Young rooster attacking older hen

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by basement chick, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. basement chick

    basement chick Chirping

    May 20, 2015
    North Carolina
    I had 2 golden comet hens. I bought 6 chicks from rural king store this sprinjg. One turned out to be a rooster. Until yesterday the rooster was afraid of the 2 older hens. He started standing up to the "leader" hen and today I found him pecking her while she cowered in a corner. I managed to get her out and her comb is bloody.she seems fine otherwise. I have her separated now. Do you think he will stop now that she has succumbed to him or should he go?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    That blood’s not good but other than that, what you are seeing is normal and natural. There are always exceptions with chickens, but normally an adolescent cockerel in a flock of nothing but hens is going to be afraid of an older hen until he matures enough to assert himself. Then he asserts himself, often using force. Until he matures the older hen will often use force on him. That’s the way chickens are.

    That older hen has been the dominant flock master up until now. A lot of the time when a cockerel hits that tipping point in his maturity the dominant hen willingly gives him the headaches of being the one in charge. Some are more power obsessed though and won’t willingly hand the reins over to him without a fight. He’s bigger than she is, he wins those fights.

    I’ve gone through the process of an immature cockerel maturing in a flock without a dominant rooster a few times. The same general scenario plays out. When the cockerel becomes a rooster he takes over. Normally the formerly dominant hen accepts that pretty smoothly but one time she would not give in. For two days that cockerel chased her and pecked her, mated her by force. After two days of that she gave in and they became best of buddies.

    She was beat up but not really hurt. You are in a different situation, yours is bleeding. To me you have two options. One is that the only reason you need a rooster is for fertile eggs. That is a need. Anything else is personal preference. I always suggest you keep the fewest roosters as you can and meet your goals. You need to decide if your goals are one or none.

    If you decide to keep him, house that hen separate until she heals, and keep her totally separated for a full week even if she heals earlier. That will knock her down from being the dominant hen and give that cockerel a chance to mature a bit more. When you put them together she will have to deal with the other hens for a spot in the pecking order, she may not wind up back on top. When the cockerel/rooster sees the hen he will almost certainly try to mate with her, that’s how he established dominance. She might accept him, she might resist, most likely try to run away. As long as she doesn’t get hurt, let them work it out.

    If she gets hurt again you may need to make a decision. It’s fairly rare but occasionally some chickens are just brutes, male or female. If he is treating the other hens OK is he really a brute? Some hens and roosters cannot accept the dominance of another chicken. You may need to get rid of one of them, depending on what your goals are. Normally they work it out but not always. Sometimes chickens kill other chickens.
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