Will Rooster Tear Feathers of Hens' Backs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jmc, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. jmc

    jmc Songster

    Jul 22, 2008
    South Central MA
    If you let a roo or roos run all the time with hens, won't they end up stripping the hens' back feathers off by frequent mounting?

    I know someone who had 25 BOs (3 roos included) and he said that was a real problem with his flock.

    BTW, I know about the little 'saddles' you can make to protect hens, but I feel lazy.

    I'd like to get a roo to keep my 7 RIR/NHR girls 'in line' and to supply more structure to the flock. But the thought of having a bunch of naked or naked and bleeding backs keeps me concerned.

    But maybe it all depends on the roos origin, or the breed. Maybe I should just try it and see what happens. This last is probably the most sensible thought; but do any of you good folks have any thoughts?
  2. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    I think a lot of it depends on the rooster/hen ratio, and if the rooster has any favorite girls. Three roos for 25 hens sounds a bit high. The roosters will compete with each other to mate the hens and the hens will end up overmated and bare-backed.
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    John, pretty much all roosters are equal in that regard. Some are more gentle than others, but that's more an individual thing than a breed thing. A bantam rooster may be easier on the hens, being lighter weight. Just holding the hen with their claws naturally will tear out feathers, especially older brittle feathers just before a molt. The key is usually having enough hens for each rooster. Even then, a rooster will pick favorites sometimes.

    Adding that cutting the spurs may not help much, but blunting the spurs and shortening them will make it less likely that the roo will tear up the back of a semi-bare hen.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2008
  4. bishopschickens

    bishopschickens Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Cumberland, VA
    im dealing with this on one of my breeds and learned to cut the spurs off the rooster and that will help the situation!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: