Two "bantam" orpington roos beating up my hens and pulling out their feathers...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Bella Blue, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Bella Blue

    Bella Blue Out Of The Brooder

    15
    3
    26
    May 22, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    I am being "reintroduced" to chickens. While i have been around chickens it was mostly in my childhood. I decided to try keeping a small flock in our back yard. The majority of the chicks i purchased unsexed from a feed store ended up to be roos. i re-homed most... all but two. I have 5 hens and two orpington bantams who follow me around like little dogs and like to be cuddled and so forth. I think one may not be a bantam as hes twice the size of the other. My problem is since they were chicks i was sure they were females.. they did everything together and have always been joined at the hip.. where one goes the other follows. They turned out to be roosters! They never fight with each other and are about 4-5 months old and so are the hens.

    The hens are not laying yet. The roosters started crowing we have had some real problems with them beating the snot out of my girls. I have never had roosters. I have read that you should have 10 hens to a rooster. I am planning on having more once my hens can lay eggs. ( i was told introducing new adult birds is near impossible with an established flock..is this true?) Anyhow the boys are still very bonded. The bigger orp is very aggressive to my females...the smaller bantam orpington is very "monkey see monkey do" he follows the bigger roo and does what ever hes doing.

    They tear feathers out of my hens anytime they try to get treats..if a hen just happens to walk close to the roos they just reach out and grab a beak full of feathers and tear them out then chase after the "offending" hen and keep bulling her ..sometimes for hours. Its not their backs that are bare on the hens its their trachia area on their throats. picked clean. not one feather on almost all the girls. Two of the hens have had bloody tails as they have plucked them at just where their tail meets their back. I know it's plucked and not from the roos being on their backs as i have seen them do it.I noticed the roos trying to mate w the smallest female.. and now more in the flock. No females have laid eggs.( I don't know if they ever will being driven bonkers like this by the males!) The females scream and scream... the males flank a hen on both sides tearing feathers out while chasing a hen for up to 20 min or more. then both try to mate w the shrieking hen who tries to run away. I have removed the larger roo into a separate cage twice now. The minute i do he stops eating and drinking and so does the little roo. They wont eat or drink unless i have them together.

    I am not really sure what to do at this point. I really want more hens and but my girls aren't laying yet. all of the flock grew up together. I have gone back and forth with getting rid of the bigger roo as the little one is much more docile and smaller so the females can get away from him or size him up.. but i dont know if they will start eating again once the other is permanently gone. at this point they can crow and hear each other. -help?8( and i hope i put this in the right forum I am new here!
     
  2. creepygothnursi

    creepygothnursi Out Of The Brooder

    68
    4
    38
    Jun 27, 2013
    I'm not a rooster expert by any means, but from what I have read on here, roosters should not be acting like this. They're supposed to watch out for predators, show the hens where treats are and take care of them; terrorizing them is not normal. I would imagine the hens won't lay until a solution is found, as stressed hens don't lay. Personally, I would convert both roosters into soup, but I know that's not for everyone. Hopefully someone with more rooster experience will weigh in.
     
  3. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

    20,569
    1,158
    391
    Jul 24, 2013
    I think that the best idea would to be to get rid of both roosters. Five hens is definitely not enough for two, much less one. You do not need roosters to have eggs, so if all you want is eggs, get rid of the roosters. Aggressive roosters are extremely difficult to have around; I've had several. You do not want them to be ripping up your hens.

    If you want to keep one rooster, definitely keep the smaller, gentler one. Keep in mind, though, that he may become more dominant and aggressive when the larger, currently most dominant, one leaves. Even if you keep just one rooster, get more hens. I'd bring your hen total up to fifteen, to be safe.

    Since both roosters seem rather attached to each other, it might be a better idea to get rid of both at the same time. That way, they can stay together. If you still really want a rooster, you could try getting a new one.
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Those are not good roosters! I do not keep any rooster that terrorizes the hens that way. In the case of treats...a good rooster will stand aside and call the hens over. He will even pick up pieces of whatever the treat is and let the hens take it from his beak. He often will not eat any until he see's that his hens have all had some, and he will never chase hens away from any food.

