Will my young rooster become less aggressive towards the hens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Lamanite Jim, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. Lamanite Jim

    Lamanite Jim In the Brooder

    Aug 1, 2014
    My rooster just started crowing last month. Since then he seems to be getting more aggressive toward the hens. He will chase them around pecking them. When they try to eat he will jump on their backs and peck their heads. He seems to have become a bully. My hens, a mixed flock, are sweethearts but 'Patch' is mean to them. Only my two leghorns, the survivors from my original flock of 12, are not intimidated by him. They survived a fox attack which killed two hens and two months later survived an attack by two pitbulls that killed 8 more hens. I guess they are afraid of 'nothing' now. I am not concerned about them, it's the other 12 new girls who are tormented by Patch, the rooster. My wife thinks I should introduce him to the 'dumpling pot'. I don't want to do it but, the egg production has gone down considerably since the rooster started bullying. And I don't know if my 10 younger hens will ever start laying (they are 10 - 12 months old). What do you recommend?
  2. hennible

    hennible Crowing

    I recommend some patients Pats just a horny teenager... The older girls are not bothered by him because they are older and wiser, more confident. I think things will settle down in time and once your young hens start laying they may be more receptive to Pats advances... As for the younger girls not yet laying they may not start laying until spring, depending of course on where you live. Currently I am supplementing light in my coupe in hopes of getting my young hens to lay before next spring...
    I'm no expert but those are my thoughts :)
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Yu did not mention how old he is, but if he has just started crowing he is just an adolescent. The puberty hormones are kicking in and he can’t control those urges. Patience is your friend, or at least his. Many cockerels literally lose their heads when those hormones hit.

    He’s probably too young and immature to follow a normal mating ritual, but the normal ritual goes like this:

    The rooster dances by dropping his wing and sort of circling the hen. That signals his interest.

    The hen squats on the ground. This gets her body on the ground so his weight passes through her entire body into the ground, not just through her legs.

    The rooster hops on and grabs the back of the head. This head grab not only gets him in position to hit the target and helps him with his balance, but it is also her signal to raise her tail up out of the way so he can hit the target.

    The rooster touches vents and hops off. His part is done.

    The hen stands up, fluffs up, and shakes. This fluffy shake gets the sperm into a special container in her body. Now she is done.

    A lot of mating even with mature chickens does to follow this perfectly but as long as she squats to spread his weight into the ground and the hen is not injured, it is OK.

    For this to work both the rooster and the hen have to do their parts. Both he and the pullets may be too young to get their technique right. That comes with maturity.

    The mating ritual is not just about sex. It is also about dominance. The one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. A big part of what you are seeing is that cockerel trying to establish himself as flock master.

    Some hens will squat for practically anything in spurs, but many hens, especially more mature hens, expect a rooster to dance, find them food, keep peace in his flock, and watch for danger. They also want him to WOW! them with his magnificence and self-confidence before they figure he is good enough to father their children. An immature cockerel has a lot of trouble managing all this. He should mature into that role at some point. I’ve had one handle that t five months. I’ve has a couple that were still struggling at eleven months. Most of mine seem to grow into that role around 7 to 9 months but each one is different. The personality of the hens are just as different. Some of them can be next to impossible to impress no matter how good he is.
    2 people like this.
  4. hennible

    hennible Crowing

    My Orpington has it figured at 6 months, (He started crowing very early) all his girls are the same age... It took my EE roo in a mixed flock a good year to get all the kinks worked out... Now both are great Roos.
  5. LanceTN

    LanceTN Chirping

    Aug 31, 2014
    He's harassing the young hens because they aren't laying so they are of no value to him they are simply competition for food, add in his crazy hormones and you get this wild behavior.

    I suggest you give him some time to chill out and to help manage him in the mean time maybe stick him in isolation away from the girls for a few days.

    Let all your girls get themselves in order then reintroduce him and see if he's a little more relaxed
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    As always, Ridgerunner has great advice and great info. Definitely worth taking into consideration.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    He's trying to figure out how to mate, and so are the young pullets. It's not pretty process, and chicken lovin' isn't for everyone. Especially the young birds, they have a hard time figuring out technique. So, it's just up to you what your tolerance is. He'll quite likely get better, but it takes a while. You can leave them be, you can pull him out for a few months until the pullets mature (but then there will be some of this process when you re-introduce him) or you can cull him. No right answer, just what's right for you.
  8. Lamanite Jim

    Lamanite Jim In the Brooder

    Aug 1, 2014
    This thread has been great. Thanks for the schooling. I am sure my wife and I will relax a bit now that we know what Patch is going through. We did raise 4 boys who went through the same growing process, with raging hormones. I guess we hadn't considered the same thing occuring with our 'teenage' rooster!
  9. hennible

    hennible Crowing

  10. GhettoRoo

    GhettoRoo Songster

    Oct 7, 2014
    What is the breed of your rooster?

    My Vorwerk(Today 7.5 months old) start crow before a 1.5 month.
    [​IMG]Pic: 1 week till 7 month old.

    Mine one isnt bullying very hard, as he isnt even in top of my 44 hens. So he is starting with younger month younger, when they even dont squat. Had saw he just bite and kick. No attempts to climb on. Even when young hen squats after a scare,bite..
    But he is on his way. Dance, ``fluff on``. Calls hens.
    P.S, funny is when he `beatbox` but comes hen higher in pecking order and he run away immediately.
    P.S.S, he is fighting his ranking up. It specially after puberty time. btw, how cockerel when was afraid of hen, decide to start challange again..
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014

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