Ummm... No, I haven't wormed them. I definitely should do that (I'm an idiot, I should have thought of that).

    They all get layer pellets and free range, egg production last year was between 4 and 5 a day, this year about 3-4, although the last two days I've gotten a half dozen a day.
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    x2 the above post
     
  5. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

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    You're no idiot. I never did until I had problems either. I just never thought of it until this site. It might be a good idea in this case.
     
  6. cyw iar

    cyw iar Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks, BayBay. :) I worm my horses, but the hens flew under the radar. Pun intended ;).

    So I'll try worming first, and see if there's improvement.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  7. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

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    Hopefully that does the trick and those two start improving :)
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Interesting situation, hope you continue to post about it.

    Might want to add some animal protein to their diet....not sure if you give them scraps or other feeds.
    Not sure if a rooster eating layer feed most his life could be the issue, they don't need the extra calcium but I've read it's really not a problem.

    I decided to give a 20% protein flock raiser type crumble to all ages and genders and offer oyster and dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container for the layers.
    The higher protein is offset by the scratch grains and kitchen scraps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014

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