Will a hen attack a rooster?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by littlelemon, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. littlelemon

    littlelemon Songster

    Mar 15, 2007
    I was a little startled when I came out to the coop this morning. My roo had blood all over his head and neck. His comb had two rather large blood spots on it from where he was bitten or grabbed at (from a predator). I have a couple of theories.

    The first is that one of the hens bit him. How common is this? I only have one rooster and 7 hens. We used to have another rooster and the two roosters were always trying to show their dominance and we had quite a few bloody combs then-but now with just the one rooster things are pretty peaceful around the coop. My chickens have plenty of room to run, they aren't crowded, and I have never seen one of my hens go at the rooster before.

    My second theory is that something grabbed at the rooster during the night. My coop is inside our pole barn, so it just has hardware cloth and chicken wire for the sides and roof. There is a spot where a raccoon or another predator could have possibly stuck a hand in through the wire and grabbed at the roo while he was on the roost. I noticed that some of the wire near the roost was a little loose, like it had been pulled on. Perhaps I have a night time visitor I need to watch out for. I looked for tracks-we have a dirt floor in our barn, but there were none that I could see. Also, aren't raccoons rather scarce during the winter months? It has been pretty cold here, I assumed that they slept through most of the winter. Enlighten me please!

    What do you all think?
  2. Bawkadoodledoo

    Bawkadoodledoo Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    Central MA
    try investing in some wood framing, maybe a wood wall where the roosts are?
    second, make sure your poor roo isn't henpecked anymore!
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    A hen most certainly will go after a roo. She might not like him!

    I have seen roos run terrified of some hens.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2008
  4. bjcoop

    bjcoop Songster

    Mar 22, 2007
    Western New York
    Yes, I have an americauna that kinda picks on my roo. I had the same situation. I came in to find my roo with blood everywhere--on him and around the coop. [​IMG] I was very alarmed and wondered how he got hurt. Got him fixed up that night and a few days later, watched one of my americaunas pick on him. Not really mean, she almost seemed like she was helping him groom his feathers and comb. He didn't run or anything and it didn't really seem like a fight.
    Wasn't sure what to do and I didn't want him to have a bad comb again, so I separated them for a couple of days. [​IMG] Now all seems okay. S-t-r-a-n-g-e chicken behavior.

    16 chickens, 1 rescue/chicken dog, dd and dh [​IMG]
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Roos can be beat up by dominant hens and roos will let hens peck their feathers off if they want to.

    But, if you suspect a weak spot in your coop, best get that fixed before someone goes missing. I find that when weather gets cold, all the predators come out looking for an easy meal...
  6. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I watched my Australorp hen aggressively attack our new Silkie Roo. My girls tormented him mercilessly so I had to separate them and find a new home for him.

    Raccoons do not actually hibernate, it's called a torpor. They will wake up multiple times through the winter and may go out and hunt. In warmer climates they don't even torpor.
  7. panner123

    panner123 Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    Now littlelemon, I know you have heard of being hen pecked. That is all that happened. She just put him in his place. Had it been a coon or other predator he would be dead.
  8. littlelemon

    littlelemon Songster

    Mar 15, 2007
    Yes, I really believe that it was one of the hens. I have never had an issue with raccoons, and the coop really is tight, even though it is just a wood frame with hardware cloth. I can see how a raccoon could maybe get a hand in but it is 1"X 1/2" cloth, and it would be hard to get much of that arm in or even reach the chickens on the roost. I have since fixed the weak spot where some of the wire was pulling off.

    I guess since I have never seen my hens peck at the roo it is hard for me to imagine one of them really biting at his comb. I have only seen scuffles between the hens- I wish that I could have seen that show-down. I really find chicken behaviors so fascinating to watch.

    Thanks everyone.
  9. Bawkadoodledoo

    Bawkadoodledoo Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    Central MA
    you should always assert yourself as top rooster and break up henfights.

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