    The whole rooster/hen mating business can look a little rough and it does take young roo's some time to develop some finesse, but roosters should not be randomly pecking at and tearing out feathers from hens. If hens are showing bloody, pecked spots from the roosters then those roo's need to be separated out or gotten rid of.

    Regarding introducing new hens into the flock... no it's not impossible at all. You just need to have a separate pen for them so they can all get used to each other before you let them share space. If integration is done right you will generally have only normal and minimal pecking order issues. If it's done wrong or to fast then yes, it can be brutal.
     
  5. Bella Blue

    Bella Blue Out Of The Brooder

    15
    3
    26
    May 22, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    thanks for all of the info! wow i am used to having to wait a long time on forums to get any advice but you folks are right on it.. yay!

    The bigger roo has been away from the hens for about three or four days now. I left the smaller roo in with the girls.. wow difference of night and day. he called the girls over to eat anytime i gave them food. He doesn't pluck one feather nor does he chase them around he coos at them and they can be right next to him and he does nothing to them. The bigger roo wasn't eating or drinking much in his separate cage but the little guy is eating fine.For the first time in ages the girls were playing and not cowering in some corner trying to stay away from the big jerk.

    A day ago I had a nice neighbor who babysat the bigger roo w her girls( mostly to try to get him to eat again) who are all about two times or more his size.She invited me over with the jerk roo because she said her girls would put him in his place...and that they did! He was REAAALLy put in his place by her older hens.When we placed him in with her hens he ran up to them stamped his feet and proceeded to go right at them. They downed him in seconds standing on him till he ran off screaming or pulled some of HIS feathers out. he tried a couple more times then stayed the rest of the time off by himself running from the girls...but he did eat and drink again. Turn about is fair play ehh?-

    I was happy to see that when the little roo couldn't hear his bigger brother he turned into what I expected, have read ( and now been told) a rooster should be. he stopped being stressed with out his big brother and started romancing the girls in a kind and gentle way ( probably because they can all kick his little butt if he gets too rowdy with out his bigger brother there to back him up!)I wanted a roo not only for babies but we have no dog to protect the flock. while i am building a large run or flight around their chicken coop it's taking a while so i worry about neighborhood cats and a couple opossums in the area.

    So... I have called the feed store where I got them and they will take the bigger roo when they have room ( maybe this weekend yay!) I will be really sad to see him go both roos were very into people and talk to you follow you and love to be held and cuddled but wooo.. the manors of the bigger one needed a good smack down... i have never killed a chicken but let me tell ya I was tempted to turn the bigger bantam Orpington into soup too.. although i have seen pigeons or frogs legs bigger then he is. he'd make one sad snack rather then a dinner!;)

    I am glad to hear you can add more chickens to an established flock! I want more hens just for more eggs and was not looking forward to waiting forever for chicks. When I had figured out at least 4 of my chicks looked like roosters i went and got 4 more hens and kept them separate but nearish the first group( also to make sure they were healthy and not bringing any bad bugs or illness.). I had thought they got along ok because i got them all before they were fully fledged and hadn't put them all in the coop right away. i had them in nursery boxes near to each other though. I am in no hurry if i get more we can take our time and be sure everyone gets used to each other... i think we all have had enough screaming,fights,bloody butts and so forth to last us a life time...i think my girls and i are ready for some peace and tranquility.

    Thanks again all! 8)
     
  6. Loisrosecomb

    Loisrosecomb New Egg

    2
    1
    8
    Dec 6, 2013
    Reminds me of my 15 chick straight run at the hatchery. All were cute growing up, then over night one by one they "changed", became bullys. Well, that was easy, found new homes where they
    were placed with mates, or to someone starting up chickens. WHAT A RELIEF. No more killing each other, and feathers flying and squalking. No more straight runs. (9) were roos.
    Good luck on your situation. By now you probably have it taken care of.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by