Why does my cockerel lie down when handled?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chameleon, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have 5 8week old New Hampshires, and 2 of them have been obvious cockerels from 4 weeks already. They are reasonably tame but don't like being handled. I have been treating them for a really bad swarm of gnats that follows them into the coop every evening. They're all very healthy otherwise. The one cockerel tries to get away when I pick him up, just like the others, but once I'm holding him he immediately lies down and doesn't move again until I'm finished with him. Is this normal behaviour? Sorry if this is a silly question, I'm just curious because I've never seen this with any of the 34 other chickens I've had so far. I've heard that pullets will squat when they're getting close to laying, but they're still too young for that and I'm pretty sure he's a cockerel. He's also darker than the others so I have been wondering if the breeder accidently gave me a RIR.
     
  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It might be his way of dealing with stressful situations. Rooster, sometimes are a different color than hens of the same breed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    agree
     
  4. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks. I've got two roos, and this one is quite a bit darker than the other, but I thought I'd wait a bit to see how they turn out. If he still looks too dark in a couple of months I'll post pics on the breed forum. The tip of his beak was also dark as a small chick and the rest all had solid yellow beaks. I don't have experience with them but from pictures I've seen the RIR chicks sometimes have that.

    I need to decide which roo to keep for my flock of layers. I'll be breeding them occasionally if I need to replace hens or if I want to increase the size of my flock, and personality will be more important than looks. The roo that lies down when I hold him is a bit skittish but sticks with the flock. He's also a bit leaner than my other roo. The other roo is quite friendly and comes running to see what I'm doing whenever I go outside. He's also heavier and fits the New Hampshire look much better, but he tends to wonder around on his own a lot. Which would work better to look after a flock of about 6 or 7 hens? Is it too soon to tell?
     
  5. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good luck
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Not silly and fairly normal......he is submitting to you, most my birds once captured and wings secured will just relax and stop struggling.
     
  7. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps


    Nice, thanks. They're getting less nervous and sweeter as they get bigger. They seem to be visibly bigger every day.

    Is it normal though that my other roo doesn't seem interested in the rest of the flock at all? He's always wondering around alone and when I'm outside he follows me around, and I don't even give him treats.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  9. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ok, thanks. I don't handle them very much, they've been outside in the coop since I got them. I just go out in the morning to check on everyone and food and water, clean the poop boards, and whatever else I see needs doing. I let them out to free range during the day since they're getting big enough that the cat and mongooses won't bother them. Then at dusk I go make sure everyone is in the coop and lock up. I've only been handling them for a few days to get rid of all the gnats that hitch a ride into the coop in the evening, and at the same time make sure they're sitting on the roosts, because I'm getting tired of cleaning the pile of poop on the floor.
    They don't like being picked up and I don't like to stress them out, so I'm out in the garden with them for parts of the day but don't fuss with them. They do their thing and I do mine. They're used to me now so they don't run but I don't particularly interact with them. That's why I'm surprised the one roo follows me around and isn't staying with the rest of the flock. As they're free ranging during the day I barely ever give them treats, only on the rare day when the weather is so bad that they can't go out.
     

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