Why does 3 month old rooster tair out hen neck feathers and eats them?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sing2songs, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. Sing2songs

    Sing2songs Out Of The Brooder

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    My roo has been attacking my hens neck, pulling out a bunch of feathers and then eats them. Is this normal or possibly something lacking in the diet? Is there anything to do to stop this if it is not normal?

    No bald spots on the hens yet, but don't wish to leave it go that far.

    All info on this matter is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Is he trying to mount them?
    If not, then he may need more protein. What makes up their diet?
     
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  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    A rooster grabs at the neck of a pullet/hen in the course of mating - when first starting out they can be quite rough about it (most outgrow this and learn a bit of finesse with their approach with the ladies) and rather than waiting for *consent* on the part of the hen will grab what they can get ahold of and keep hold until he is able to mount her - which often results in the tearing out of feathers, etc as the female protests and attempts to get away or gets away.
     
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  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    He's just feeling his wild oats--kind of like reaching puberty. With his inexperience, and all these male hormones raging inside of him, he's feeling like mating. And the hens probably aren't feeling that yet. A rooster will often grab the neck feathers of the hen and try to mount her. Some are very rough and you end up with hens with naked necks or backs. That's the thing that bothers me about having roosters. I like my hens to look pretty. LOL

    Some roos are gentle, and some are not, but they can learn to be more gentle with time and they get better at mating as they get older. But some are just plain mean. The hens run from them, and they get even angrier.

    So I believe it's normal young rooster behavior.

    Feather eating can be from protein lacking in the diet, but I don't think that's the case with your rooster.
     
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  5. Sing2songs

    Sing2songs Out Of The Brooder

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    First, Thank you all for the wonderful info.

    Their diet consists of several things. First there regular feed. Then I follow a food list for chickens so they get vegis and fruits ( no citric), sunflower seeds, oatmeal, meal worms every 3 days, once in a while a boiled egg, cooked rice and cheesy noodles (sparingly)leftover fish, garlic every other day. Clover, grass and bugs. (sometimes they eat better than I do:) Yogurt once in awhile. My first chickens...I think I'm spoiling them a bit. So more then likely it is probably the hormonal thing and going through that stage of life. I just hope he gains some manners. Don't want to see my hens with chilly naked necks.

    Big thanks to everyone who has responded. All the answers were excellent and very helpful. This is the best site I've ever been on and the most helpful. You all rock:)
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Is their feed starter, grower or layer?

    The things you add other than the mealworms and fish are cutting into the total protein intake. Fruits, veggies, oatmeal cheese noodles, rice, etc. and even eggs are all lower in protein than the chicken feed.

    Feathers are over 90% protein so if you actually see him eating the feathers, that could be it.

    If it's a rough breeding thing, there are billions of chickens in the world and have been a lot of chickens for thousands of years. Your cockerel isn't likely to be the first one rough with hens.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  7. Sing2songs

    Sing2songs Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh Chickencanoe. I never thought of that. With the other food taking away from the regular feed. Their on growing feed right now. I'll cut back on the vegis and fruit and see if it makes a difference.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm guessing your grower feed is about 18% protein. Rice is 7%, eggs are 12% as is the oatmeal. The other things are lower so if those things make up a significant portion of the diet you could be lowering the protein to as low as 12%.

    The label on most poultry feeds usually have a statement that says something to the effect: "This is a complete feed and no supplement is needed."
     
  9. 2001chickybaby

    2001chickybaby Out Of The Brooder

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    My rooster does it with a fellow rooster. I read somewhere it's to establish pecking order.
     

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