What Does His Behavior Mean?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ClareScifi, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have the sweetest pet rooster who turned 9 weeks old today. When he hatched, his StepMama nearly pecked him to death, and I rescued him in the nick of time. I've raised him indoors in my solarium. He has a very sweet and gentle nature and lets me carry him around to take him outside and such. Today he flew up on top of my head as he likes to do. When I pat my knee and say, "Baby, Baby," he flies right up and sits there. He'll do this over and over again.

    For two mornings in a row now, when I have gone to the solarium first thing in the morning to check on him, he has flown onto my hand and then proceeded to peck my middle finger hard with his beak, holding the skin in his beak for quite some time, kind of a pinching behavior. He doesn't draw blood but it hurts. What could this mean?

    It reminds me somewhat of a tomcat biting the neck of his queen. Could he be trying to mate with me? I am his family, since he wasn't raised with his StepMama and siblings. I let him play by their run, but his StepMama still dislikes him and tries to peck him through the mesh fencing of her run. The only affection he has gotten has been from me. He seems to loves it when I pet his neck very gently and stroke his feathers.

    He has plenty of water and food, so that's not it. I used to have a tomcat who would nip my heels and toes in a similar fashion, to let me know his food or water dish was empty, but that's not the case with this Rooster.

    I wondered whether the temperature might not suit him, but I don't think that's it.

    Could it be he's trying to let me know he's tired of the solarium and wants to go outside? It seems he is trying to send me a message of some kind, but I am too dense to get it.

    He did this weird pecking/pinching of my finger behavior two separate times this morning. Yesterday it was only the one time.

    Could he think my finger is a snake or worm? I have very skinny fingers.

    I tend to think it means, "How dare you leave me inside the solarium for so long. I want to go outdoors!" But I am not certain. What do you think? I will post a picture of him.
     
  2. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is a picture of my 9-week old Baby:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And here he is in flight. Doesn't he have the prettiest silvery wings?!"

    [​IMG]
     
  4. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

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    My spoiled rooster did (and still does on occasion [​IMG]) the same thing to me. A rooster at that age should be outside raising hackles and mock fighting with the others. When you keep them away from the flock, you become the practice dummy. It will get worse before it gets better. He will start biting harder. Eventually he will try to mate with you. Sounds funny until he is doing the deed on your head. [​IMG]

    I would get him outside with at least a couple of other birds the same size he is. Monitor them for a while to make sure they are not hurting each other. Don't interfere unless they are on the verge of bloodshed. He has to learn to be a rooster. Once he is out, do not tolerate any signs of aggression toward you.

    If done properly (in most cases), you will have a gentleman by the time he reaches a year old. [​IMG]

    Good luck.
     
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    What BrattishTaz said.
     
  6. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the response.

    The problem is, he's quite a bit smaller than his rooster siblings. I suspect he may be half Bantam. Don't you think they could hurt him? One of them pecked him very badly when he was little.

    He does peck at his StepMama through the mesh, and he mock fights with sunflower heads that bob up and down on dead stems. My neighbor was mock fighting with him the other day, using his fist, and he was enjoying that interaction.

    Do you think I could put him with a hen of his own age, instead of roosters? They could probably play safely together.

    I have worried that he might have a disease and that could be why his StepMama tried to kill him when he hatched, and that he might introduce diseases to the others.

    The #1 Roo chick his own age is at least 3 times his size.

    Maybe I'll start by putting him with the smaller hen that is his own age.

    There is a Bantam who is half his size who makes Moonie eyes at him through the mesh. I think she is in love with him. But her StepMama pecks her hard when she shows an interest in him.

    What a messy problem I have for myself. But I couldn't just let him get pecked to death when he was hatched.

    Maybe he can hold his own. If I let his StepMama out to free-range and put him in with some of the gentlest siblings, that might be a start?
     
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Establishment of the pecking order is a natural thing for chickens. It is painful for people to observe it. He needs to integrate into the flock. Or at least with some other chickens close to his size. Either way, you need to let them get pecked and peck others. As long as no blood is drawn, it's a good thing.

    StepMom may just have been a bad mother. [​IMG] It happens.

    He's not a helpless chick any more - he will most likely be quite able to get out of her range.
     
  8. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

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    Those little roos can be tough. My 1 1/2 lb one-eyed rooster leads my pack of 5 freerange boys (that is just now changing after 8 months). Two of the five are 6 lb Orpingtons. You just have to expect chaos at first and see if it improves from there. If you plan to always keep him away from the others, putting him with pullets around the same size/age would be fine. Young pullets will also mock fight.

    Please don't let your neighbor playfight with your bird. All he is doing is teaching him that it is ok to challenge humans. The rooster can not understand that is ok one time but not another time. What is cute now will be dangerous once he has a nice set of spurs.
     
  9. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    StepMama is a very good mother. I checked on the chicks last night at dusk, and StepMama had her right wing spread out lovingly over the two little hens, and the Bantie hen underneath her. The little roos are too big to fit under her now, so they were protectively flanking the hens.

    StepMama always drops the treats I give her for the chicks to try first.

    Her sister died last summer while I was on vacation, and she went into mourning. So we got her these eggs to hatch, and she was diligent about sitting on them, although she'd never been broody at all until her sister (who WAS a broody girl) died, and then since she was brooding over that death, I guess, she went broody on the eggs.

    I think it unnerved her when the little roos first hatched, bundles of energy going out from under her in all directions, unlike the tidy eggs which had stayed in place. It was interesting to me that the two chicks she pecked so badly were both roos. I knew it from that first instant that they were male. I felt it instinctively, and I was right. StepMama had never been around male chickens before, and their testosterone was upsetting to her. LOL.

    But she has been an exemplary mother. At first she pecked me a lot after they were hatched, because I had tried to rescue them from being eaten by cats, and she thought I was trying to steal them from her. It took quite a while for her to forgive me, and she hasn't pecked since I regained her confidence several weeks ago. :>)

    But she still doesn't like this Roo chick and when he is near it really unsettles her and she paces and tries to get him.

    I only have the 7 chooks and plan to give the other 2 roosters away, as soon as they start to crow. So this rooster won't have any competition.
     
  10. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My neighbor was very gentle with the playfighting. He just gently extended the back of his hand and Pect raised his hackles and gently pecked. It wasn't a mean or violent kind of thing. He talked to him softly and didn't act a bit aggressive.

    How did your Roo get to be one-eyed? It worries me that my chick might get his eye pecked out in a fight. I've invested too much time and effort in him to risk subjecting him to unnecessary injuries, if I can help it.

    I don't have to have any more chicks, so if he isn't interested in fertilizing the hens, that's just fine with me. I just wouldn't want him to suffer prostate cancer or anything, from a lack of sex.
     

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